Start the year off right by decluttering your home. (Pixabay – congerdesign)

The start of the new year is the perfect opportunity to set goals that better your life. While some people are making resolutions to lose weight or pay off debt, I’m planning ways to improve my home. Simple home improvements can have a major impact on your home’s look and function while also increasing its value. Maintenance projects are also important for the upkeep of your property and the safety of your family. Kick-start your resolutions and make some beneficial changes in your home.

1. Declutter and Organize

Is your home in disarray from the chaotic holiday season? Approach the new year with a plan to get your home tidy and organized. Get rid of items that you no longer want or need and find a place for items you’d like to keep. Go through one room at a time, decluttering each surface, every closet, and drawer. Don’t forget neglected areas like the medicine cabinet. Once you’ve successfully decluttered and organized your home, make the commitment to live clutter-free all year long. If you must buy a new item, choose to get rid of an item in its place.

2. Perform a Safety Check

With the hustle and bustle of daily life, it’s easy to forget about essential safety checks. When was the last time you changed the batteries in your smoke alarm? Is your carbon monoxide detector in good working order? At the start of the new year, perform important safety checks, like checking the windows, fencing, and gates outside your home. Now is also a good time to practice your family escape plan in the event of a fire.

3. Clean Appliances

You’ve probably ended the year with a lot of cooking and baking. Odds are there are spills and crumbs in the bottom of your oven and in your microwave. As dishes piled up, your dishwasher may have also been used more frequently these last few months. Begin the new year with sparkling clean appliances. Thoroughly scrub your stove, oven, microwave, dishwasher, and smaller countertop appliances.

4. Complete Unfinished Projects

Maybe you started a bathroom remodel over the summer and stopped half-way through. Or perhaps you never got around to installing the new garage disposal in the kitchen. As the new year rolls around, take the time to complete any unfinished projects in your home. If you are lacking the funds for a major home improvement project, consider taking out a home equity line of credit to finish the job.

5. Focus on Efficiency

Going green is a great way to start off the new year. Make it a resolution to become more environmentally-friendly and start by focusing on your home’s energy efficiency. If you’re new to being eco-friendly, start small by replacing incandescent bulbs, sealing windows, and turning off the lights when you’re not in the room. Over time, make bigger changes such as upgrading to energy-efficient appliances or installing solar panels.