Clever DIY for 2015

For many people, the New Year is a time for self-improvement. But it can also be a time for home improvement. Don’t wait around for spring cleaning to get your house in order.   Kick off the new year with a few DIY projects that will give your home a fresh start.

Getting Organized

With the presents all unwrapped, the decorations headed back into their boxes and the holidays behind us, it’s time to clean up and get organized. If you want a fresh start for the new year, the best strategy is to focus on increasing storage space.

In the kitchen, cupboard and prep surfaces are often in short supply. To give you a little more of both, consider adding a moveable kitchen island, which you can push out of the way when not in use.  If you don’t have the room for a kitchen island, you can add a hanging pot rack to free up some some cupboard and counter space.

In the living room, adding a TV wall mount can free up a little space. A storage ottoman does double-duty as a footrest and a place to put your unused blankets, pillows, or winter clothing in the offseason. Floating shelves are another great storage alternative. They give you extra storage space without taking up valuable real estate on the floor and leave your home feeling more open and less cramped.

Give Your Furniture an Upgrade

Ikea furniture is beloved by many for its affordable furniture and minimalist designs. But sometimes Ikea’s furniture can feel a little too cheap and stripped down. The site is a resource where fans of the furniture maker provide step-by-step guides on how to upgrade the company’s budget wares. The Rast dresser is one particular favorite among Ikea’s DIY fans. With a bit of stain and some new hardware, you can transform this $35 pine dresser into an incredibly sleek and stylish piece of furniture. Or how about giving this Ikea book case a touch of mid-century chic with little more than a few pieces of plywood and some legs. If your looking for a weekend project, check out the site and see how you can transform your furniture.

Making Small Fixes

Rather than tackle a major project, use the new year to take care of a list of little fixes around the home. Winter brings some of the highest utility bills of the year, so the best place to start is with some energy-saving fixes. Start by replacing your furnace filter, adding a layer of window insulation to keep out drafts and turning down your water heater to 120 degrees Fahrenheit.

Sometimes we put off repairs because of laziness, but sometimes we put them off because we lack the right tools. Sugru is a magical material that makes many DIY fixes a snap. Out of the package, it is a soft putty. But left to dry overnight, it cures and transforms into a flexible rubber. You can fix the insulation on a frayed laptop cable, mount cables so they stay out of the way, insulate a pot lid, or repair a crack in just about anything.

You can also tackle some other common problems around the home. If you’ve got squeaky hinges and sticky locks, spray on a little WD-40 to add some much-needed lubricant. Dirty showers are another common problem around the home. If you’ve got grout or caulking that has been blackened by stubborn mold, mix a little bleach and baking soda into a thick slurry. Apply the paste to the problem areas and let it sit for a few hours (to keep the paste from drying out, cover it with plastic wrap). After some time sitting beneath this germ killing paste, the mold will come off with a little gentle scrubbing.