3 No-Cost Ways I'm Refreshing My Home for the New Year

With the coming of each new year, the distraction of the holidays ends abruptly with the necessary (but, let's face it, somewhat depressing) removal of the decorations and the return to normal schedules. I've never been one to make resolutions, but the suddenly noticeable drab and gray of winter each new year does awaken my need for change and freshness. And what better place to start than my house?

In the midst of packing up decorations and making room for the year's gifts, the tendency to reorganize and rearrange comes naturally. Each year, I try to focus that energy into a few ways to refresh and brighten the house—and with it, my outlook. With a new baby, no budget, and a lack of time and energy, I've settled this year on three no-cost but effective ways to embrace the new year in our home.

1. Purge. The truth is that I'm already a chronic purger; I have no problem clearing out items we no longer need or use. I used to spend entire (gloriously cathartic) days going through one closet or room simply reorganizing and setting aside items for donation. That was, of course, pre-baby, and with a five-month-old always on my hip these days, all-day purging fests are long gone. Desperate to get rid of all that's been piling up since she's arrived, I'm keeping a "donate basket" in the hall closet. Every time I straighten the house or open a cabinet or closet, I keep my eye out for underused items. My goal is to place at least one item into the basket each week. Once the donate basket is full, it gets dumped into a box in the trunk of my car, which I will drop off next time I visit the thrift store. A quicker, simpler, and more approachable way to purge is exactly what I need to help make room for all those Christmas gifts.

2. Rearrange one room. I like change; in fact, I crave it. I get that not everyone does, so this may not be your idea of a happy way to embrace the new year. But there's something so satisfying about just spending a few hours moving furniture and decor to find yourself in a whole new room. And with no money spent! This year, I've already overhauled our living room, and the view from the couch's new location is so refreshing that I've found myself sitting on it simply to look around the room and smile.

3. Clean the windows. I have some kind of unexplainable mental block on cleaning windows. A chore that is often left for spring cleaning and that I love to avoid is one that has the most immediate change to my mindset. It really takes no more than a few minutes to clean the windows in one room. Starting in the newly arranged living room, I'm cleaning the windows (inside and out) in one room each day. It can be tackled while the baby is sleeping, and dingy windows throughout the entire house should be but a memory by the end of next week. Letting in that little bit of extra sunshine on bleak winter days has already helped brighten my New Year.

Whatever your New Year outlook may be, whether you abide by resolutions or steer clear, a bit of remixing, purging, and fresh outlooks around your house are certain to be welcome changes. What are your tips for embracing the new year in your home?

(Image: Leela Cyd Ross/Charley & Jessica's "Patina Clean" House Tour)

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Lauren is an aspiring minimalist with a love for design, a former English teacher with a lingering crush on the Oxford comma, a health nut focused on conscious living, and momma to a spunky and spirited little girl oblivious to her role as muse.

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