The new year brings hope, focus, and energy, so it’s the perfect time to make some resolutions related to DIY and home improvement. Maybe you’re focused on decor or landscaping or a complete kitchen remodel. Regardless of your overall goals, here are some DIY resolutions nearly anyone can make—and keep.
1. Keep up with Maintenance
Maintenance on a home is never ending, so it’s not surprising it can become overwhelming. However, if you plan ahead and keep up with regular maintenance tasks, the list can remain short all year long. Get out the calendar and fill in a time frame to replace smoke detector batteries, remove or add winter covers, clean light fixtures and ceiling fans, clean filters in the range hood vent, air conditioner, vacuum, and furnace, and clean the fireplace. Break your chores up so it only takes minutes to complete each task rather than weekends full of maintenance jobs.
2. Keep up with Repairs
Things break and malfunction—there’s no way to avoid it. The best way to deal with it is to vow quick repairs. Some issues are obviously bigger than others, like if the furnace goes out in the middle of winter. Other things can wait a bit, but make sure they don’t fall off the list entirely. Give yourself a realistic timeline based on your schedule and budget so that annoying sticking door, stain on the carpet, or damaged door trim gets repaired sooner rather than later.
3. Start or Improve Composting
Now that you’ve vowed to keep up with repairs and maintenance of what you have, focus on other ways you can benefit yourself. Composting not only means providing yourself with fresh organic compost for the garden and plants, it also means less waste in the trash can. Plus, a compost bin is easy to start and maintain. If you already have a composter, set a new goal such as a second compost or improved enrichment.
4. Recycle More
Recycling is good for the planet and your pocketbook in the form of a lower garbage bill. Most areas offer curbside recycling for cardboard, plastic jugs, aluminum cans, and glass items you use every day. If you don’t currently recycle, call the local refuse station and ask about the system in your area. They’ll be happy to fill you in on the details.
Make it easy by posting an informational flyer for the family on the wall, fridge or cupboard near the recycling bin. If you do recycle, commit to cleaning up your act by making sure only clean, dry, and accepted items end up in the receptacle. Also be aware of packaging when you buy items at the store. Select glass instead of plastic when possible, buy in bulk, make your own produce bags out of pillow cases, take reusable shopping bags to the store with you, and reuse containers as much as possible.
5. Replace Light Bulbs
When the lights go out, reach for high-efficiency options. They last longer and cost you less in electricity bills over the long haul. That also makes them friendlier for the environment and, better yet, reduces the frequency you have to change them, with some bulbs lasting 10 years or more.
6. Fix Inefficiencies
This could be listed under keeping up with repairs, but it’s really more about looking for ways to improve the efficiency of your home. Once or twice each year, check for air leaks around doors and windows. Also keep up with furnace maintenance and replace water heating systems that waste a lot of water before getting warm. Also, when an appliance breaks, replace it with a high-efficiency model.
7. Collect Rainwater
Creating rain collection barrels is an easy DIY task that saves you money and makes use of a natural resource. Check that it's legal in your area, then install a rain diverter into your downspout. Attach it to nearby rain barrels and let Mother Nature do the rest.
8. Get Organized
We could write a book about the myriad ways you can get organized, but the main point is to set resolutions that apply to you and your lifestyle. The goal is to use your time more efficiently, reduce stress, and be able to find items when you need them. This creates a calmer environment in your home and saves you money from replacing lost items. Consider what your problem areas are and be resolute about a solution.
If the mail stacks up, remove yourself from mailing lists and set up a mail station next to the recycle bin for quick disposal. Place your bill-paying supplies nearby too. If clothes are an issue, install a closet organizer, sort and donate, use thinner hangers, or fold your dresser items more efficiently. For an overstuffed pantry, hang a shoe organizer over the pantry door to house snacks or cleaning supplies, use baskets for commonly used items, and add shelving units to the space.
9. Clear out the Clutter
If you have a problem keeping track of items, or feel like the place is always a mess, eliminating clutter is a gift to yourself. Be persistent in asking yourself if you need something before buying. Evaluate the time, money, and maintenance you give to items that you may not use often. Remove knick-knacks you only keep out of guilt. Create more space for things that bring you joy. Say "no thank you" when someone asks you if you want items they are getting rid of. If you're limited in space, ditch the cookbooks in favor of digital files.
Resolutions are meant to motivate and inspire, so don’t beat yourself up if you can’t seem to maintain them all. Do your best with goals and plans, and reward yourself when you reach milestone goals!