home improvements

The new year can seem a convenient time to make various commitments – such as to shift weight or save more cash.

However, home is where the heart is, so the saying goes – and, while you’re clearing out rubbish that has probably gathered in your residence during Christmas get-togethers, you might as well give your humble abode a few other tweaks. You could start with the following…

Give your home a more streamlined look

In the new year, it’s an obvious move to get rid of the remains of wrapping paper that was excitedly ripped off presents in your living room on Christmas Day. However, as HDTV points out, many of us gather “a mountain of stuff” each year other than that discarded paper. Have you noticed your cabinets and drawers becoming jam-packed, leaving you often struggling to find the items that you most use or depend on? Then a thorough purge is definitely in order…

Go through each individual room and clear out anything that no-one in the household likes or feels the need to use. Then, you could donate those items to charity before adopting a more meticulous approach to what you take into the house in future. Antoinette Nue, an Atlanta consultant who helps people with simplifying their lives, suggests that you “fill your home with things that raise your energy level and make you feel good, and get rid of the things that drain your energy or are broken”.

Trim your energy bills – and, in the process, your carbon footprint!

Don’t be daunted by our mention of making your home more eco-friendly – we aren’t about to advise that you spend a fortune on solar panels. There are various little things you can do that, collectively, can bring down your energy bills to a surprisingly large extent.

These “little things” include switching off lights when leaving a room, turning off the air conditioning when leaving the house, installing compact fluorescent bulbs, and setting your home computer to go into sleep mode whenever it has been out of use for a while. You could also invest in more thermally efficient doors – bifold doors from Bifold Shop could be just the ticket.

Implement a new weekly system for cleaning your house

What techniques do you currently follow for keeping your house spick and span? It’s probably not as particular as the following weekly regime suggested by Jeff Campbell, who wrote the book Speed Cleaning and owns the San Francisco-based Clean Team housekeeping service.

Campbell’s tips include keeping all of your cleaners, rubber gloves and spare cleaning cloths in a portable vessel that you will then take with you between rooms, and putting cleaning implements like a toothbrush, sponge and scraper into a builder’s apron that you keep on as you clean.

He also claims that you will actually get your cleaning done more quickly if you focus on only one kind of cleaning at once. This means, for example, wiping away fingerprints before you move onto spraying and wiping cabinets.