Many of us make optimistic resolutions for the New Year. Whether it's deciding to take a class, stick to a budget, or to finally drop those 20 pounds, we're full of ideas on how make ourselves and our lives better. Because your home is such an important part of your life, why not make some worthwhile resolutions for it as well? Here are some ideas to get you started.
One of the most important things you can do as a homeowner is to make sure routine maintenance is part of your plan. Catching problems early can often help you avoid larger issues down the road. What is now a minor plumbing or roof leak can cause major problems if not detected and fixed immediately. Check around your home for cracked or peeling paint, have the chimney and fireplace inspected and cleaned, and make sure the driveway and walkways are not cracked or lifting.
If you're like many homeowners, it's probably been a while since you've reviewed your home insurance policy and reassessed the value of your home's contents. An updated home inventory of your possessions can help you determine if you have the proper type and amount of insurance. Your insurance company may make forms available to help you organize and record your inventory, and there are several home inventory software programs available. You also can download a free program from www.knowyourstuff.org. Should you have an insurance claim for property loss or damage, a current and accurate inventory can help make the process and accurate valuation easier.
There are simple things that every homeowner can do to improved energy efficiency and save on utility bills. Check around your home for any fixtures that still have incandescent bulbs and replace them with CFL or LED bulbs wherever possible. This saves money and makes things easier for you, too; for example, bulbs in awkward places will need replacement far less often. Make sure windows and doors are caulked and in good repair; this will save energy in both winter and summer. If you're planning to replace any appliances this year, shop for and compare efficient, energy-saving models.
Everyone knows the importance of having a plan in place should a fire occur in your home. But each year, tragedy strikes homes and families who didn't think about it or who promised to make a plan "one of these days". The basics include working and properly installed smoke detectors, fire extinguishers, and an escape plan for every room. Your local fire department is an excellent resource for directions on creating a plan designed to keep you and your loved ones safe. Give yourself some peace of mind by making 2012 the year to put that plan in place.