In most homes, especially older ones, it can seem like there is always something that needs to be fixed or updated. It always seems like there is more time to tackle home projects, but as the year comes to an end, it seems nothing really got done.
Whether you've got a tile that needs a little extra grout, or a hardwood floor that needs to be refinished, it can be difficult to find the time, as well as the interest, in getting those jobs done.
So, we've put together a list of the top five projects you procrastinated all year, including tips to tackle them, so you can look forward to a more successful and satisfying year of DIY.
1. Leaky Faucets, Drains, and Valves... Oh My!
There’s always one leak somewhere in your home keeping you up with that drip-drop sound and wasting your water. What's even worse is the leak that is out of sight and out of mind; it doesn't affect your day-to-day routine, but it causes problems just the same. Instead of wasting water and watching your money literally go down the drain, tackle this project for a more efficient and drip-free new year.
Instead of treating this like a chore, use it as an opportunity for home upgrades. Don't just fix a leaky kitchen faucet; use it as an opportunity to replace the hardware completely. Mismatched metallics are "in" this year, so exchange your old, leaky faucet for a brand new, metallic, hands-free one. Then you don't even have to repair the problem, you can just avoid it all together and install a brand new one! If you've got the budget, you could even install a whole new sink.
The same goes for your bathroom. Whether it's your shower valve, sink drain, or bathtub, use this as an opportunity to upgrade your bathroom rather than just tackle the repairs. It will make the project more fun, and therefore something you will look forward to.
2. Gutting Your Gutters
Gutter cleaning is not only cumbersome and tiring, but also straight up dangerous. Many people have fallen off ladders trying to get that last handful of leaves clogging up their gutters. So, it's no wonder this is one of the most procrastinated task for homeowners.
A good way to put this issue to bed is to buy or make gutter covers or screens. Simply put, these devices are grates that you install on top of your gutters that will keep you from accumulating leaves and debris, while still allowing the water to drain through, which is especially important to prevent winter freezing. Only when the water is trapped in a gutter does it freeze and cause cracks.
So, make one last trip up the ladder to clean your gutters, and install a cover or screen to prevent ever having to deal with this chore again!
3. Freshen up a Filthy Fireplace
A fireplace can be a lovely place to cuddle up with friends and loved ones while enjoying a delicious cup of hot cocoa. It can add a classy and sophisticated look to any home. However, it can also also be a huge pain for homeowners with winter leaks and constant cleaning needs. In fact, a lot of homeowners never take advantage of their fireplaces to avoid the cleaning that goes along with regular use. Instead of avoiding using your fireplace, get yourself on a better cleaning schedule.
A simple trick for incorporating your fireplace into your regular home maintenance routine is to fit it in with other seasonal chores. For example, before the weather outside gets frightful, you close up your pool and start to winterize your home. This is a great time to clean your fireplace to prepare it for use during the winter season or to have a chimney sweep come to clean and inspect it. They can tell you what needs to be fixed while taking care of most of the heavy lifting that comes with having a fireplace.
In addition, keeping a fireplace maintenance schedule to incorporate little clean ups throughout the year, rather than one giant clean up at the end of winter or the beginning of it, can keep your chimney from becoming such a chore.
4. Detect and Eliminate Drafts
Drafty spots can be an issue in any home, new or old. However, in an older home, it can seem so overwhelming to keep drafts out that it often doesn’t seem like it’s worth the time to start such a large project to take them on in case you can never finish it, especially when the weather has already begun to cool.
Drafty problems are actually simple to take on if you take it in steps instead of trying to tackle it all at once. First, hunt down where the problem is coming from. A simple way to figure out where your air leaks are coming from is to use smoke goggles. This ingenious but simple device takes the detective work out of detecting where the worst leaks in your home are no matter what time of year.
Once you've detected where your air leaks are coming from, you can more quickly seal them up with weatherstripping, caulk, and makeshift bubble wrap insulation.
5. Straighten up by Installing Shelves
One of the most common problems among homeowners and renters alike is the over-accumulation of stuff. We especially see the chaos of clutter after the holidays. And of course, we never have enough space to display or store all our belongings. Even though installing shelves can make life neater and more presentable, there always seems to be something better to do. However, if you take the guesswork out of putting up your shelves, it won’t seem like such a boring, tedious project - especially if you get to use lasers.
Start the new year off right by getting organized. First figure out if you actually need to install shelves or if some other storage solution would suffice. Then decide what the shelves are for. Are the shelves for books, knickknacks, photos, or treasured family possessions? That helps you decide what type of shelving solution will work best.
Once you know what type will work best, get to it! While working and after installation, keep checking to make sure the shelves are level. This is where your super cool laser device comes in. Use an app on your phone or a key chain laser to check that everything is in a straight line. Done. Then you can finally start to get organized!