1. Tidy up
One of the best and least expensive ways to feel better about your home is to clear it of clutter. Each year most of us acquire a mountain of stuff. Without some regular purging, cabinets and drawers get jam-packed and it becomes hard to find the things you use and enjoy the most. (All that clutter also makes your house look dated, designers say.) This year resolve to go room-by-room periodically clearing anything that you don't use, wear or love and donate it to charity. After that, think twice about what you bring in.
2. Shrink your bills
The best place to start is by cutting your energy usage in your home:
- Switch off the lights when you leave a room.
- Install compact fluorescent bulbs.
- Wait until the dishwasher or washing machine is full before you run them.
- Turn off your power strips and/or set your home computer to revert to sleep mode when not in use.
3. Work out a weekly system for keeping your house clean
Having a routine or schedule helps keep the mess under control.
Daily: Dishes go in the dishwasher every night - no excuses! Dirty clothes go in the hamper and jackets or clean clothes are hung in the closet. Bring everything back to its assigned place.
Weekly: Clean your entire house, using these tips:
- Keep all of your essential cleaners, as well as rubber gloves and spare cleaning cloths in a portable carryall that moves with you from room to room.
- Divide the chores with everyone in the home. This decreases the time you spend cleaning and guarantees more of the chores get done.
- Focus on one cleaning method and supply at a time. For example: Vacuuming, instead of waiting to go room to room do the entire house at once. This prevents from taking everything back and forth and makes the cleaning time go by faster.
4. Get your place ready for entertaining
Each year most of us vow to spend more time with family and friends. To make you want to invite people in, why not give the areas you entertain in a little update? All it takes to get a fresh new look is a little bit of rearranging and a few updates, says designer McCormick. One easy update that makes your home seem more "finished" is the addition of plants. “They bring in new energy and help clean the air," she says. This is also a great way to decorate if you're on a budget. A couple of dramatic presentations like a large flowering in a bright ceramic planter that complements your existing color scheme will do the trick. Pulling out a new accent color from your existing decor can also make the whole room seem fresh. Pick an underused color in the room and add more of it in the form of a new pillow or throw to update your look. A colorful rug or runner can further help anchor your space. Lastly, take some time to rearrange your furniture so it is oriented in conversation groups and not just facing the television.