Melissa Dubravetz, advertising writer

This weekend – the last of 2013 – is a great time to get your apartment ready for the new year, especially if you are done with your holiday celebrations and the last of your guests has headed for home. From cleaning and organizing tips to apartment maintenance and repairs, now is the time to tackle tasks you put off through the busy holiday season and make plans for easy apartment living in 2014.

Un-deck the halls

As a first step to getting your rental new-year ready, take the time to put all your holiday decorations back where they belong. Purchase bins and storage boxes to contain décor neatly and toss any decorations that are not working, broken or beyond fixing. Putting away your holiday items will allow you to address other areas in your rental that need attention.

Remember to recycle

As you are going through your decorations and deciding what to keep for next year and what to discard, remember to recycle what you can, including wrapping paper, packaging and other paper and plastic items. Keep holiday gift bags and bows to use next year, and consider flattening boxes for future gift giving and shipping needs.

For a fun spin on things and a creative way to reduce clutter, consider filling each holiday gift box you received with items to then drop them off at your local Goodwill or Salvation Army before the end of the year.

In addition, before you throw your holiday greenery in the trash, check with local non-profit or scouting organizations to see if they are accepting greenery donations for projects.

Out with the old food, in with the new food

This weekend is a great time to go through your refrigerator, freezer and kitchen cupboards and dispose of any expired or out-of-date foods. Make sure you check the dates on dressings, condiments and other jarred and canned items, and then make a grocery list to replace anything that was tossed.

Catch up on chores

When the holidays rush you from one thing to another, it’s easy to neglect weekly chores, especially if you aren’t hosting a holiday get-together at your apartment. Catch up on laundry, vacuuming, dusting and wiping the countertops throughout your place. Scrub your bathroom and kitchen. Wash the bedding, curtains and rugs. Empty all the trashcans in your rental.

Get out the tool kit or sewing-kit

The winter months are a great time to work on those household item repairs you put off through the holidays. Replace light bulbs and batteries; tighten the screws on wobbly chair and table legs; and mend any seams, tears or buttons on textiles.

Contact your landlord for major repairs

If you’ve put off contacting your landlord about a leaky faucet or other needed repair in your rental, now is the time to do it. Make a list of anything needing repair, and contact your landlord with your request. You might also want to put the request in writing and mail it to his or her attention.

Let me know what you think. What are your tips for getting your apartment or rental home ready for the new year? I welcome your suggestions on making a decision, tales from your personal experiences or anything else you want to talk about. Send an email with your name and phone number to renters@thebeaconjournal.com. For additional real estate information, visit homes.ohio.com, the key to hassle-free home hunting.