5 Little Changes to Improve Your Morning

by Jon Nunan

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1. Buy a Programmable Coffee Maker
The new day doesn't really start until we have that first cup. Unfortunately, there are many who spend their first waking moments going through the motions in a haze until they can drive to the coffee shop. Programmable coffee makers start at about $25; for those who already have one, the convenience of having fresh-brewed coffee waiting for you when you get up is a steal at triple the price. For those who depend on someone else to make their morning coffee, it should also be noted that replacing a daily purchased cup of coffee with one you brew at home can easily pay for your new pot in a month.

2. Upgrade Your Shower
Most people start their day with a good shower, but too many of us have to deal with problems like low water pressure, too little hot water, or a long wait for the water to warm up. There are several ways to make your shower more pleasurable, and some are pretty inexpensive! Installing a new shower head can give you better control over your water pressure and reduce water waste, and in many cases, the price tag is less than $30.

For problems with water temperature, consider replacing your existing water heater with a tank-less (also called instantaneous or demand) model. These units use less energy, but often do a better job of meeting your hot water needs. According to the U.S. Department of Energyıs Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE) Consumer's Guide, "For homes that use 41 gallons or less of hot water daily, demand water heaters can be 24% to 34% more energy efficient than conventional storage tank water heaters. You can achieve even greater energy savings of 27% to 50% if you install a demand water heater at each hot water outlet." Plus, no waiting for hot.

3. Make Your Flooring More Comfortable
Especially for folks in colder areas of the country, comfortable flooring can go a long way to improving your mornings. While installing carpet or throwing down a rug is the obvious choice in bedrooms and hallways, moisture rich bathrooms are far from good candidates for soft flooring. In these areas, radiant flooring can keep you warm and toasty while you brush your teeth, comb your hair, and do all of the other things necessary to look good for the day ahead. Additionally, the EERE Consumer's Guide tells us that, "[radiant heating] is more efficient than baseboard heating and usually more efficient than forced-air heating." The lack of moving air can also be advantageous to people with severe allergies.ı

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4. Organize Your Wardrobe
In some cases, getting up isn't near the chore of getting dressed. If finding the right outfit for the coming day is a constant pain, it's very likely that better organization is the solution. With better closet organization and more storage options, there's no reason why you can't have exactly the clothes you want at your fingertips (and without having to navigate around all the stuff you won't need till next summer). Using off-site storage is certainly an option for stowing away seasonal clothing and other items, but with the right equipment and some careful planning, many homeowners should be able to find all the storage they need right in their homes by utilizing space that has been poorly organized. Saving a few minutes here, means you get to sleep in that much longer.

5. Get a Remote Car Starter
Homeowners in colder parts of the country know that half the battle of being comfortable on a winter work day occurs outside of the house. While a new carport or attached garage might be the most effective way to reduce morning vehicle hassles, a car that's been warming up while you've been enjoying your breakfast can be pretty inviting. Far less expensive than building a garage ($53,897 on average, according to Remodeling Magazine), remote car starters can readily be found for under $200 with plenty of models for under $100!

Jon Nunan is a freelance writer who draws on his experience in construction, ranging from landscaping to log home building, for his articles on home improvement.