Is one of your new year's resolutions to keep a cleaner apartment?

At the beginning of a new year, we tend to be ambitious and strive to take on new challenges. While many people pledge to make changes in the way they eat and exercise, one resolution that may get overlooked is maintaining a cleaner and more organized living space. Whether you've lived in the same apartment for several years or just moved in before the holidays, there are numerous ways you can make your home a bit tidier in this coming year. If you're looking around your living space and feel it's time to get rid of some of the clutter, consider these five cleaning resolutions:  

1. Make room for new stuff 
One of the great things about the holidays is exchanging gifts with friends and family. This often results in a combination of new clothes, decor, kitchenware and other items that will take up a lot of space in your apartment. Of course, if your storage areas are already fully loaded, this can cause somewhat of an issue. The new year is a perfect time to go through your old stuff, in your closet, desk drawers, etc., and decide what you no longer have use for. Old clothes can easily be donated to charity, and stacks of old papers can be recycled, freeing up some room for your new belongings. 

2. Create a schedule of daily, weekly and monthly chores 
It's easy to get overwhelmed by a busy schedule of work, school and other obligations. If you have a hectic lifestyle, cleaning might fall on the back burner for a few weeks, and then it becomes a monumental task. Avoid an overwhelming mess by creating a schedule of chores that should be performed daily, weekly and monthly. For example, doing your dishes and making your bed are quick chores that can be done at the beginning and end of every day, whereas you may need to vacuum and dust somewhat less frequently. 

3. Get to know your neighbors 
No one likes hosting friends and family with a messy apartment. Befriending your neighbors isn't only a great way to build a fun local community and expand your social network, but also will encourage you to keep a clean apartment so that you can invite in neighbors if they choose to drop by. Hosting more in the new year will inspire you to optimize your apartment space and make organization a priority. 

4. Clean out your refrigerator 
Odds are when you glance in your refrigerator you'll find a few items that haven't been touched in weeks or months (hopefully nothing perishable). While condiments are year round necessities, some of the more miscellaneous half-used items may have passed the expiration date or simply may never get finished. Take the time to remove all the bad food from your fridge and make a point of eating anything that is nearing expiration. 

5. Pack up and label your holiday decor 
Decorating your apartment for the holidays can be a lot of fun. It brings a new look to a tired space and announces the festive nature of the season. Most people don't make much of an effort to take down decorations until the new year, but if winter is turning to spring and your decorations are still up, it's time to put them back in the box. Label all of your holiday decorations and find a place where you can store them in an organized fashion. That way, when the holidays come back around, you'll be able to easily recreate that festive aura. 

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