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My New Year’s resolutions are all about home: my house, my family, our beautiful state, our environment. If you’ve got room on your list of resolutions, consider a focus on your house, home, castle or cabin.

Home always needs attention. Make this the year you take care of it as well as it takes care of you. Here are the eight resolutions on my list: Invest in my home. During tight economic times, we tend to limit our spending to things of value. When a new car or vacation or big TV catches your eye, consider passing it over in favor of a longer-term investment. Tip: When you choose among potential home-improvement projects, look at which renovations add the most value to your home. If you’re planning to sell your home when the housing market perks up, your best bet probably is a new kitchen.

  1. Hire the best. When I need help around my house, I hire licensed, bonded insured contractors—100 percent of the time. It’s tempting to throw a job to a guy who’s out of work and offers a big discount to win your business. But I can’t tell you how often those arrangements wind up as complaints on the desk of the Registrar of Contractors. Ask friends to recommend contractors they like, and rely on contractors who have been vetted and approved by the Rosie on the House Referral Network.
  2. “Xeriscape” my yard. If you’re still taking care of a thirsty green lawn, it’s time to pull that water-hogging foliage out by the roots and replace it with low-water, no-water plants that are comfortable in our hot, dry climate. Not only will it save water, but it will change your weekends. No more fertilizing, mowing and maintenance means you can spend your weekends water skiing, fishing and touring our beautiful state. 
  3. Wander Arizona. Get out of the city on a regular basis. Hop into a high-clearance, four-wheel drive vehicle, let somebody know where you’re going and start exploring. Some of my favorites: Box Canyon, east of Florence; Cherry Creek, east of Lake Roosevelt; Harshaw Loop; and the Patagonia Mountains.
  4. Resolve to repair. It’s so easy to let a drip keep dripping or a crack crawl across a floor or wall until it’s a bigger problem than it ever had to be. Tip: Fix what’s broken as soon as it comes to your attention. No time to work on the house? Hire help. Spending a few dollars on simple repairs will save you a bundle on prematurely replacing household devices that died from neglect.
  5. Install gutters. Yes, I know it hardly ever rains around here. But when it does, that water pours off of your roof and right into the ground around the house. Too much water around the perimeter of your house can damage your foundation because Arizona soils are either clay-based—so they expand, which can heave your foundation—or sandy, which collapse easily can cause the foundation to settle and crack.
  6. Finish what I didn’t finish last year. Or maybe even the year before. This is a perpetual resolution for me. You, too? Tip: Re-start an unfinished project, and work on it a little at a time until it’s completed.  Choose the project that nags at you the worst, and resolve not to start anything else until that one is done.


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