New Year's Resolutions for Chicago Homeowners

It’s a new year and a new decade; a perfect time to make resolutions.
a home with a stethoscope on it.What are your resolutions?
*To save more money?
*To be organized?
*To get healthy?
Did you know your Chicago home could help you achieve your goals?
Get your home in shape and your life will follow. Here are some tips for saving money, expanding your space and making your home a healthier place to live.
Save Money

*There is tons of money and energy to save around the house. Small efforts like unplugging appliances not in use, turning off lights when you leave a room and replacing old light bulbs with LEDs will lighten your monthly electric bill.
*Stop air from seeping into your home and you’ll reduce the cost of heating and cooling your house. Improve insulation, caulk or weatherstrip around doors and windows and seal the gaps around outlets and light switches on exterior walls.
*Install a programmable thermostat, then program it to go down 5 or 10 degrees at night and when you are out and the device will pay for itself in less than a year.
*Outdated appliances drive up your utility bills because they use so much energy. Invest in energy-efficient appliances and save hundreds of dollars a year. Plus, you may be eligible for a rebate on Energy Star appliances.
*Get a home energy audit and find out exactly what you can do to make your home more energy efficient.
*For tons of suggestions on saving energy and money, visit the U.S. Department of Energy’s Energy Efficiency & Renewable Energy site.
Get organized
*Cluttered rooms are uninspiring, hard to work in, hard to clean and hard to control. Clearing away the clutter can double the size of your home.
*Really clean out closets. Get rid of any clothes you haven’t worn in a year. Box up and store out-of-season clothing. When you are done and have a ton of extra space, continue to get rid of a piece of clothing each time you bring a new one in.
*Evaluate your “stuff.” If you collect a lot of knick-knacks that clutter more than they compliment, try to get rid of one out of every four items. You’ll free up tons of space and your home will feel cleaner and be easier to clean.
*To organize junk drawers, art supplies and makeup collections, utilize silverware trays and Tupperware or plastic containers. Everything in your home should have one place. It helps you to get organized, reduces clutter and cuts down on the amount of time you waste searching for things.
*Digitize important documents, then shred and recycle the paper copies. Sign up for online billing and banking and save some space in your home and trees on the Earth.
*Always looking for your keys or cell phone? Hang a key rack or set up a table near the door and make it a habit to always put your keys there. Invest in a charging station and not only will you know where your phone is each morning but you’ll have full battery for your day.
Get healthy
*You can’t be healthy if the home you live in isn’t, so regular maintenance is a must.
*Your furnace should be cleaned and serviced each year and the filter changed every one to three months.
*Filters should be changed in vacuum cleaners too. Then use that vacuum to clean behind the refrigerator twice a year.
*You should have carbon monoxide detectors on every level of your home and smoke alarms on each floor and outside bedrooms. Check that they are working and change the batteries twice a year. Replace smoke alarms every 10 years and CO alarms every five.
*Clean your humidifiers frequently. Read your owner’s manual to find out what parts need to be cleaned, then do it with vinegar. Check to see if the filter needs to be changed.
*Organize your pantry and refrigerator so that plenty of healthy yet satisfying foods are within reach, and put the tempting goodies further in the back.
*With all the organizing and decluttering you have now done, you should have room to create an area just for you, whether it’s for meditating, reading, exercising, or just enjoying your home.
Follow some of these easy steps and you will have a healthier, roomier, greener, more cost-efficient home.
And, that will lead to a healthier, happier, more productive you!