New Year’s Resolutions for you and your home
Now that the holidays are over, <cue in the last of the Christmas songs> it’s time to settle back and enjoy a long winter’s nap, right? <cue in the record player needle scratching across the vinyl> WAIT A MINUTE!
Before we get into napping, we need to make sure our homes are safe and secure. I’ve gathered a few suggestions from familyhandyman.com and everydayoldhouse.com. It’s time to think about resolutions. The word resolution means, a firm decision to do or not to do something. the quality of being determined or resolute. It’s time to commit. Choose any, some or all of these.
- I will plan for emergencies– Have 3-5 days’ worth of food, water, and medication in your home. Keep flashlights, batteries, car chargers for your cell phones, and candles. If you have a generator, have it checked regularly. Keep some cash on hand. Have or work towards having 3-6 months of easily accessible funds.
- I will check smoke and Co2 detectors and replace them when necessary. Make sure fire extinguishers haven’t expired. All household members need to know the evacuation plan. (Although we think of fires, emergencies can also be tornadoes, floods or hurricanes)
- I will check my home mortgage. Do you own your own home? Do you, or does the mortgage company? To protect your credit score, always pay your mortgage first of any bills, and pay extra than the amount due when possible. Even though the average term of a thirty-year mortgage is only ten years, any additional paid will help when you sell or refinance your home.
- I will be more active in my home’s security– we live in a very secure area, but crime still slips through the cracks. TICK TOCK. In the United States, there’s a theft every thirty seconds, and only 15% of those crimes are solved due to lack of evidence. Invest in video surveillance, and know the ‘etiquette’ involved when using them. Hire someone to look after your home if you won’t be there for a week an extended period. It probably won’t prevent a crime, but it may help the police/sheriff establish a time line. Put a hold on your mail. Don’t announce to the word that you will be away, either on social media or by putting a temporary chain across your driveway.
- I will monitor home systems Furnace filters, humidifier filters, water heaters, check for leaky faucets, running toilets. If you’re not a DIY type person, have someone else check these things.
- I will monitor all the nooks and crannies of my home. Take a stroll. Getting more exercise is good for you, but this stroll isn’t that kind of exercise. You (or someone) should walk around the foundation of your home, in the basement and attic to look for ingress and egress routes of pests and varmits. A reliable pest control person can do this. (I’ve learned the term crawl space means you may actually have to crawl to get to all the spaces.)
- I will test my water system. Whether you have a private, shared or on a public water system, it’s not a bad idea to test your water. Public and some shared systems are required to run and publish the test’s results, but that is only the water system. What about the water coming out of your tap? How old is your house? What kind of pipes do you have? You can call the County to have it tested or get a DIY kit. For more information, call the Safe Drinking Water Hotline 1-800-426-4791.
- I will review my home owner’s insurance policy. Things change and so do the needs of your insurance protection. Do you offer your home as a vacation rental? Do you have a proper rider? When is the last time you did a home inventory? You may think you don’t have much until you inventory your valuables. Consider jewelry, artwork, fine metals such as silver flatware, etc. You can have someone appraise them, take photos, document and keep those in a protected place outside of your home. At the very least, make a list with a description with a few notes about the piece(s).
- I will refresh and renew in 2023. It can be daunting. You want to redo a bathroom, but there’s always, “While we’re at it…” and the list just keeps getting longer. Too many items to check off may lead to nothing getting done. (Ask me how I know.) Look at what needs to be done, and DO ONE THING. Something as simple as painting the front door can make a big difference. Replacing an appliance near the end of its life allows you to plan and prepare for its replacement. Restore your deck to help it last longer. There are some good products on the market or hire an experienced pressure washer. If you can’t landscape your whole lot/parcel, start with one spot, maybe near the entry of your home.
- I will declutter. Why, oh why did I save this until last? I saw a meme recently that said it best. “I’m not a CRASTINATOR, I’m a professional. I’m a PROCRASTINATOR.” We all have junk drawers, closets, junk rooms or some have attics, and/or basements where we put things that have no place. Tackle one drawer or one section of a closet or room.
So, there you have it. It’s time to get out the pen and paper and write it down. Make the list. It’s been proven that writing down your intentions will help cement them into your mind but remember: Don’t beat yourself up if you don’t finish the list. These are intentions. Tip- if you make your list detailed enough, there will always be something to scratch through as completed. Give yourself credit for the little things. I hope you and yours have a happy and healthy New Year!