So, you are a new homeowner…why not start some new habits going into the new year?

Make a realistic housekeeping plan - Wouldn’t it be nice if every nook of your home was clean and sparkly and perfectly organized? We would all love that. But, nothing about that picture is remotely realistic. Life is busy, messy and unpredictable. Kids, spouses, pets, jobs, school projects…the list is endless when it comes to things that block our dreams of a perfectly clean and organized home. But, with a little planning, we can have a home that is functional, neat and easy to enjoy because we have stayed ahead of the mess.

Pick three areas that bother you the most and plan to tackle those. Mine has always been:

1.) Clutter.

2.) Laundry.

3.) Lack of food in the pantry.

Years ago I adopted a plan to keep those areas of my home running smoothly. To avoid clutter, I live by the rule of - if I get a new something I must get rid of an old something. This keeps ‘things and items’ at a controlled number! Next, laundry gives me anxiety, truly it does. To avoid this, I do a load of laundry a day, without exception, it has just become part of my life’s routine – like brushing my teeth or making my bed, this one happens daily. This may seem silly, but for me, there was value in not having that anxiety. Lastly, running out of food for myself and my family has been a real thing in my house since returning to work full time. Once this happens, life seems to spiral down a little. So every week I make a list and I go to the store. I go to the same store, at the same time, on the same day, every week, with my list and meal plan in hand. Cleaning plans are unique to every home, family and individual; whatever your struggle, planning is key. Check out www.flylady.net – she is the absolute go-to for creating a realistic cleaning plan!

Learn to clean one new ‘hard’ thing – There are so many areas in your home that require only annual or biannual attention that ultimately go neglected, because, let’s be honest, we have no clue how to maintain them. Whether it be cleaning the oven, changing the air filters, defrosting the fridge or __________ you fill in the blank; these things go years without cleaning because we are clueless.

So this year, stretch yourself and learn just one new thing:

1.) Identify what your ‘hard’ thing(s) are.

2.) Google or YouTube how to clean the specific brand/serial model and familiarize yourself on the cleaning process.

3.) Set a reminder on your phone to clean your ‘hard’ thing once or twice a year.

4.) BAM! You just killed another resolution.

Shoes off – This is a simple and easy habit to adopt. Taking your shoes off and leaving them by the door keeps your floors clean, end of story! I like placing a basket or cute shelf by my doors to keep shoes organized and looking neat.

Go energy-efficient – Adding ‘green’ to your life is probably not on the top of your resolutions list. But, maybe it should be? Becoming energy efficient is easy and unlike the myth, it doesn’t have to be. Being energy-efficient can save money.

A few things you can do:

1.) As your light bulbs go out, change them to LEDs.

2.) Use cloth napkins instead of paper ones.

3.) Recycle.

4.) Unplug & turn off lights & electronics.

5.) Install a low-flow shower head 6.) Go electronic and opt-out of mailing lists. There are several good websites and blogs written about how you can live a more sustainable life. Here is my favorite - http://www.globalstewards.org/sustainable-lifestyle.htm

Safety check - Just do it! Every January 1st, check your smoke detectors, CO2 monitors and replace the batteries.

No one should pledge themselves to all of these – but trying to achieve one of these in the new year will make you feel like you are winning at homeownership! #happynewyear #make2020count