The ultimate list of (Home) New Years resolutions to make and keep

January 7, 2014

Most of us are slowly getting back into our daily routine. Unfortunately most of us make and break New Years resolutions because we get back into that very routine.

More so, we seem to make unachievable, unrealistic or unnecessary resolutions...So to combat that, here is the ultimate list of home resolutions you should be making and keeping this year.


1. Install smoke detectors

If you haven’t already – which is scary considering they are a state requirement in every home since 2006!

If you do have smoke detectors (fire alarms) check they are working and change batteries where required.

Even better purchase a fire extinguisher (and install in a high use area such as the kitchen or BBQ). You can pick up a fire extinguisher from Bunnings for as little as $29.90!

2. Invest in a household emergency kit

Make disaster planning top priority this year especially those who live in disaster prone areas. In Australia the number of bushfires, flooding and cyclones has increased over the years so it’s essential for those living in these particular areas to be prepared.
Assemble a household emergency kit for your family and include items such as

  • Batteries (in various sizes) and chargers
  • Torches and lamps
  • Thermal blankets, sleeping bags and a tent (if you think necessary)
  • Bottled water, canned and powdered foods
  • Light and warm sets of clothes and running shoes
  • First Aid kit
  • Addresses and phone contacts of relatives
  • prepaid mobile phone and charger

You can buy First Aid kits from St John Ambulance, Red Cross or your local Bunnings. 

Have one already? Check that it is still intact and sufficient for your family's changing needs.

3. Create a budget & stick to it!

There are some great, easy to use budgets and planners online – some created by very effective cost saving mums and families. Start goggling blogs and get one that suits you.

Many now offer free download budgets and planners such as this one from The Organised Housewife

  • It can be as simple as setting a weekly/monthly meal plan and only grocery shopping for those meals. Anything not listed as an ingredient should not be purchased.
  • Making extra mortgage repayments even if it’s an extra $20 each repayment - it all counts! Over time this can dramatically shorten the time until your mortgage will be paid in full.
  • Start a money jar on the kitchen bench – all spare change goes in (and does not come out) until each quarter, when you take the money to the bank and deposit into a high interest savings account or pay down a credit card.
  • Set a budget for gifts – find out and mark on a calendar birthdays, weddings, christenings ect and decide what you will spend for each at the start of the year. Take advantage of the end of year and mid year sales to pre-purchase gifts, layby or put away. This way you will not over spend or make an impulse purchase
  • Hit up Costco and fresh food Markets – If you have an extended family or close friends you can jointly share the bulk purchasing of goods such as toilet paper, bottled water and detergents. They are harder to store as they a bulk buy but you will find great savings compared to buying at your regular grocery store. Fresh food markets are great too for inexpensive fresh fruits, vegetables and seafood, rather than paying local grocery prices. It’s generally a lot busier than your local supermarket, but as long as you use everything you purchase it’s definitely worth it.

4. Obtain home & contents insurance

It was sad to hear the number of families affected by bush and house fires over the holiday period. What was even harder to hear was the number of families without home and contents insurance.

It’s a sad fact that when you need it it’s generally too late to get it – so what do you do once you’ve lost everything.
Albeit you can’t buy family photos and sentimental possessions but you can ensure your family can sufficiently rebuild again.

Here are some easy tips;

  • Start by creating a spreadsheet that can be easily updated
  • Now going room to room and write down the value of everything that you would want covered if you lost it
  • Include full descriptions, where you purchased it and most importantly when. Insurance companies will know you are lying if you say everything is brand new. They will estimate the value of belongings and being honest will ensure they give you the best possible coverage.
  • Keep receipts for large purchases such as expensive jewellery, furniture, appliances. Even clothing especially if you have expensive purchases such as designer handbags or suits.
  • Scan your receipts – they will fade over time
  • Save the spreadsheet and scaned receipts in an online email account or data storage such as Dropbox or Gmail so it can be accessed even if you loose your computer.

It is essential to keep this list up to date every time you make large purchases or replace items. This list will give you an indication of how much coverage you will need to replace what could be lost.

There are various companies’ available now offering discounts for combined car, house and contents insurances so shop around for the best one that suits you.

5. Professionally Clean

There are so many companies out there now offering affordable carpet, rug and mattress cleaning.

The average home owner generally, only professionally cleans their carpets when there is a massive carpet disaster like paint or drink/food spillage in a highly visible area or when a natural disaster strikes like flooding ect. Commonly it’s the renters who use professional carpet cleaners.

Stop and think about the last time your carpets where cleaned. You will probably agree its time to get it done even if its only once a year (but its recommended especially for people with asthma, allergies and pets to do it at least ever 6 months.)

Alternatively you can hire carpet cleaning machine and clean yourself if you know you have the time.

Mattress cleaning is also just as important considering you spend between 20-30 years (or 1/3 of your life) sleeping! You might even consider buying a new mattress.

6. Clean Outside

Now that you have most likely finished your Christmas and New Years entertaining its time to deep clean your outdoor alfresco and BBQ areas.

Rather than leaving until the next time you need to use now is the time to do it.

  • Deep cleaning your concrete and natural stone to avoid stains, grime and mould setting in is a must. Using a cleaner such as Dupont StoneTech KlenzAll will clean and renew your stone and tile. It powers through stubborn grease and soils such as in-ground dirt, oil, grime and organic stains.
  • Once you have thoroughly cleaned your stone and concrete you need to seal – this will keep your outdoor area looking clean, protected and preserve the look for years to come. Try DuPont StoneTech Sealer – it offers economical protection against oil and water based stains for all types of stone and masonry surfaces.
  • For larger areas invest in a high powered jet cleaner – which we all know once the blokes get one they will be cleaning everything with it. These are great for cleaning out gutters and hard to reach windows. Plus washing the car!
  • Thoroughly clean and hose down outdoor furniture and air dry. Seal and rust proof if needed – do this to avoid having to chuck out later in the year. Throw away damaged and un-repairable outdoor furniture and accessories.
  • Wash pillows and throws and pack away until used again to avoid water damage and mould.
  • Hit up your local outdoor accessories specialist – now is the time to purchase new outdoor settings, BBQs ect whilst end of year sales are still on.

7. Organise a major weekend clean up

This means cleaning your house and garage top to bottom. It’s the job that nobody really wants to do but you will be happy to do it once its done. Get the entire family involved if it’s a job too large for you on a weekend.

Create a list by room including outside and what needs to be done – check off each item once its done so you don’t leave anything out.

  • Clean out your pantries and the fridge. Trust me - they are probably disgusting and full of expired food
  • Cull the kids toys – if it’s dirty and can be wash do it otherwise chuck it. If its broken chuck it. If it’s in good condition but no longer wanted bag it and deposit in a charity bin.
  • Any large items that are in the way or no longer used such as sporting or work out equipment put in “sell” pile. (we will get to this in resolution no.8)
  • Go vacuum crazy and move out large furniture you don’t normally do when you do a general clean
  • Sort the linen and towel cupboards – there is nothing worse than a squashed in lined cupboard that when you need a pillow case you end up pulling the whole cupboard out! Learn how to correctly fold linen including the fitted sheets – YouTube has some great easy to follow videos in how to do this. Pick up clean storage tubs and Space bags for heavy seasonal quilts that are not readily needed.
  • Wash baseboards, ceiling lights, fans and cabinets down
  • Pull everything out of your garage – pack away neatly and chuck anything that’s damaged or doesn’t work. Even better set a pile of items that are in good condition that you don’t use but could sell. (we will get to this in resolution no.8)

Once this is done start a new cleaning program to ensure the cleaning is always up to date. Again there are some great easy to use cleaning planners and interesting tips online. 

Start goggling blogs and get one that suits you, many now offer free download planners that you can set out for each member of the family per week and month.

Try reading some of the handy cleaning tips from The 36th Avenue

8. Raid the closets

Now is the perfect time to go through your closests – even the kids closets.

And nothing is more important than for a woman to have the perfect wardrobe. This resolution generally comes at the point when there is a wardrobe full of clothes but nothing to wear!

The very first thing you need to do before you tackle this task is take a look through all the closets and ask yourself do you need new hangers. Without a good pile you might find you run out half way or don’t have the correct ones to finish the job and that is the easiest way to get distracted. So before you begin have a look – if you need more pick some up from your local Ikea, Target, Big W or even Coles!

While you are there pick up a few ‘space bags’ and storage tubs with lids. These will come in handy when you want to pack away seasonal clothes, bulky fur coats and accessories that you won’t need to look at on a daily basis.

For a very detailed clean out check out Ikea, Target or Howard’s storage world for modern and stylish looking closet storage ideas.

Step 1 Grab a glass of vino (or a bottle depending on your tolerance for organisation) and put on some great tunes.

It’s best to start with the largest closet - you’ll feel better once this baby is done and you will find you can breeze through the remaining.

Step 2 Now set out the following on the floor:

  • 1 x large cardboard box or a garbage bag labeled charity
  • 1 x large cardboard box or a garbage bag labeled sell
  • 1 x large cardboard box or a garbage bag labeled Bin

Step 3 Go through and separate everything it the following groups;

  • Tops/blouses/T-Shirts
  • Pants/Jeans
  • Jumpers (nice)/Cardigans/pullovers
  • Coats
  • Jackets
  • Skirts/shorts
  • Dresses
  • Evening/formal dresses
  • Tracksuits/hoddies/& lounge wear
  • Gym gear

Remove your shoes, boots, jewellery, hats ect out of the way – these will be the last thing you will sort through.

Step 3 Now go through each group you just separated and sort them into the following piles.

Keep pile – These are pieces you know you are currently wearing, they are in good condition and they work with other items in your closet, they are in fashion and most importantly they fit. This pile also includes items that fit the above but requirements, but need mending such as missing buttons or broken zip.

Chuck pile – These are pieces do not fit, haven’t been worn in 9-12 months, is damaged and cannot be repaired, stretched or stained.

Donate pile – These are pieces do not fit, haven’t been worn in 9-12 months, and would not fetch a good price if sold (the effort to do so out weighs the potential sale price).

Sell pile – These are pieces do not fit, haven’t been worn in 9-12 months but in good to excellent condition and would fetch a reasonable price.

Sentimental pile – Personally for me the only item worth keeping that I haven’t worn in 9-12 months and no longer fits me would be my wedding dress. So this pile should ultimately only have one or two pieces that you just could not part with. For the kids closet you know you love the baby booties your little ones came home in so keep them, but the little sailor outfit when they were four really isn’t and would be just as much loved by someone else.

Step 4 Once you have gone through and separated your first group say your dresses, hang them on hangers and put into your cupboard or on a rack to make space and get started on the remaining groups. Try to pile neatly or re-hang into groups so you have room to sort remaining items and avoid mixing things up. 

Step 5 Now its time to sort through what you decided to keep and double check they are actually worth keeping – The best advice I can give is to create in your head or visually outfits from what you have saved. This way you can see if there are any pieces that you should not be keeping.

Step 6 Now you are at the stage where you can either sort you closet into

  • Colour
  • Groups
  • Outfits

Decide what works best for you, if you are rushed in the mornings for work you might consider putting items into outfits so they are ready to go. 

Items such as Jeans, shorts, t-shirts and jumpers/knits can be neatly folded and put away in drawers or closet shelves.

Step 7 Toss the chuck pile into the bin without a second thought. You’ll feel better for it. Neatly fold and pack up your charity pile, if you can go and drop it off that day to avoid keeping the bag and rummaging through it later.

Step 8 Follow the above steps with your shoes, boots, jewellery, bags, belts ect. If the items no longer fit, and are damaged chuck them away.

If they can be sold then put them into the sell pile. If they are not worth selling donate them otherwise neatly pack seasonal items away and if you have room display your belts, bags, shoes and jewellery neatly to accessories with your outfits.

Step 9 Start selling your remaining sell pile and any of the sell items from your house and yard clean out Check out sites like eBay and Gumtree.

It’s amazing how great you feel when the dollars roll in!

9. Become a DIY-er

Set goals for the year that you want to achieve with your home. With that extra cash your starting to save on your new budget or sell pile items you will have the opportunity to DIY around the house.

There are tones of blogs and websites offering DYI projects with full instructions and images to help you. Check out YouTube as well. 

Try for example;

  • Landscaping your front and back yards and give your garden the attention it deserves
  • Clean and seal your pool area surrounding stone, get the filters and pumps cleaned or replaced
  • Finish the driveway and side of house footpaths in cobblestones or pavers
  • Repaint the kitchen cabinets – make the decision to take down the cupboards, repaint and add modern looking hardware. While your at it add a new mosaic splash back to the kitchen
  • Finish that bathroom renovation and strip the yucky tiles and green tub out 

Check out our bathroom inspirations here

10. Decorate It

If you can’t afford to renovate, decorate it! Move things in and out of rooms, like lamps and small tables, bring pillows out of the bedroom and into the living room, swap candle holders from the dining room to the kitchen table.

Check out our Pinterest board here for visual inspiration in achieving these 10 looks.

1. Organize with Trays
This is the easiest way to create new looking accents to any room. For the living room, corral items like TV remotes on a tray with a small floral array, small trinkets and place next to a collection of photographic or lifestyle coffee tables books centered on your coffee table. Put liquor bottles, glasses, and bar accoutrements on a tray in the living or dining room. Try searching etsy for clear Lucite trays or Z Gallery

2. Pile On the Pillows
One pair of pillows always looks skimpy. Use two pairs, in contrasting patterns, colors, and textures. Check out styling blogs for easy how-to’s in styling your pillows for your sizes lounge.

3. Removable wallpaper
the fastest way to make over a room, closet or bookshelf. Use removable wallpaper which allows you to change your style when you want - its also perfect for renters and is inexpensive. Try papering the back of a cabinet or bookshelf in faux-snakeskin, crocodile, or ostrich. It will inspire you to rearrange your shelves for a chic look. Try  Removeable Wallpaper or The Wallpaper Company 

4. Overlays
Instantly update your furniture (also falls under DYI) buy using overlays. Easy to apply and colour you can transform anything from furniture to mirrors, doors and cabinets. Check out  My Overlays 

5. Re-hang Your Artworks & Mirrors
Put pieces in unusual places, like above a door or in an entryway. Lean some against a mirror. Hang several in an asymmetrical collage, at least three inches apart. For wow factor invest in an oversize mirror and lean against a wall for a contemporary look.

6. Switch Up Your Seating
Mix up the seating in your living and dining room. Add DIY creations in the dining room or add accent chair and ottoman.

7. Update your lighting
Change up your lampshades and wall lights and try a 'layered' look in cozy areas such as a reading nook or bedroom.

8 Invest in a bar cart
The new interior must have. Layer expensive liquor bottles like champagne and imported vodkas with cocktail and short glasses. Add fun accoutrements to style. These are incredibly trendy and perfect for those who love to entertain or have small apartments. Check out ebay for a vintage cart for a DIY project or Try Z Gallerie for bart cart accessories.

9. Revamp your bathroom
Purchase new bath and hand towels in a neutral colour. Invest in key styling pieces that don’t look cluttered and make your space personal especially for an ensuite. Try photos and beautiful prints in uniform frames and fresh flowers and trays. Reorganize your cabinets to maximise space and chuck anything not necessary.

9. Sign up to wholesale homewares websites
Sign up to websites such as The Home or Temple & Webster for great savings on furniture, rugs, pillows, and other home accessories and reduce prices.


Now get busy and start ticking these off today!


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