Tackling small projects throughout the winter season allows you to maintain your home and prepare for the spring—when you’ll have a whole new to-do list to tackle. These seemingly simple projects can also add value to your home, boosting security, overall aesthetic and more.
This is especially true if you plan to put your home on the market soon. In which case, every little detail counts, so before starting, calculate the value of your home with a home value estimator like this one.
At the end of the winter, when your updates are done, use this home improvement value calculator to see how much value you’ve added. You’ll feel more accomplished when you know you can price your home higher after being productive all winter.
If you’re ready to get started, check out our list of updates. Do the math, buy the supplies and get moving—before you know it, it’ll be time to restain the deck and clean out the gutters.
1) Create a flex room
Space is a valuable commodity, so if you have an office or den, consider how you can use it to create even more space in the home. You don’t have to knock down any walls, rather, make the area usable for a wide variety of activities. For example, you may add a built-in workbench that can be folded up into the wall, and pulled down for colouring or crafting.
This simple change allows you to promote the space as a “flex room,” which Consumer Reports describes: “Also known as double-duty rooms, you’ll see flex rooms advertised as an additional living area that can serve a variety of purposes, from a guest bedroom to a game room to an exercise room to a study room for the kids.”
2) Update your locks
This simple project is hugely valuable for the security of your family and your home. A shocking number of burglars report entering through the front door—34% to be exact. Here are two pro suggestions to consider:
Mortise Lock: “A serious-looking or heavy-duty lock, like a mortise lock, which has a standard lock and a deadbolt, may prevent a criminal from even trying to enter your home and can withstand most forceful entry attempts. Only about one in eight burglars reported picking locks or using a key that they had previously acquired to gain entry, so simply having an intimidating lock can keep some potential burglars from trying to enter your home,” according to experts at Phoenix Lockmaster.
Smart Locks: “With a smart door lock, you need never fumble in your pocket for a key again, nor will you have to resort to hiding a spare in a fake plastic rock. Instead, these Wifi and/or Bluetooth-enabled devices can, thanks to your smartphone, automatically detect when you arrive home and unlock the door as soon as you’re standing outside. What’s more, you can also program them to allow access to selected guests such as family members, friends, and real estate agents,” explains experts at Upnest.
Note that you can take the smart lock with you when you move, or keep it with the home as a way of boosting the asking price.
3) Modernize your kitchen
Don’t renovate the kitchen, which could cost tens of thousands of dollars, if you can avoid it. Instead, give it a facelift with a few simple updates that can be done in one weekend. As the place in your home where people spend the most time, this will be well worth the work if you plan to sell.
Here are a few items to add to your kitchen update to-do list:
Re-paint the walls and cabinets
Update the lighting
Replace handles and other fixtures to add that new-kitchen shine
Hire a professional to clean the floors or rent a powerful floor cleaner
4) Increase storage space
If your home lacks sufficient storage, change that this winter. There are many ways to add more storage space to your home, from upgrading closets to adding shelving in the mudroom. Here are a few ideas to consider:
Re-design your closets: Use a service like Closet Maid’s easy design tool to recreate your closet’s storage space. You specify the room, type of closet, dimensions and preferred materials to get a number of options that fit your needs.
Add shelves to tall cupboards: This is especially helpful in the bathroom, kitchen and linen closets, allowing you to break up the space and use it more effectively.
Install storage in the laundry or mudroom: These areas of the home tend to act as catch-alls for everything from cleaning products to off-season shoes and outdoor gear. Install wall shelving to add storage space.
5) Install crown molding
This simple project gives your home more character and style, while being simple and affordable to do on your own. Find your molding at a home improvement store, have them cut it for you, and simply paint as needed and apply with a nail gun. If you’ve never done this before, follow HGTV’s tutorial to make sure you get it right the first time.
Small updates, big value
You don’t have to renovate every room to add value to your home. Instead, tackle small updates throughout the winter to stay busy and keep your home up-to-date. These projects are especially valuable if you plan to buy a new home soon and list yours—the more you can get done now, the sooner you can put it on the market.
Jessica Thiefels has been writing for more than ten years and is currently a full-time blogger. She is also an ACE Certified Personal Trainer, NASM Certified Fitness Nutrition specialist, and the owner of Honest Body Fitness. Follow her on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram for health articles, new workouts and more.