Do you remember the thrill you had when you walked through your home when house-hunting? When you were handed the keys after signing the contract? When you walked through the door for the first time and thought to yourself, “This is mine!”
Do you still feel that way? Or is the carpet showing wear? Have the kitchen cabinets lost their luster? Do the creaks in the floorboards grate on your nerves?
We spend most of our non-working hours in our homes, just as we spend most of our non-working hours with our loved ones. So it stands to reason that like with people, we have a connection with our home. And like personal relationships, sometimes they go sour.
So what do you do to remedy the situation? Moving is an option, although a very expensive one, and not necessarily convenient. There are other, less expensive options, however. Let’s explore some of them:
1. Sort it out! Take a good look at every room in your house. Is there clutter everywhere? Are there appliances on the kitchen counters? Piles of magazines and mail on the dining room table? Random bottles of toiletries in the bathroom? Clothes spilling out of closets and dresser drawers? It’s time to de-clutter! Your needs have changed over the years; so has your lifestyle. Get rid of what you don’t need or use anymore. De-cluttering your home will de-stress your life.
2. Clean it up! And we’re not just talking dusting the surfaces here. Give your house a good scrubbing from top to bottom, inside and out. That means moving the furniture, pushing back the curtains to get to the windows, and taking a rag to the slats on your mini-blinds. Wipe the fingerprints off the switch-plates, too! You’ll be amazed at how different your home looks once the smudges are gone.
3. Move it Around! Now that the house is clean and clutter-free, look at the furniture. If you can’t afford to purchase a new sofa or arm chair, re-arrange what you have. The fresh layout will give the feel of new furniture without the expense.
4. Fix it up! The sliding door on your shower is always falling off the track. There’s a cracked tile in the middle of your kitchen floor. The dimmer switch in the dining room doesn’t dim anymore. None of these are significant, but added up with every other little thing, they all nag at the back of your mind whenever you notice them. And it sullies your relationship with your home. Fixing these little things can make a big difference in your attitude.
5. Add it on! If you still feel you don’t have enough space in your house after de-cluttering and rearranging your furniture, consider adding on to your house. This, of course, is an expensive option, so one to be thought about carefully. Re-evaluate how you use all the rooms in your home. Is there anything you can do differently to add more useful space? Would adding on increase the value of your home when you sell it? Do you have enough money in your savings, or would you need to take out a home equity loan? Can you afford another loan payment? Talking with a mortgage originator can help you make this decision.
6. Look it over! Step back from your home and try to view it objectively. If your house was on the market, what would visitors think about the rooms? Would they see dated wallpaper and art work where you see your first effort at decorating? What features do friends and family like or dislike about your home? Can you find new appreciation for the good, or easily fix the bad? Have a close friend over to help with the assessment.
7. Put it down! On paper, that is. Write down your monthly expenses and compare it to your income. Has the home become too expensive for you to maintain? Is that the underlying cause of your stress, perhaps? If you don’t want to move, look at your budget. Where can you cut back? Are there any energy improvements you can make, like using CFL bulbs, to lower your utility bills? Don’t let your home become a financial burden.
8. Think about it! Sometimes it’s all about attitude. After all, you fell in love with the house years ago. The house is still the same. There are features you loved about the house when you bought it. Perhaps it was the view from the kitchen, or the tree-lined streets in the neighborhood. Think back to all the good you saw. This includes the people living in the home. Your family makes your home, too, not just the four walls and roof over your heads. Appreciating the people and furry friends living with you can change your attitude about your home.
What feature do you love best about your home? What would be the first thing you would change?