As a new homeowner, you've got lots to do. Besides moving in, fixing up and making the place your own, you still have a life to lead and work to do. We understand you're busy and want to help. Whether you have an hour or all weekend, you can start (and finish) at least one of these easy home improvement projects without hiring a contractor and taking out renovation loans:
Set Up a Home Recycling Center
Recycling at home can be as easy as organizing recyclable materials in their own containers. Set up bins to collect plastic, glass, steel cans, aluminum and paper/cardboard. Place labels on buckets, boxes or crates. These make excellent containers and are easy to carry when they get full.
Build a Compost Bin
Using a compost bin gets rid of kitchen waste and turns it into a usable fertilizer that is beneficial for gardens, flower beds and house plants. A recycled washing machine tub makes an excellent composter. With the hole at the top just the right size for stirring, the holes along the sides are good for airflow.
Upgrade to Save
Making your home more energy efficient doesn't have to be time consuming or expensive. If your current appliances aren't due for replacement, make the switch with something more simple. Swap out old blinds for energy-efficient roman shadesor change light bulbs to CFLs. Compact fluorescent lamps use 75 percent less energy than incandescent bulbs, according to EnergyStar.com.
Make General Home Repairs
Fixing leaky faucets, broken fixtures or squeaky doors is part of owning a home. Unscrew the faucet ring and place teflon tape on the threads. This will allow for a tighter seal and prevent leaks and drips. Oiling a squeaky door hinge or tightening a faucet valve are small things that can be repaired without the aid of a hired hand. WD-40 has become known as a jack-of-all-trades when it comes to home fix ups. It can remove crayon marks from walls and eliminate squeaks and noises from almost any type of fixture or hinge.
Clean Ducts and Vents
Cleaning your home's ductwork and making sure all vents are free of dust and debris can greatly improve the indoor air quality of your new home. The heating and cooling systems both use the ductwork to force air throughout the home. This can stir up dust that accumulates in the duct work. A shop vac or heavy duty vacuum can be used to suction dust and debris out of vents. Use a long hose attachment to reach deep into the duct work itself.
The right type of landscaping can increase the value of a home. A yard that is properly cared for makes a home stand out within a neighborhood. Trimming weeds and mowing the grass can also help prevent rodents from entering the home. Plant specific flowers to attract butterflies and other types of insects that are beneficial to the environment. Flower carpets are located in most stores' garden centers. Cut them to size and lay them in pre-determined areas.
Clean and Maintain Gutters
Prevent water from standing around the home's foundation or leaking into the basement and crawl space by cleaning and maintaining gutters. A Gutter Cleaner Wand, available at SmartHome.com for about $17, attaches to any standard garden hose and blasts away debris. Using a heavy-duty hose attachment, this wand reaches high above your head to get those hard-to-reach spots along your roof. By keeping those areas dry, you can prevent black mold from getting out of hand.