5 Ways to Start the New Year Fresh

Start your new year off on the right foot with our tips. Includes: Cleaning up your apartment, de-cluttering your wardrobe, and being more positive.
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{Photo Credit: Elle.com}

It’s time to kiss last year goodbye and throw your jacket over your shoulder – the new year is here! But if you’re nervous about dipping your toes into the New Year, or don’t know where to start when starting over, don’t worry. With these 5 tips to help you start the year off fresh, you'll be armed and ready to tackle everything under the sun and then some.

Freshen Up Your Dorm or Apartment

Finals week definitely knows how to do its damage, so don’t feel bad if you hightailed out of town afterward and left your space looking like a deserted battleground. But before school life picks up again, set aside some time to re-spruce! Deep cleaning and adding new touches to your room can help cleanse your mind and melt away stress …not to mention give you an inspirational boost to start 2012 right.

In addition to vacuuming and reorganizing your pad, here are some mini-changes you can make to get ready for the New Year:

  • Swap your sheets. If you’ve been sticking to a simple white for the past few months, why not try a soothing green or a more daring pop of pink?  
  • Switch up your decor. Hang up new photos, add some flowers to your nightstand, and make room for the great new memories you’ll be making this year.
  • Light a scented candle. Or buy an air freshener, to add crispness and zen to your newly-cleaned oasis.

De-clutter Your Wardrobe


{Photo Credit: Elle.com}

This was one of our fashion resolutions for 2012 but we wanted to reiterate it here - yes, it's that important!

You know those pieces you always glaze over when picking an outfit? Now’s a perfect time to toss them. If you can change over time, so can your taste – it’s OK to fall out of love with clothes and accessories you once adored. And nobody said this had to be a depressing experience! Plug in your favorite playlist and give yourself one last fashion show. That way, you can gauge how you really feel about each dress and every top before making your final decision.

Not comfortable with throwing your old frocks away? (After all, you liked them enough to wear them at one point …) Consider these two alternatives:

  • Sell them to a thrift store. See if you can locate a shop in your area which buys back used clothes; two popular and more national options are Plato’s Closet and Buffalo Exchange. There’s no guarantee that they’ll buy back everything, but it’s worth a shot – especially if you want to make some extra money.
  • Donate them. Locate a Salvation Army or local shelter, or research some charities which accept clothing. Giving back for a good cause is always internally rewarding!

Switch up your Look


{Photo Credit: Elle.com}

If your everyday get-ready routine has gotten a little blah, the New Year is the perfect time to experiment with hair, makeup, and – of course – fashion! You don’t have to go mad scientist in terms of extremity, but simply trying new styles can help you discover a new look you love. Try these tips out to add some spice to your image:

  • Paint your nails. There are no boundaries with nails. On top of color, there are countless cool effects, funky designs, and pretty patterns you can try.  
  • Play with makeup. If you tend to stick with neutrals, why not opt for a sultry smoky eye or colored liner? If you don't like it, you can always just wash your face and start over again. 
  • Try on something you wouldn’t usually wear. A closet clean-out is the perfect excuse to at least go window shopping … but instead of heading to your staple stores, go somewhere that doesn't fit with your usual taste. You could end up discovering a new favorite piece, and the best part is it's 100% free to try things on.
  • Get a haircut. Whether you're overdue for a trim or want a whole new 'do, changing your hair can make you feel like a whole new woman. And if you're feeling extra daring, take it to another level: ring in the new year with some highlights or a whole new color all together. 

Focus on the Positive

Life isn’t always peaches and cream. We all dip below the surface sometimes, and feel small when things turn for the worse. But the way we feel about ourselves, other people, and our situations can turn around with a simple flip in perception. So here are some things to keep in mind which will brighten your outlook and keep your spirits lifted, no matter the circumstance:

  • Realize that you are in control of you. You can’t always predict what will happen in your life, but you can control how you respond to it. The classic “when life gives you lemons, make lemonade” proverb applies here – so take back your power, and preserve it!
  • Catch yourself when you begin to think negatively. Wallowing in depressive thoughts has a snowball effect – once you get in too deep, pulling yourself out proves that much harder. It’s OK to momentarily feel blue about something, but after you acknowledge your feelings, redirect them so you can move on.  
  • Meditate. Sometimes you just have to drop what you’re doing and realign. Giving yourself as little as 5 minutes a day to clear your head can do wonders for improving your mood! To learn more, check out our basic guide to meditation for college students.

Make a Vision Board

Designer Waris Ahluwalia's Inspiration Board

{Photo Credit: Elle.com}

To help aid in your mental cleanse, put together a vision board, a collage that displays all of your personal and professional goals, as well as things you love. Tear out magazine pages, cut out quotes, tack on encouraging writing clips. Fill every corner with pictures of friends and family, books you want to read, and places you want to go.

For the rest of the year, this vision board will serve as your inspirational touchstone - whenever you need a pick me up or physical reminder to keep on going. The New Year is filled with endless opportunities, and ample time to accomplish your dreams. So don't hold back in making this your own - no aspiration is too wild!


What do you plan on doing to start off the New Year? What do you hope to accomplish? How do you plan on getting there? Leave a comment and let me know!

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