7 New Year's Resolutions for Your Home to Start Now

Don't wait until the ball drops to start on these projects.

By Devon Thorsby, Editor, Real Estate |Nov. 21, 2018, at 12:24 p.m.

7 New Year's Resolutions for Your Home to Start Now

Slideshow

Get a jump-start on that 2019 to-do list.

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The holiday season has arrived, and as you welcome family and friends to your home to celebrate, many of those home improvement projects you haven't managed to tackle throughout the year can easily end up on the New Year's resolution list. But in many cases you would be better off starting that list before the countdown to midnight on New Year's Eve. Here are seven resolutions that are best completed with an early start, especially if you're hoping to finish them early on in the new year.

Decluttering your home.

Decluttering your home.

Shot of a man carrying a box in a garage

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Decluttering is a popular New Year's resolution centered around getting your home in order, though it's also a popular task to fall by the wayside when it proves difficult. To keep yourself on track, get started now and schedule time to spend organizing, sorting through piles of clothes and papers and removing unwanted items from your home. "Write it down how you write down other appointments," says Rachel Rosenthal, an organizing expert and founder of organizing firm Rachel and Company, based in the District of Columbia. Even if it's just 20 minutes at a time, scheduling your decluttering time like a visit to the doctor keeps you from skipping it accidentally – or on purpose – in the midst of other chores and errands.

Planning a room renovation.

Planning a room renovation.

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You didn't have the time – or possibly the money – to update a room this year, but next year is a perfect opportunity to freshen it up. While you may want to hold off on demolishing a room until after any visitors leave town, you shouldn't wait to start planning, budgeting and scheduling professionals. If your project requires a general contractor or other licensed professionals for electrical or plumbing work, you want to reach out about one to two months in advance. "The bigger the project, the more time you need to plan and get things done," says Kevin Busch, vice president of operations for home improvement company Mr. Handyman, part of the network of home service providers Neighborly.

Putting holiday decorations away early.

Putting holiday decorations away early.

Various colorful Christmas decorations in a boxes

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You have vowed to take the Christmas tree down before March this year, which is certainly a worthy goal. But Rosenthal stresses that you don't have to remove all signs of the holidays the day after Christmas, and waiting a week or two can allow your family enjoy the holiday season longer. Rather than when you take down ornaments, a tree or wreaths, "it matters how you take it down," she says. Alter this resolution and make a plan instead. Look at the holiday decorations you already own and what you plan to buy. Be sure you have the right storage containers to fit everything and clear a space in the basement, garage or anywhere you have room for all the decorations to be kept together. Then, when you decide it's time for the decorations to come down, the process should be simple and less of a chore.

Tackling little projects.

Tackling little projects.

Senior man cleaning leafs out of gutter.

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You may not have even thought to pull that ever-growing list of little home improvement projects over to your New Year's resolutions list, but with the right planning, you have the opportunity to cross it all off at once. Whether they're simple tasks you hate doing, such as cleaning the gutters, repairing holes in the drywall and hanging photos and artwork, or projects that are beyond your skill set, like replacing an electrical outlet or installing a light fixture, bringing someone in to complete more than one saves time and money. "As you're sort of preparing for the new year, get your whole list together," Busch says. "It's more convenient (when) you only take one day off work."

Organizing a specific space.

Organizing a specific space.

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Narrowing your organizational resolution to a particular problem in your house may be a more achievable goal, be it your master closet, home office or garage. You want to create a better system in the space, but there are a few steps to take before running out to the store for bins, shelves and boxes galore that may not work. Focus on the function of storage bins rather than how they look, Rosenthal says. Look at what you're keeping in the room, establish a plan for what will stay there, then measure and research storage options for the best system to keep those items organized and in place.

Preparing your house to sell.

Preparing your house to sell.

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You've decided the coming year will be the one you finally sell your house, but that doesn't mean you have to wait until 2019 to begin the process. Reach out to real estate agents now to find the one you want to work with and determine what your house needs to be ready for tours, whether it’s refinished wood floors or updated bathroom tile. Lou Nimkoff, president of the Orlando Regional Realtor Association in Orlando, Florida, says the number of new listings typically continues to climb following the first of the year, which means the earlier you can put your house on the market, the less competition you'll have.

Putting your house on the market.

Putting your house on the market.

Upscale modern house for sale

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The year is coming to a close, but if your house is ready, you may be able to start 2019 with offers coming in – or even with your home already under contract. Especially if your real estate agent is enthusiastic about getting your house on the market as soon as possible, there are likely active buyers who "don't want to take a chance that they miss out on inventory," Nimkoff says. Make sure you're mentally prepared to sell because interested buyers during this traditionally slower time of the year are typically ready to make a deal.

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Devon Thorsby is the Real Estate editor at U.S. News & World Report, where she writes consumer-focused articles about the homebuying and selling process, home improvement, tenant rights and the state of the housing market.

She has appeared in media interviews across the U.S. including National Public Radio, WTOP (Washington, D.C.) and KOH (Reno, Nevada) and various print publications, as well as having served on panels discussing real estate development, city planning policy and homebuilding.

Previously, she served as a researcher of commercial real estate transactions and information, and is currently a member of the National Association of Real Estate Editors. Thorsby studied Political Science at the University of Michigan, where she also served as a news reporter and editor for the student newspaper The Michigan Daily. Follow her on Twitter or write to her at dthorsby@usnews.com.

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