Home Improvement Projects: Prioritizing the To Do List

When the weather starts getting nicer, I start to plan home improvement projects we can tackle over the summer. As soon as the patio furniture hits the aisles of Target, I hit the pages of Pinterest. However, “do it yourself” projects are just not within our reality at this time. My husband and I can hardly unpack the groceries without some sort of incident between our two toddlers. (Side note: I’ve come to the conclusion that Chip and Joanna have an army of childcare providers that rivals the force of the Dothraki soldiers.)

So, to avoid mishap and to budget accordingly, we’ve decided to research and pick one home improvement project to schedule and hire out out each year. Prioritizing projects will certainly be an exercise that provides different results for different situations. Our family happens to live in a newly built home, so our projects have less to do with updating/remodeling and more to do with adding features.

Here’s the list of criteria we used to determine which project we would put as our first priority:

  • Will the project add value to our home?

Whenever you’re spending money to change something in your home, it’s always important to consider if it’s a good investment, especially if you’re planning on selling in the future. You should also pay consideration to the difference between the cost of an item and the estimated value that it provides to your property.

  • Is the project appropriate for the size and location of our home?

If you don’t have a big backyard, is it a good idea to put in a giant basketball hoop? Probably not, even if you’re raising the next Michael Jordan. The project should align with the scale of the home and the finishes currently selected, unless you’re adding space or delivering a complete remodel.

  • Will the project encourage us to enjoy spending more time at home?

Did you know that the average American person spends about 65% of his/her lifetime at home? If this is the case, you might as well prioritize spending money on projects that reflect your hobbies and interests. Enjoy watching baseball? Install an outdoor TV off your patio.

  • Will the project allow our family to improve the health of our home and environment?

Two years ago we decided to install solar panels on our roof. Although our shift to “green energy” is a drop in the bucket, our main goal is to set an example for our children and perhaps inspire others to “go green” as well.  In previous years we installed a water filtration system to reduce the amount of heavy metals. Theoretically, if we can increase the amount of time we spend on this earth, the project is worthwhile.

This year we decided that our family project is expanding our exterior landscaping, including a raised garden bed to start growing some of our own food. Although I have zero understanding of gardening, I’m excited to embark on this journey with my family. Stay tuned for more information about our venture into family gardening, and be certain to share your family summer project.


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After living in the heart of Chicago, Ashley Bermel and her husband decided to call Iowa home. Ashley lives in North Liberty with her husband and two daughters, Wynifred (3.5 years old) and Evie (2 years old). After graduating Miami University (Ohio) with a degree in the History of Architecture, Ashley discovered her true love of real estate and design. Although Ashley has practiced real estate in two other states, she can't imagine living anywhere but the Corridor. When not working, you can find Ashley scouring the shelves of Homegoods, eating anything insanely spicy and trying to figure out how to feed a family when you're a terrible cook.