There is no better time for new beginnings and fresh starts than the new year! 2018 is here, and it’s the perfect opportunity to start planning for the entire year.

From finding more storage to helpful organization apps, we’ve come up with some reminders and tips for keeping your home happy in 2018.

Start with Decluttering

First thing’s first. Before you can organize and store your home essentials, get rid of all the unnecessary things taking up space.

Scan rooms for things like old magazines and mail, or toys and clothes that haven’t been used in a while. Look around and consider, “Is this something I can live without?”

If the answer is yes, go ahead and put it in the recycling bin or donate to your local Goodwill or shelter. You can search for recycling locations near you in Recycle Nation’s database.

Start keeping a waste basket in every room, so the chance of garbage build-up around the house will be smaller!

Strategic Storage

Once you’ve decluttered, you’ll want to make sure that anything you choose to keep has a designated place in your home or goes into storage.

Invest in storage containers if you don’t already have some. Clear containers make it easy to identify what’s inside so you don’t have to unstack and open them to find what you’re looking for.

Find More Storage Space

Turn any unused space into more storage room for your family. You just have to know where to look.

  • If you’re not already using the space under your staircase, you can use it as a small closet to keep coats, boots, and bags out of the way.
  • Separate your clothes by season and keep only current seasonal clothes in your closet. It will make getting ready in the morning a lot more practical, and will keep your off-season clothes clean.
  • Slide storage containers under beds, a perfect place for any of those off-season clothes.
  • Build window seats with drawers for the kids’ rooms to store their toys and books.
  • Shelves are great for organization, but sometimes their horizontal storage space is limited. Use drawers and baskets to create more space and to keep shelves looking tidy.
  • Vacuum-sealing clothes in plastic bags keeps them smelling fresh and prevents mildew. It also keeps bed bugs and other pests away
  • Place a little basket for keys and other small items that are easy to lose right at your home’s entrance. Put slightly bigger baskets or containers for shoes by the door.

When you’re looking for something in boxes and storage containers, labels can make the difference between looking for 5 minutes or 45. To save time and keep everything organized—label, label, label!

Create a Calendar for Household Chores

Place a visible calendar in the kitchen or another room where your family can see it. Use it to keep track of what tasks and chores need to be done around the house, who’s responsible for them, and when they need to get done.

Think about what needs to be done before the arrival of each season and get any tools you’ll need ahead of time:

  • You can prepare for spring cleaning by cleaning the gutters and drains.
  • Update your home’s insulation and paint your deck for summer.
  • Go ahead and locate your rake and tools for fall… if you plan ahead, you won’t fall behind.

Maintain Your Appliances

Make sure you keep up maintenance on your home appliances. You’ll want to check the manufacturer’s website or manual to make sure appliances are properly maintained and serviced.

Keep your appliances clean and tuned properly to ensure a longer life span.

Stove

Use a toothbrush to gently brush off the spills from the igniter in order to keep your stove safe and shiny.

Microwave

Wipe down your microwave at least once a week. Quick tip: microwave a cup of water with a slice of lemon; the citrusy vapor will make the wiping down easier.

Toaster

Empty the crumb tray regularly, depending on how often you use the toaster.

Refrigerator

Clean out the fridge every week. Take out any old leftovers and throw them in the recycling bin or compost.

Dishwasher

Rinse your empty dishwasher with a cup of white vinegar every now and then to keep it smelling and looking clean.

Washing machine

Check hoses for leaks and make sure to replace them every few years.

Dryer

Keep the lint filter clean and unclogged. This keeps the dryer safe and heating your clothes properly.

Invest in Cleaning Gadgets

If you’re ready for another level of multi-tasking when cleaning, smart appliances can save time and energy when you’re tidying up.

From automated thermostats to self-guided vacuums, technology can be our best ally.

Download an organization app to your phone or tablet, like Things, to help keep track of chores that need to be done around the house.

Remember Your Home’s Exterior

Maintaining a clean home extends beyond the indoors. Your home’s exterior should also be kept clean in order to keep the house insulated. Cleaning your gutters, siding, windows, and roofing regularly not only keeps your home looking tidy, it keeps the building in good structural shape.

Ensure the attic is also in good condition and well-insulated. You can hire a contractor, or check your home’s insulation on your own if you’re the DIY type.

  • If you see that your insulation is level with or below your floor joists, you should consider adding more insulation.
  • If you can’t see the floor joists (because the insulation is above them) you likely have enough insulation.
  • Check that the insulation is evenly distributed.
  • While your examining your attic, check your windows from the inside, and fix any gaps or holes in the seals as needed.

It can be easy to get caught up in the moment with so many tasks and to-dos around the home. But with these New Year’s resolutions and a little determination, you’re well on your way to a successful, tidier new year!

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