Time and again, our house tour participants have taught us that big spending isn't the key to a healthy home; it's the small things like regular decluttering, taking care of repairs, and adding personal touches that make a great home. As we enter the new year, we've compiled a list of things anyone can do to make their home better if they take the time. To ensure that a resolution is kept, we recommend starting small and choosing just one or two tasks. If you've got your own ideas, add them to the list in the comments below...
Do one DIY project in the new year. Reconnect with your creative side by making something for your home, whether it involves reupholstering a side chair or painting your kitchen cabinets. See our how-to archives for ideas and inspiration.
Have people over more often. One of the best ways to keep your home clean and comfy is to invite guests over regularly. Small parties are also a cheap alternative to dining out.
Declutter. To avoid overwhelming yourself, start with a small area (like a closet) or a single room (like the bedroom). Set manageable, bite-sized goals for decluttering and use an Outbox as you go. With each of your posessions, ask yourself, Do I use it? Do I love it? Do I need it? If the answer is to any of these questions is no, it can go in the Outbox.
Clean something daily. If you're a messy person and you want your home to be cleaner, try the One Day/One Room Plan. Each day, spend half an hour cleaning one room. By focusing on daily, concentrated tasks your home will gradually become cleaner and you can stop dreading the weekly-to-monthly binge clean.
Go green(er). We've all become more conscious of ways to minimize our impact on the environment, but there's always room to go greener. Use the new year to take a step you've been considering, like going paperless, greening your bedroom, or composting at home.
Cook more at home. Eating in is one of the most effective ways to save money. It can also improve the health of your body and your home. For easy recipes to try in your kitchen, check our site for home cooks: The Kitchn.
Improve your home's air quality. Poor indoor air might not visibly detract from your home, but it has a serious impact on your quality of life. To get started, use these tips from green guru Danny Seo, or check out these ideas from Conscious Choice.
Organize one area. Whether it's your closet, a junk drawer, or the cords on your desk, bringing order to just one chaotic area can set your home on a path towards calm.
Fix something that's been broken. We all have to-do lists for repairs around the apartment. Why not start the new year by checking off at least one? Your home will thank you for it.
Seal your windows and doors. If you haven't already insulated your windows or fitted your doors with draft stops, you've still got a few months of winter left to reap the money-saving benefits of an insulated, energy-efficient home.
Deal with junk mail. Get rid of the unwanted catalogs and junk mail that have been piling up over the past year by canceling your unwanted subscriptions. Less junk coming in your front door equals a healthier home.
Do more [fill in the blank with whatever you love] at home. Choose one thing you love to do at home, and make the time to do it. Want to spend more time reading in your living room? Set up a reading nook, and schedule an hour an evening to sit with a book.
Add your ideas for low-cost, high-impact resolutions in the comments below.
Photo: Jacob and Laurie's House Tour