Sunderland Echo

6 domestic New Year’s resolution­s to help your home

Bring in the new broom… then actually do some sweeping, by Luke Rix-Standing

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1. Clear out the kitchen cupboards

If there’s one area of the home that delivers interestin­g discoverie­s, it’s the dark recesses of your kitchen cupboards. Long-forgotten tin cans, out-of-date packages with hazardous contents, dusty bottles of unlabelled spirit – every kitchen contains at least one item from the old millennium, and weeding them out is a simple way to give 2021 a fresh start. Taking up valuable storage space at best, spawning new life forms at worst, purging old items is a strangely satisfying process.

2. Get DIY-savvy

We’re still spending so much time in our own four walls that we might as well start improving them, and competent DIY is one of those skills you’ll keep for life. The learning curve is steep but climbable, and YouTube tutorials mean that even intermedia­te tasks are within novice reach. Bleeding radiators, putting up shelves, and filling cracks in the masonry are all simple starters for the enthusiast­ic beginner, and before you know it, you’ll be building your own garden shed.

3. Establish a proper home office

It’s probably long overdue, but it is far better late than never. A proper desk, a chair that won’t turn your spine into a boomerang, a filing system that keeps the paper piles at bay, a well-stocked stationary cupboard, ample charging ports, and most of all, a designated space away from your bed. Homeworkin­g in some form is here to stay – through Covid and beyond – and a proper office space will quickly repay itself in answered emails and worklife balance.

4. Declutter

It’s quite remarkable how much ‘stuff ’ the average human can accumulate in a short space of time.

From unopened mail to the margarita maker you used once in 2015, and whatever horrors lurk down the back of the sofa, it’s always the season for a spring clean. The Marie Kondo method is tried and tested, but the simpler ‘will I ever use this again?’ may well suffice. Homes are just more usable when they’re less crammed, and in this era of home-working, usability is at a premium.

5. Cut your energy use

One to work on through the year, this win-win resolution can cut both your carbon footprint and your utility bills. There are any number of ways to slash your energy usage, from turning lights off when you leave the room to using energy-efficient light bulbs and installing a smart thermostat. Power off appliances rather than letting them stew on standby, and fix dripping taps to save a surprising quantity of water. Save the planet and your wallet, a few small steps at a time.

6. Deal with bills immediatel­y

There aren’t many things as tempting to put off as paying bills and dealing with fiddly contracts, but there’s very rarely a good reason to put off something only likely to get pricier as time passes. If you’ve been meaning to switch supplier: just do it. There will never be a ‘right time’, and the longer you put it off, the more likely it is that you will continue to do so. Otherwise, the best part of this resolution is that you probably don’t have to do anything right now. How’s that for not procrastin­ating?

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 ??  ?? Assessing her home’s green credential­s.
Assessing her home’s green credential­s.

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