Home Improvements: House Efficiency

Many times when we look at a house, we forget to look at the details. For years I have walked through new homes and been awe struck by the beautiful surroundings. I thought it would be great to live in a very large house with a beautiful large yard. While that would be a nice thing to do, I have learned that large is not always the best. So, what is the best?

The best home you can have is the home that works for you. How can a home work for you? Here are some things that you may look for in any place that you live.

Consider privacy. Every person in your family needs a place of quiet and a restful place to rejuvenate. This could be a bedroom or an area like a den or family room where a person can go to have some peace and quiet. If you have children, the children need to have a place they can go where they can settle down, get quiet, and become re-centered. Many times couples make a huge mistake to invest in a large house but never set aside a place that gives them complete privacy from their partner. This room or place should just be for relaxing, rejuvenating, creativity. This place should offer a way for an individual to not have to worry about someone else telling them what to do or how to be. How can this be accomplished?
  • For retired people and any couple, maybe consider renting a small office for the husband or wife that they can easily access for a small amount of money. If the person is a thinking person, this can be a place with a computer, television, bookcase, desk, little refrigerator, bathroom, microwave, and maybe an easy chair or a couch. This could be a small office space in an office building, a room in the garage, or a module unit set up in the back yard. Someplace unattached from the house. If the person loves crafts, then the room should accommodate the craft or interest of that individual.
  • For children, it could be a separate bedroom or if a bedroom is shared, give one or more of the children a little spot somewhere that they can go to when they are very stressed to be able to get quiet and centered again. Be inventive, kids don't need a hug space, maybe a corner of a room with a room divider and a bean bag chair. Include things like a fluffy blanket, a few good books, and maybe some nice quiet music for them. This space could be a quiet place in the house other than the bedroom.
Consider convenience. Look at how you spend time in your home. If you are spending all your time in your home just keeping it up, that home owns you and you do not own it. Make your house work for you by cutting out extra jobs that you do in your home. Here are some suggestions.
  • Do you have your kitchen and laundry in one area. That will save a lot of time and effort. While you are waiting for that water to boil, you can also have a load of laundry washing. You will be more aware of getting your clothes from the dryer before they wrinkle and supper can still be attended to or the kitchen cleaned at the same time. Two jobs can be done at once. Don't assume your home is too small to accomplish this. We built a small closet into our garage off of the kitchen to accommodate a stackable full-size washer and dryer. We were careful to measure the garage and washer and dryer first and found that we could still park our large cars in the garage very easily.
  • If you are constantly vacuuming, consider getting rid of the carpets and putting in hard flooring with area rugs. The hard flooring is easier to clean or dust and vacuuming is cut down to a minimum. At the very least, take your shoes off when you enter the house. While wood rugs are beautiful, be aware that they pill and need to be vacuumed more often.
  • Cut down on dusting. Get rid of all those things that have to be dusted or put them in a cupboard with a glass door. You can look at them but they won't get as dusty as fast. In the mean time, use a duster and take a quick glide over all that needs to be dusted. It should never take more than ten minutes to dust items in a room. If it takes longer than that, you're spending too much time on possessions.
  • Consider storage. I love places like Ikea for ideas for storage. A home improvement store also carries good ideas. Pick storage cabinets, cubicles, or bookcases with doors on them. This keeps the dust off and if you do not want people getting into these things, you can lock them up. It also makes the room look less cluttered and larger when there are doors on the storage cabinets. When things are put away, it takes less time to find lost items and the house looks much cleaner.
  • Consider stocking certain items in your home. I like to buy toilet paper and paper towels in a larger more economical quantity either when it is on sale or when I can get it for a better price from a warehouse market like Sam's Club or Costco. My rule is that I do not want to drag these items home especially in the winter months or on holidays. I have enough to do to have a holiday than think about, "Did I remember toilet paper or paper towels or for that matter laundry soap?" I like to restock these items so that there is always a little surplus on hand. Another item to stock is light bulbs. You know you are going to need them eventually and buying them on sale is a great way to save money and not have to live in the dark.
  • Try to store items in the area where you will be using them. Store a few rolls of toilet paper in the bathroom near the toilet. You can check the supply easily and always keep it stocked.
These are just a few ideas to save some time around the house. Remember that the idea is to enjoy your house, not become it's slave.

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