If home is where the heart is, imagine how much better you could feel by ensuring your home is as healthy as possible. Just like with maintaining our bodies’ well-being, we can control what comes into and what is used within our homes to help our families achieve a healthy lifestyle. In the spirit of new beginnings, follow these five achievable resolutions that can make your home healthier this year.
1. Cleanse Your Kitchen
Considered the soul of the home, the kitchen is the room where families often come together. As such, it is important to make it as healthy as possible. Beyond purchasing a juice cleanser and stocking your pantry with healthy snacks, there are many other ways to create a more nourishing kitchen.
Start by targeting your tap water. Nearly 77 million people in the U.S. were served by community water systems with violations as recently as 2015, according to a study by the Natural Resources Defense Council published in 2017. By filtering your tap water, you can better prevent your body from disease, improve your skin and boost circulation. Review and compare faucet water filters that reduce pollutants like lead and toxic chemicals and moved toward a healthier hydration.
2. Bring Fitness In
Have extra space in your home and not sure how to use it? Grab some workout equipment and turn it into your personal gym. Whether you're purchasing weights, a yoga mat or an elliptical machine, having a dedicated fitness area in the home can help you carve out time for workouts while offering the convenience of not having to leave your house (and also eliminate a handful of excuses). Physical activity can help lower the risk of contracting chronic illness like cardiovascular disease, and more immediately helps increase energy, sleep quality and overall happiness.
[Read: The Guide to Home Renovations.]
3. Purify Your Air
It has long been common knowledge that getting fresh air is extremely important to your health. It enhances digestion and lowers blood pressure, strengthens immune systems and increases overall happiness. There's no doubt that daily exposure to fresh air is necessary. While it may be harder to leave windows open and be active outside in colder months, there are many ways to still guarantee you're getting fresh air within your home.
Keeping living houseplants is one of the easiest ways to purify air, and the right plants can even control bacteria and germs in your home. Plus, it adds some decoration and color to your home's interior. If you struggle to keep indoor plants alive, alternative options that have become popular over the past few years include essential oils, a humidifier and replacing candles with solely soy candles to guarantee you are breathing in high quality air.
4. Green Landscaping
While breathing purified air inside the home is important, make sure the air directly outside your home is as fresh as possible by avoiding pesticides when you're doing yardwork. During the summer when we open windows, contaminants like dust, pollen and mold spores can easily make their way into the home from chemicals we use to keep the yard looking nice. As prolonged exposure to these toxins can lead to major health risks down the line – like chronic respiratory disease, heart disease and lung cancer – keeping outdoor air uncontaminated is one of the most important steps you can take.
5. Smart Cleaning
Cleaning can be one of the most effective ways to ensure you are living in a healthy home. However, using common household cleaners that contain toxins and chemicals can be more harmful for your health than beneficial. The American Lung Association warns against too much contact products that include volatile organic compounds, such as aerosol spray products, furniture and floor polish and air fresheners, which can contribute to respiratory problems, headaches and allergic reactions. Read cleaning product labels before buying and reduce your interaction with potentially harmful chemicals like bleach and ammonia as much as possible.
A renovation project for each season
Homeownership comes with a never-ending list of home improvement projects, and being able to time them right can be tricky. Ultimately, the best time for a home improvement project is when you have the time. But if you’re eager to plan projects to set yourself up for success, consider which season has the right weather patterns, minimizes future maintenance issues and makes it easiest to hire professionals. Read on for the best time of year for 12 home improvement projects.Interior paint
Best time of year: Winter
The benefit of painting inside is that you have air conditioning and heating. “We paint interiors all year-round because of that climate control,” says Tina Nokes, co-owner of Five Star Painting in Loudoun County, Virginia, which is a part of Neighborly, a network of home service providers. Your biggest concern when it comes to a quality indoor paint job is humidity – so if you’re in the middle of a humid summer, it’ll take longer for a room to dry and it will dry unevenly. If you’re worried about humidity levels inside, paint your interior rooms during the winter, when the air is driest.Electrical updates
(Paul Bradbury/Getty Images)
Best time of year: Winter
Electrical work can happen just about any time of year, unless it’s during rain or a thunderstorm, for obvious safety reasons, explains Dennis Burke, owner of Mr. Electric of Southeast New Hampshire, which is also a Neighborly company. What truly makes winter a winner for electrical updates is that you’ll be avoiding the bulk of competing homeowners. Burke says late spring and early summer see a big influx of requests from clients, as well as late summer as people go on vacation. “Labor Day to Thanksgiving is also really busy,” he says.Building a deck
Building a deck
Best time of year: Winter
An outdoor project like a backyard deck seems like a natural undertaking for summer, but it’s actually just the opposite. Deck builders and contractors report that pressure-treated wood, which is best for building a deck, stabilizes best when humidity is low. Additionally, the increased sun exposure in summer can cause the surface of a deck to crack, and cloudier winter days help avoid early damage. If you live in a particularly cold climate, aim for early winter to avoid the bulk of snowfall and temperatures that are too cold for contractors to work outside.Full-room remodel
Best time of year: Winter or spring
Remodeling or updating a well-loved room in your home can happen any time of year, but it’s best to be proactive and avoid higher labor costs or jampacked contractor schedules during the summer months. HomeAdvisor reports that July is the busiest month for bathroom remodel requests, with 48 percent of homeowners indicating they’re ready to hire and start work immediately. Avoid the rush by scheduling your remodel earlier in the year.Cleaning out gutters
Cleaning out gutters
Best time of year: Early spring and fall
The gutters along your roofline collect leaves, twigs and other debris over time. When they get too full, the drains can clog and cause water to sit along the edges of the roof and get inside the house or continue to weigh down the gutters. Avoid any problems by cleaning out your gutters in the fall, when leaves are most likely to make their way in, and again in early spring so the path for water is clear before April showers roll in. If you're not comfortable on a ladder or you have a high roofline, consider hiring professional help that will take proper safety precautions.New floors
Best time of year: Spring or fall
The best time to install wood flooring is during parts of the year with the least extreme conditions. In spring and fall, you'll avoid peak humidity and dry air, both of which can cause problems like bowing and warped wood or cracking in too-dry conditions. Plus, you can open windows to ventilate the smell of wood stain or carpet adhesive, and you’re least likely to have the heat or air cranking in spring and fall.Updating a deck or fence
Updating a deck or fence
Best time of year: Spring, summer or fall
The wood on a deck may fare better in winter, but staining a deck or painting a fence often requires additional weather consideration. “Decks and fences are a little more finicky (than painting a house exterior). We need it to be even warmer, around 40 to 50 degrees,” Nokes says. A good deck staining or painting company will recommend a timeline specific to temperatures where you live to avoid an incomplete, delayed or flawed project.Exterior paint
Best time of year: Late spring, summer, early fall
New paint will freshen up the look of your exterior walls, and painting is a doable project for a decent chunk of the year. Temperatures have to stay above 35 degrees for exterior painting, so in the early days of spring and late days of fall, weather-dependent work may be delayed if temperatures drop. For this reason, Nokes keeps clients on a watch list: “If we get a warm snap, I’ll call them right away,” she says.Home addition
Best time of year: Late spring, summer, early fall
For outdoor work, it’s best to avoid the seasons that will bring inclement weather and delay the project. Plan for the project to begin after the chance of snow in your region has passed, and shoot for a completion date before the frost returns in the fall to reduce the chances of delays. But be sure to schedule all professionals well in advance. In fact, Burke says a month to two months’ advance notice is often needed for electricians to complete an estimate, plan a contract and schedule work.Roof repair and replacement
Roof repair and replacement
Best time of year: Summer, early fall
It’s a given that you don’t want people working on your roof in icy or wet conditions. As a result, the best time of year for roof repair or replacement is also when the professionals are busiest. Be sure to plan roof replacement a month or two in advance to avoid having to wait with possible leaks causing damage to the inside of your home.HVAC care
Best time of year: Early fall
Any repairs to your heating, ventilation and air conditioning system should be done as soon as you notice an issue, but if you’re planning to do routine maintenance, schedule a professional long before you’ll need to turn on the heat. That way, any potential problems that could leave you without heat are found and fixed before the first cold nights of the season. The same goes for air conditioning in the late spring and summer.New appliances
Best time of year: Fall
Consumers can expect everything from washing machines and oven ranges to refrigerators to sport discounts leading up to the holidays. Even if you’re not updating your kitchen until May (and your home can accommodate an extra oven or fridge for five months), keep an eye out for deals. Stores that sell appliances like Sears, Lowe’s and Home Depot are known to regularly offer holiday weekend deals.Read More
She is currently Executive Director of Luxury Estates with Compass in Beverly Hills, California. Her team, SFJ Group, is comprised of agents and a full-service staff ranging across experienced marketing, listing, transaction, and operation experts.