As we begin a new year, and we push ourselves to be better students, parents, friends, and overall more improved versions of ourselves – it’s a great time to think about how we can improve ourselves as homeowners. Like many things in our lives, as we get busy we find ourselves neglecting, or simply not maximizing our space. Since we are spending more time than ever at home, it’s a great time to improve your environment to help your well-being in the new year. Here are a few resolutions to get you started:
Add Life to Your Space
When we say to maximize a space, it often gives the connotation of just adding more stuff – however truly maximizing a space is making a space useful and helpful for your life. Our homes obviously have many purposes – to play, to work, to gather, but one of their most important purposes should be to relax and improve your well-being.
A great way to change your space to help you relax is to add some green to your space. Many studies have concluded that there are health and mental benefits to being around plants and nature. In fact, one study found that keeping ornamental plants in the home and in the workplace has been found to increase both memory retention and concentration. The calming influence of natural environments is conducive to positive work environments by increasing a person’s ability to concentrate on the task at hand. Work performed under the natural influence of ornamental plants is normally of higher quality and completed with a much higher accuracy rate than work done in environments devoid of nature. Going outside or being under the influence of plants can increase memory retention up to twenty percent, a recent University of Michigan study showed” (Sewach). The effect of nature in the home and in the workplace serves to stimulate both the senses and the mind, improving mental cognition and performance. (Bisco Werner 1996; Brethour 2007; Frank 2003; Pohmer 2008; Serwach 2008; Shibata, 2001, 2004; Yannick 2009)
Donate Unneeded Items
A common belief amongst those who hold onto items is that they don’t want an item to go to waste, particularly if they feel they could use them in the future. However, an excellent solution is to donate.
Beyond having a cleaner, less cluttered space, donating and giving back to others also can help to improve your mental health and well-being. Studies show that any act of altruism is connected to positive physical and mental effects. According to the Cleveland Clinic, this includes lower blood pressure, increased self-esteem, less incidence of depression, lower stress levels, and even longer life and greater happiness (Talk Space 2020). If you have items to donate, check out this list of charities that have free donation pick-up.
Plan a Renovation Project
Wanting to spruce up your home? While you likely are waiting for warm weather to get started, it’s a great time to start planning your renovation project now. Planning early can help minimize measurement errors, and allow you to compare pricing and maximize sale opportunities. For instance, President’s Day and the weekends leading up to it, often have deals on appliances, mattresses, and other home goods. If you are considering selling in the next year, also reach out to your real estate agent as they may have some good tips on what buyers are looking for in a home like yours.
Doing That Chore
We all have one – a chore that’s been waiting for us to complete. The one that we’d rather sit through a reading of the encyclopedia instead of completing. Well this will be the year! Identify the chore, make a plan with incremental steps for completion and put time-blocks on your calendar OR delegate this task to a professional.
Touch base with Loan Officer
Last but not least, with changing interest rates – take time to review if refinancing would be a good option for you. Refinancing is not always the best scenario for every homeowner, however, it can provide an opportunity to lower your mortgage payment, improve terms such as the removal of private mortgage insurance, or switch from an adjustable to a fixed-rate mortgage. Whether or not refinancing is a good option for you, will depend on your unique situation – creditworthiness, current mortgage balance, starting mortgage terms, and interest rates. So it’s best to review these options with a trusted mortgage loan professional to determine if refinancing makes sense for your situation.
“Health and Well-being – the Benefits of Plants”, Texas A&M Agrilife Extension
“Giving Back Mental Health Impact”, TalkSpace 2019
“What to Buy Every Month of the Year”, NerdWallet 2021
“Furniture Donation Pick Up: 8 Charities that Pick Up Your Stuff for Free”, MyMove 2021