• New Year’s Resolutions for your Home

    January 1, 2018 | Blog
  • Happy New Year! What resolutions have you made this New Year? To get fit? Quit smoking? Start saving more money? But what goals have you set for your home? January is a great time to start working on your house - the social calendar is light, January sales are on, and some of you are on Christmas holidays the first week of January. You can make your home beautiful, organized, clean and energy efficient in the coming year by following our list of easy home resolutions.    

  • 1. Streamline your stuff

    When you have a cluttered home, it’s hard to de-stress and decompress. To help get back a feeling of Zen in your home one of best and most inexpensive ways is to clear out your clutter. 

    Every year most of us end up collecting a mountain of stuff. If we do not do a regular purge, closets, cabinets, drawers, and countertops can get jam-packed, and it becomes difficult to find anything. If you have a lot of clutter right there in your face, it starts your day off on the wrong foot plus all that clutter can make your house look smaller, messy and dated.

    Start by going into each room periodically and asking yourself if you have used the clothes/objects in the room within the last six months. If you haven't used it and you're not in love with the item then clear it out and donate it to charity. Going forward try to think twice before purchasing something else, even if there's a fantastic sale on. Plan a garage sale or sell your items on Kijiji - that extra money can then be put towards your house.

    Small items such as DVDs, remotes, chargers and all those batteries rolling around in your drawer can all get placed into decorative woven baskets. Items that you don't use every day such as seasonal or sentimental pieces can be placed in clear plastic boxes with labels and stored in your basement or a storage unit.

    Once you're done clearing out all that clutter, you'll be amazed at how much nicer your house is, and you can start to breathe a little easier.    

  • 2. Make your house safe and sound

    Making your home clutter free and beautiful is one thing but creating a safe environment for your family is a top priority. Thankfully there are easy steps every homeowner can take to ensure they're not living with a potential health hazard or fire risk.

    First, check your house for radon. This colorless, odourless gas claims some 3,200 Canadian lives every year in the form of lung cancer, which is caused by the radioactive particles - it gets trapped in your lungs as you breathe, according to Lung Cancer Canada. For more information about getting your home tested for radon go to the  Calgary Herald's article.

    While we are on the topic of deadly gases, make sure you install a carbon monoxide detector on every bedroom floor. As well, it's essential to get fuel-burning appliances and fireplaces serviced every year. If not correctly maintained, a block or leak in your chimney flue or other devices could occur, and carbon monoxide could back up in your house and kill you. One handy solution is buying a smoke and carbon monoxide detector, which will offer protection from two deadly threats in one unit. Units usually cost around $70 or more, which is a small investment for your family’s peace of mind. 

    Other things you can do to keep your home safe include watching out for your dryer lint. Lint may sound innocent, but it's actually highly combustible and has the potential to start a house fire. We know you probably regularly clean out the lint trap just inside the door, but most people don't know that they should also clean the vents and ducting behind the dryer as well. 

    Make sure your home can breathe. That statement may sound funny to you, but home inspectors are always surprised at how many people's bathrooms and attics are not vented to the outside, which can make your home a prime candidate for toxic mould. 

    If you're considering a remodel and your home was last built or re-modeled around pre-mid-1980s, care should be taken when completing repairs to a stippled/Artex ceiling as it might have been constructed with asbestos-containing material. It will have to be appropriately handled during removal, or particles can be released into the air for you to ingest.

  • 3: Reduce your bills (and your carbon footprint in the process)

    When people think of going green, they usually envision installing solar panels or using a hybrid car. 

    Yes, those options can help, but a little old-fashioned common sense can make a world of difference too. 

    One of the best places to start cutting down your energy use is in your own home:

    • Ensure your home has proper insulation (if you need insulation in your home Tara Construction can help, give us a call for your free quote).
    • Schedule your thermostat to go down to 13°C degrees at night and when you're not at home. If you get cold, it's a great excuse to cozy up to your other half or use a warm blanket to help keep your heating low.
    • Switch over to fluorescent light bulbs or LED lights and water efficient showerheads.
    • Wait for the dishwasher or washing machine to be full before you run them and remember what your mother use to tell you "turn out the lights when you're not in a room."
    • Turn off your power strips and/or set your home computer to go into sleep mode when it's not in use.

    Try out composting, and watch your garden grow.

  • 4: Work out a weekly system for keeping your house clean

    Daily Tasks: Dirty dishes go in the dishwasher as soon as you finish with them - no excuses! Dirty clothes should go into hampers, and coats and clean clothes should be hung up in the closet. Ensure you have an assigned place for everything.

    Weekly Tasks: Clean your entire house, using these tips:

    • Use an apron with pockets or a portable carryall that can move with you and store all your cleaning products including rubber gloves, clean clothes, and brushes, so you don't have to go running around looking for them as you clean.
    • Clear counters, spray surfaces and the bathtub with cleaner, then allow them to sit while you clean toilets and wipe down the outer toilet surface.
    • Work around the room clockwise, cleaning from high areas such as cabinets then moving down to lower regions like your floors.
    • To help speed things up, make cleaning a household project (yes, you'll have to ignore those sad faces) and divide up tasks or rooms. Having everyone help will optimize your time, and you can have the entire house cleaned in less than an hour, which will allow you and your family to spend more time enjoying the weekend going to the mountains or a movie.
  • 5: Get started with that long awaited home renovation

    • Start small
      Break it down into manageable projects and take it one project or room at a time. Try to make realistic goals and commit to them. Start with the structural/safety issues as the top priority to get done and work from there.

    • Allow airflow and natural light
      Find ways of adding more light and air into the house.  If you are taking advantage of the Seniors Home Adaptation and Repair Program (SHARP) to extend or just to change your windows, go for frame-less areas of glass where you can, losing glazing bars that dice up the sunlight. 

    • Add value to your home
      Whether or not you are thinking about selling, think of your home as an investment and continuously aim to add value to it. The kitchen and bathroom are the two most important rooms that add value to your house. Landscaping is another excellent way of adding value - maybe add a patio.

    • Add an extension/balcony
      Adding an extension, deck or balcony to your house makes a huge difference and makes it feel like a new home, without the costs and hassle of relocating. An extension also adds value to your home. Basement renovations are currently a trendy option for adding space and value to the home. Always check with the city on what type of permits you need before making structural alterations to your house.

    • DIY on the small jobs only
      Save some money by doing the smaller tasks yourself, but leave the complicated jobs to the professionals. Undertaking a difficult job yourself is a lot of work, and substandard work can actually decrease the value of your home.

    • It's the little things that count
      Simple things like a fresh coat of paint or new light fixtures can make a huge difference and won't blow the budget.

    • Decide on a budget and know your limit
      Having a clear budget in mind can eliminate overspending or money running out halfway through a project. Allocate your budget according to the priority on what needs to be done.

    • Do your research
      Before deciding on anything do your research into current trends, city regulations etc. Use home improvement magazines or websites/blogs/Pinterest/Houzz to get inspiration. Visit showrooms and ask industry experts for their advice. Get help from your family/friends. This will help you decide on what styles you like.

    • Start from the outside and work in
      Start by renovating the outside of the house and as you get more money you can start working on the inside. The facade of your house is a person's first impression so make it a good one.

    • Add an extension/balcony
      Adding an extension, deck or balcony to your house makes a huge difference and makes it feel like a new home, without the costs and hassle of relocating. An extension also adds value to your home. Basement renovations are currently a trendy option for adding space and value to the home. Always check with the city on what type of permits you need before making structural alterations to your house.

    • DIY on the small jobs only
      Save some money by doing the smaller tasks yourself, but leave the complicated jobs to the professionals. Undertaking a complicated job yourself is a lot of work, and substandard work can actually decrease the value of your home.

    • It's the little things that count
      Simple things like a fresh coat of paint or new light fixtures can make a huge difference and won't blow the budget.

    • Add value to your home
      Whether or not you are thinking about selling, think of your home as an investment and continuously aim to add value to it. The kitchen and bathroom are the two most important rooms that add value to your house. Landscaping is another excellent way of adding value - maybe add a patio.
     
  • Home Renovation Help

    We hope you found these tips helpful. For additional advice on your home renovation or a comprehensive quote, please call us at (403) 991-2813 or fill in our online contact form.

    The Tara Construction Team would like to wish you and your family a happy, healthy and prosperous New Year!

  •