The New Year’s arrival brings renewed resolutions to lose weight, get a new job, learn a new skill…and the list goes on. Chances are, you’ve probably compiled your own list of self-improvement projects for the year ahead. But have you resolved to refresh your home and property this year? If not, here are five easy-to-implement ideas for giving your Murphy, North Carolina house a new lease on life – and you can begin right now.
Smart Home Thermostat
You’re probably familiar with a programmable thermostat. This handy device helps to knock down your heating and cooling costs by turning your HVAC system on when you intend to be home. When you plan to be elsewhere, the system remains off so you don’t pay for climate control when you’re not there to enjoy it.
A smart home thermostat takes this capability a step (or two) further. First, this versatile little box enables you to create custom heating or cooling schedules for each day’s differing needs. The thermostat can also detect when you’re actually at home, and therefore doesn’t provide heat or air conditioning for a non-occupied space.
Latest-generation smart home thermostats contain sensors that you can place in rooms in which you spend the most time. So, the thermostat heats those rooms while ignoring spaces such as hallways, unused bonus rooms, or laundry areas.
Home Security and Safety Enhancements
Keeping your home secure involves consistent attention to your physical environment and potential risk factors. Although security cameras seem to get the most attention, several other devices can also contribute to your family’s safety.
Smart Remote Lockbox: When you lock yourself out of the house, and your spare key is on the kitchen counter, how can you unlock the front door? The days of safely leaving a key under the doormat are long gone, but now you can gain remote access via a new smartphone app.
This new Smart Remote Keybox can use a custom Bluetooth key to provide you (and other designated keyholders) with remote access to your home. Or, choose personalized PIN codes that expire in just a few hours or stay active for weeks. Providing permanent access for family members is also an option. And, you’ll have a readily available access log so you can get date-stamped details on everyone who enters your home.
Smart Carbon Monoxide and Smoke Alarms: Chances are, you’ve had carbon monoxide and smoke alarms installed in your home for many years. These important devices can alert you to imminent, life-threatening danger, allowing you and your family to safely escape the house. Hopefully, you’ve kept the devices operational by changing the batteries regularly, typically on the Daylight Savings Time start and stop dates.
However, your typical carbon monoxide or smoke alarm has one major limitation. Although it might emit an ear-splitting shriek to let your family know about a carbon monoxide leak or fire, you won’t know about the emergency if you’re not home.
To remedy that situation, a smart carbon monoxide or smoke alarm combines an audio alarm with a smartphone alert, so you’ll quickly learn about the emergency. You can also program an alert transmission to other authorized contacts, such as a neighbor or nearby relative. Some smoke alarms also feature an emergency light that can assist you in navigating your way out of a smoky home.
New Year’s Deep Cleaning Service
Cleaning your home regularly will help to improve its overall appearance. Vacuuming, dusting, and getting clutter under control goes a long way toward achieving that goal. And, banishing the dog hair and dust bunnies, and keeping filters cleaned, will help family members who deal with respiratory issues.
With your busy schedule and multiple commitments, however, your cleaning schedule has suffered (along with the house). So, start the New Year with a clean slate by treating your home to a deep professional clean from top to bottom. Afterward, you’ll find it easier to knock out those basic cleaning and decluttering tasks on a daily or weekly basis.
Although each cleaning service has its own definition of the term, a “deep cleaning” frequently includes services such as mopping or vacuuming floors, descaling bathroom fixtures, cleaning behind appliances, and washing all interior windows.
In other words, a “deep cleaning” removes all the dirt and grime that you don’t have time to tackle. By hiring a professional cleaning service to “deep clean” your home every six months, you can stop feeling guilty, and create a workable cleaning schedule for the New Year.
Home Lighting Fixtures Upgrades
After the holiday season’s colorful decorations and lively festivities, the gray and brown landscape and shorter days can really give you a case of the winter “blahs.” To send that negative mood packing, and give your house a fresh new look, redo (or replace) your home’s lighting fixtures.
If your budget allows, create a coordinated lighting scheme that you can carry throughout the home. Buy new lighting fixtures that integrate with your decorating style (e.g. contemporary, French country, or rustic). Big box stores and specialty lighting shops will likely have lots of varied options.
Let’s say your budget is really stretched, but you’d still like to make some lighting upgrades. First, visit lighting stores and other retail outlets, and look for appealing floor samples. If you’re really cash crunched, give your existing fixtures a fresh coat of spray paint (with proper ventilation, of course).
Switching to energy-efficient LED light bulbs will also pay off in the long run. Although these pricey bulbs will initially take a bigger dent out of your wallet, they require less energy to operate, and their longer life span will actually save you money over time.
Winter Landscape Maintenance Work
Quite surprisingly, winter is an ideal time to wrap up past-season landscaping maintenance work. By hiring a reputable lawn care/landscaping maintenance service now, your property will be ready for the spring planting and gardening season. And, you’ll beat the spring landscaping maintenance rush at the same time.
Eliminate Those Pesky Weeds: Super-hardy weeds, such as Common Chickweed, can survive even in very cold weather. In fact, this annoying plant has been known to hang on even in near-zero temperatures. Even worse, weeds can keep multiplying all year ‘round. Ask the landscapers to banish last season’s leftovers, and invite the crew back when the weeds get a foothold again.
Rake Up Yard Debris and Leaves: Stubborn yard debris and windblown leaves can threaten to take up permanent residence in your yard. Even if you did a thorough fall landscape cleanup, some trees can shed leaves throughout the winter, and you could get the blown-over leaf remnants from your neighbor’s yard. And yard debris isn’t just an annoyance – it’s a hiding place for rodents (which could then find their way into your house). To minimize this hazard, ask the landscape crew to deposit the debris and leaves in a more suitable location.
Complete Winter Pruning Work: Because shrubs and other plants are dormant during winter, it’s an ideal time to trim them back before they begin to grow again during the springtime. If you don’t prune them at all, you can negatively affect the plants’ flowering ability. During the same visit, ask the landscape crew to remove dead plants and flowers from the garden.
Now that your Murphy, North Carolina home is enjoying several New Year’s upgrades, start gathering ideas for additional projects to tackle in the spring. Your local home improvement and hardware stores, garden centers, and specialty shops are excellent places to begin.
The Poltrock Team – REMAX Mountain Properties – Murphy NC – www.ILoveMurphy.com – Call us Toll Free at 1-866-Murphy-NC or 1-866-687-7496 – Murphy’s #1 Real Estate Team