Real Estate

One Year In: What You Should Do When You Reach the First Anniversary in Your Home

published Jan 10, 2015
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(Image credit: Marisa Vitale)

You’ve done it! You’ve been in your current home for a whole entire year! Whether it’s been the first year of owning your home or you’re now finishing the first lease term, there are some things you need to decide and some things you could do to look back on the past, enjoy the present and prepare for the future!

And as you might imagine, this list isn’t just for the folks who have been in their home exactly one year. Look to your next milestone moment — six months, five years, 40 years 6 months — and use this list to both celebrate and improve your home, no matter how long you’ve called it that!

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Congratulate yourself on everything you accomplished

Take a long few moments to pat yourself on the back for the things you got done this year, however big or small. Moved in completely in less time than you thought it would take you? Go you! Managed to paint most of the rooms you wanted to paint? You are a super star! Decluttered your closet (and even kept it that way)? Whoo hoo! Now’s the time to roll around and revel in your home accomplishments and remember what an awesome go-getter you are.

Make a room-by-room list of what still needs to be done

Now to bring it back to reality and take a tour of your rooms, figuring out what still needs to be done, both in repair, renovation, purchase or DIY. This isn’t about chiding yourself for the stuff you didn’t manage to complete this first year; it’s just about orienting yourself toward your end goals by making a road map of tasks that need completing. So whether it’s still objects or furnishings you need to buy or DIY, art you need to frame, repairs that need to be made or even giant renovations, make that list.

(Image credit: Hayley Kessner)

Be honest with what you did and did not use

From the gift wrapping station you felt you HAD to have access to all year round to the set of 40 gold tea cups you bought for the tea parties you had planned to throw to whatever other functions you designated some rooms to be used for to how you organized your closet — take a real close look at how your home’s been working for you. Your initial, gut-check ideas for how to use certain rooms, cabinets and drawers in your home just might not be the best choice now that you’ve been living in and using your home for awhile. And stuff that you brought in with you from old homes or stuff you bought quickly when you first moved in may not be the optimal choice for your home, either.

Do a walk around safety and maintenance check

If you haven’t kept up super well with safety (or even if you’ve done an alright job), it’s still about time to walk around and see how everything is holding up. Smoke detector batteries should be tested. Heating and cooling systems examined (plus filters). Take a look at your appliances for damage, wear and tear. Take a peek at your refrigerator coils and see if they need vacuuming. Speaking of vacuum, how’s that thing looking? Take a look at your cleaning tools and supplies — is anything so gross and dirty it’s no longer effective and needs cleaning itself or replacing? You don’t have to do all of this at once; just get a sort of understanding how everything is doing and see what you might need to improve in this year.

(Image credit: Anik Polo)

Meditate on whether you finally started enjoying your home to its fullest

So, there’s this thing that people who really care about design and their homes sometimes do — never actually enjoy their home because they’re always working on it or trying to get it to be “perfect.” Be honest with yourself. Was that you last year? It’s okay if it was, just be aware and try this year to do a better job of not worrying so much about stuff around the house, taking time to pause and enjoy it more and (if you want to) inviting more people over to enjoy it. The first year in a home (whether you rent or buy) can be pretty hectic for a lot of different reasons, but now that that’s under your belt, you may be able to relax and enjoy it some more.

Consider whether your personal home priorities are represented in your current home

Have you sat down to spend time thinking about what it is you actually really want in a home? Thought about the things that are important to you — that are home priorities for you? If you haven’t yet, one year into a home is a good time to reacquaint yourself with what your idea of a dream home is. The more in tune you are with what a “dream” home means to you, the more you’ll be able to evaluate the current home you live in to see if it’s something that can be turned into a dream home for you, or is just a great home to live in while you save money and energy for a dream home down the line.

What would you add to this list of things to do after living in a home for a year? Share your thoughts in the comments below!

Re-edited from a post originally published 1.10.2015 – TW