Most New Year’s resolutions involve promises to fit into last year’s suit and to avoid the fast-food lane. But don’t let your self-improvement list end there, include your place and your space in your plans. 

Safety first. If you do not already have one, make a household emergency kit now. Pack it with the following items:  

  1. First aid kit – complete with a first aid how to book  

  2. Working flashlight – with extra batteries you replace every year when you change out your smoke alarm batteries 

  3. Extra blankets 

  4. Can opener and some nonperishable food  

  5. Water in a container that heat or freezing temperatures will not effect 

  6. Tissue – paper towels, small garbage bag  

  7. A laminated list of emergency numbers (neighbor, utility company, your family doctor, electrician, plumber, insurance company, and any other person you can think of that you will need to contact in an emergency). This kit may be something your children need to go find if you are not home. All members living in the household should know where this is kept.  

Also take time each month to make sure your smoke alarms and carbon monoxide detectors are working. Purify the air in the home by swapping out furnace filters every month (some filters are super large and designed to be swapped out once a year).  

Throw it away. Start in the kitchen tossing and recycling containers that have long lost their matching lids. Take an inventory of your small appliances and you know the rule, if you have not used it in a year give or throw it away. Head to the bathroom and throw half-used shampoo or body wash that has gone unused in the past 6 months. This will really clear up space! Finish in the living room by consolidating or recycling old magazines and printed materials. 

Invest wisely.  Is one of your major appliances on its last leg? Saving money to update or replace aging appliances should be on every homeowner’s mind. Start by saving a small amount each week ($10 - $20), and work towards your specific goal, such as a more energy-efficient washer and dryer set. Be sure to check out any potential cost-saving tax benefits too!