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  • Lacie Martin

3 Ways You Can Refresh Your Home as the Pandemic Drags On

If you're like many Americans who thought the pandemic would see its end soon, you may feel a tinge of disappointment as we move into yet another season with masks, vaccines, and the latest social distancing guidelines according to the CDC on our minds. Many people are working remotely, and others are choosing not to socialize as much for fear of contracting a new COVID variant. If you and your family are spending a lot of time at home these days, consider the following three ideas for refreshing and reviving your interior space.

1. Get Rid of Clutter

Clutter can build up unnoticed until it becomes a problem, and these mountains of school papers, mail, and catalogs can put even the most laid-back homeowner in a bad mood. Take a day to purge the entire home from clutter, or create a schedule in which you go room by room with your family and decide what to throw and what to keep.

Often, the solution will be as simple as clearing the kitchen counter, making space for incoming and outgoing mail, and finding a dedicated place for the kids to put their school forms for you to sign. You can use a label maker like this one to help you organize. Attractive labels will make it easy to recognize and remember where things need to go.

In your home office or workspace, consider shredding old papers, throwing away old files, and digitizing paper records by creating PDFs of important documents. A PDF merging tool is useful for combining files that go together and arranging them to help you find documents more quickly.

2. Clean Your Fireplace Before Winter

If you're not well-versed in the world of fireplace maintenance, you may be surprised to know that chimney sweeps exist in the real world—but without the harsh conditions of the profession as it is historically depicted. This service, when performed correctly, removes the soot and debris from your chimney and removes blockages from the structure to keep it safe for winter use. It may cost from $100-$300 when you hire a qualified professional.

3. Renovate an Attic or Basement

Perhaps your kids are getting restless without a playroom, or maybe you want to finally spend the money to paint and carpet your home office now that your temporary work-from-home job has become permanently remote. You might want to create a bonus living space for your family, such as a game room, or perhaps to function as an additional living room for your teenagers.

Building out a room is not necessarily DIY-friendly, but if you have experience in this area, it may be a fun family project. If not, you can hire a contractor or several professionals such as an electrician, a plumber, a drywall contractor, and someone to handle the insulation of the room (if this is an issue).

To finance your project, you may have to dip into savings or refinance your home at a lower interest rate to make room in your budget for the renovation. You can consider loans as well. One option is to refinance your mortgage in order to pull out some equity to use for home improvements. Whether this is a good idea or not depends on many factors, including interest rates, so be sure to examine cash out refinance rates before making a decision. Keep in mind that the US Federal Reserve has recently raised interest rates, so they are subject to change.

Refreshing your home during the pandemic may not seem like a practical choice, but it often can be when you consider that many homes are not built to host work-from-home jobs, play, and family life every day. Weigh the monetary costs before making any big commitments and decide with your family if the changes are worth the investment.

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Lacie Martin


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