6 Steps to Get Your Apartment in Shape for the New Year

‘Tis the time to make resolutions. Here at My First Apartment we feel there has to be a better way to knock off one or two long-neglected chores around the apartment than by using the vague and quickly-forgotten resolutions traditionally associated with New Year’s – after all, the idea of “cleaning more often”, “making the place look nice,” or “spending less on utilities,” aren’t specific enough to really get you motivated, or to keep you on track when you get distracted.

So, we’re giving you a list of six things you can do to “tune up” your apartment in one freezing, sleeting Saturday when even the dog doesn’t want to go out. That way, there’s no worry about whether or not you can stay consistently motivated – you just have to get up the gumption to do these chores once, and then you’re done!

1.) Insulate your windows. We’ve touched on this before, but it bears repeating: if you have leaky windows and a freezing apartment, you’ll save money and energy by using a $10 do-it-yourself plastic insulation kit and treating your windows. January and February are the coldest months, plus, for windows that you don’t plan on opening, you can keep the insulation year-round – in the summer it will help keep your place cooler when you run the A/C.

2. ) Deal with that Pile. What do I mean by this? Most of us have a box or two we never bothered unpacking from eight months ago … or the messy stack of “important papers” that are now two years old and mostly unimportant. Or, all that stuff we shoved under the bed. Spend couple of hours going through it – chuck what you don’t need, save and organize what you do, and be done with it. And if you have a bunch of old video games and CDs you might even be able to convert them into a bit of cash on a site such as musicMagpie.com. You’ll have a cleaner, neater place as a result. And, who knows, you might find something you’d been vaguely searching for, and had given up as lost.

3.) Edit Your Clothes. Alissa and I recently moved. As a result, we spent some time sorting our clothes before packing. (Check out our blogger Amanda’s step-by-step guide for a closet “tune-up.”)  We considered what all we needed to keep – and, get this, between us, we gave away thirty pounds of clothes! Yes, that’s right: Thirty pounds! I never would have guessed it, but there it was. These were mostly clothes that we’d not worn in a couple years, but had hung onto anyway. Now, the local Goodwill has some more items, we have a little tax deduction, and we once again find room in our dressers and closets to fit all the clothes we actually wear. Consider undertaking such a project yourself and you might be surprised…

4.) Finish that Decorating Project. Perhaps you have a bunch of tchotchkes that you’d like to display on a floating shelf above your couch … and you’ve been meaning to buy and install the floating shelf for months. Why not just go ahead and do it? Or, you’ve got a poster you love, and you’ve been meaning to spring for a frame, so you can properly hang it in your bedroom. Go to the frame shop and take care of it. You’ll be thrilled with the results, your place will look better, and you’ll have the satisfaction of a job completed.

5.) Go Through your Refrigerator and Pantry. Do you have three bottles of ketchup, and a jar of moldy pickles in your fridge? How about those Chinese leftovers from a month ago? Do these toxic old leftovers still need refrigerating? Oh, and that yogurt you bought when you were on a health kick last summer – it might have expired by now. Go through your fridge and pantry and chuck what’s  no longer safe to eat. Then, if you really want to go the extra mile, actually clean the fridge and pantry – you’ll feel much better afterwards.

6.) Plan a Roommate Outing. People talk about wanting to get on with their roommates, but in the rush of day-to-day life, sometimes actually spending time with them is neglected. Make plans to go to the movies, or take in a basketball game, or play darts – whatever floats your boat. It’s important to reconnect, especially after the holidays, and it will get your roommate-relations off on the right foot for the year .

New Year’s resolutions don’t have to be painful – sometimes they can be as simple as a small project. It might not seem like much, but these little projects add up – if you do even one or two of them you’ll feel better about your place, and about starting the year right.

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Author My First Apartment

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Alex has rented in Minneapolis, Queens, Brooklyn, and now Chicago. He can kill rodents and roaches when required, and loves picture-hanging projects. If you're ever in town, give him a shout.

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Comments (1)

  1. Avatar Lucky Renter

    To start the new year I love #2. Nothing feels better than de-cluttering your apartment, you could even take your old things and sell them on Craigslist for extra cash! Checkout more money saving tips for renting, especially great for college students how need to stretch their budget.