This year while you're focusing on mastering your finances or losing weight, include your home on the personal improvement. We've compiled a list of common New Year's resolutions and their appropriate "home" versions. See what you can do:
Lose Weight (aka Reduce Energy & Water Use)
While you're busy counting calories trying to lose weight, help your home do the same by reducing its water and energy use. You could make mental notes or tack sticky papers to remind you to use less water, or turn the air conditioner off, or you could make this the year of efficiency and simply install water — and energy-efficient products throughout your home. While a new ENERGY STAR washer, dryer or dishwasher could initially set you back a few thousand dollars (but be worth it in the end), you don't have to start with the most drastic measures. Consider starting with efficient shower heads and faucets. The average American family could save nearly 3,000 gallons of water per year if they used WaterSense labeled shower heads, the EPA reported.
Quit Smoking (aka Stop Postponing)
If this isn't the first time you've made the resolution to stop smoking, it unfortunately might not be your last. We humans have a tendency to have a hard time kicking habits, even with the best intentions — and we're great at postponing. The year is still young; don't delay. Start today by doing all the things you said you'd do later. In the spirit of quitting smoking, purify your indoor air with humidifiers and air filters. Gather up recycling bags and actually take them to thrift stores. Clean off your laundry room counter by finishing the pile of mending and ironing. Hang those picture frames, switch out the dusty curtains for new window blinds and stop postponing little things that eventually turn into big things.
Get Organized (aka Cut the Clutter)
Dig through your closets and empty drawers of items you haven't used, clothes you haven't worn and keepsakes that are no longer personally valuable. Don't let papers pile up and knick-knacks gather dust for another year. If you didn't need it in 2012 you won't be using it in 2013. Sell, recycle or donate what you can and take the rest out to the trash. Your home will thank you for it, and trust us — you won't miss the clutter when it's gone.
Focus on Fitness aka Exercise Your DIY Skills
If your goal is to make it to the gym more often this year, here's a little secret. You can burn calories and focus on fitness in your house — during home improvement projects. Spending an hour installing rain gutters or building a fence will burn 340 calories for the average 150 pound person. Laying or removing carpet will chop 238 calories and painting or papering your walls will cost you 136 calories, Calorie Lab reported, a nutritional, health and fitness database. So get outside and plant a garden or go online Pinterest and find a craft to do that will brighten your home and keep your body active.
Let Go of the Past (aka Do a Deep Clean)
Spend one Saturday soon on your hands and knees cleaning baseboards or standing on a chair dusting tall bookshelves. Get a ladder and carefully clean those often-forgotten chandeliers and pendant lights with warm water and soft soap or isopropyl alcohol. Lay out a drop cloth below to let the lights drip dry. Unload the refrigerator and wipe the whole thing down, and dust the top of it while you are at it. After a deep clean — especially if you spot check your carpet and furniture — you'll wonder how you lived so long without doing it.