Darren Palmer's Tips to Re-Energise Your Home for 2016
Clutter, maintenance and presentation
Clear the Clutter
We all start the year with the best of intensions, to eat healthy, to use that dormant gym membership and to be the best, shiniest versions of ourselves. Rather than doing a full 180º change and thinking you will easily adjust there are a few little things that you can change, adapt or improve so that at least your home starts the year at its best.
This is the obvious one - You’ve taken down your Christmas lights and thrown away all of the packaging that surrounded your presents but why stop there. Open up your cupboards, look under your beds, peak into the storage places and sort through your garages. Pull everything out that you’ve stored safely for later use and then have a good hard look at those priceless possessions that are too good to throw away.
There are sentimental things, things that you should really find some better way of honouring than shoving into a cupboard. Separate those things and decide where to put them so you can see them or relate to them to actually remind you of whatever it is they remind you of in the first place.
Think “reduce, reuse, recycle” with the rest of your stuff. Reduce the amount of things you are keeping by being brutal. If you didn’t remember you had it or know you haven’t touched it for over a year then it needs to go. I say in over a year as there are seasonal things that get used once a year that you need to keep, but if the object doesn’t get used year on year, whether its clothes, appliances, containers, boxes, bags or whatever the belonging find a way to shed it. Some things go to recycling, some to rubbish, some to charity, but find a way to cleanse yourself of the bits and bobs that fill your home.
Look at your walls - Do you have screws or hooks hanging out of them that don’t have artwork or pictures on them? If so either find something to hang on them or remove, patch, sand and touch up the paint over them. Same goes for bangs and bumps from the the wear and tear of 2015. I’d recommend Selleys Spakfilla Rapid, it comes with an applicator and dries quickly, if only it was as easy to smooth out the life bumps and bangs left over from 2015.
Have a walk around your home with a screw driver and an allen key or two and just eye ball things like your bathroom accessories or wall mounted shelves - if it’s loose, tighten it up. If it needs replacing, get onto it, these things are usually really quick to fix if found early, the longer you leave them the worst they become. The same is true for everything you’ll experience in 2016 so get into the habit of noticing everything that needs a little tweak and tweak it sooner rather later.
Give your walls and ceilings a spot clean where necessary. Get some spray and wipe or a bucket of warm water and sugar soap and clean those small or medium sized marks and scuffs off of walls or ceilings. Often just a wipe of those black marks left from shoes or squashed bugs or whatever else lingers on will freshen up the look of your paintwork.
If you have some really trouble painted areas though that just don’t liven up consider giving it a new coat of paint. A wash with sugar soap of the wall and one coat is often enough to simply refresh the look of the room, it takes little prep and there’s no dust from sanding. Of course if you’re painting a room properly you need to sand, undercoat and do 2 top coats, but a simple refresh is far more straight forward – though the quality of the surface you’re painting will always dictate how long the paint adheres before pealing or flaking.
Look at the grout in your kitchen and bathroom tiles. This is also another really quick upgrade if you have cracks, gaps or greying, you can simply grout over the top or spot grout any problem areas to extend the use and look of these areas.
Shower heads that don’t deliver on the promise of a nice blast of relaxing warm water need to go. Say goodbye to spluttering, random changes of direction and generally underperformance by simply replacing the shower head. You can find replacements at Bunnings for $30-$150 that you can simply screw on in place of your old fittings. They come with thread tape and often need nothing more than a wrench to tighten up. Say hello to a better showering experience in 2016.
Look around your home with a critical eye and see if your soft furnishings have managed to make it through 2015 unscathed. If there’s mild use on cushion covers, pull them off and clean them as per the cleaning instructions on the label, generally just a good wash in the machine will bring them back to life.
Does your couch or upholstered furniture look a little sad? You can spot clean them with spray upholstery cleaners available at the supermarket or hardware store or for the pieces that were really well used throughout the year get a professional steam or drycleaner in to give them a through going over. The fabric is often just fine under all of that everyday dirt and grime and your home will look and smell better for the attention.
Look at your book shelves. Are they well ordered with a nice balance of books and decorative items? If not sort them out, stack big books, organise novels into sizes and colours if you’re so inclined, place your favourite decorative pieces throughout and bring your book shelves to life.
Is your coffee table awash with toys and remote controls, magazines and whatever else the daily use of your home throws on it? Sort that out. Start with a clean top by putting everything away in its place and then consider your coffee table as a central decorative place, put an orchid, succulent or bunch of flowers in the centre or off to one side. Place your favourite coffee table books on it, either in a stack or laid out one next to the other. Put a decorative piece and a candle on there and play with it until you’re happy with the composition. Trays are fantastic to create some order on a coffee table and they make great places for all of the above as well as giving you a place to put your remote controls to boot.
By simply walking around your house, looking for small things that take small amounts of effort to fix, you can really have a fresh start to 2016. Now where did I put my gym membership and kale…