With a fresh calendar on the wall and all of its empty boxes yet to be filled with to-dos, the start of a new year is naturally an optimistic time. If you’re in the mood for making a few resolutions, why not consider what you can do at home to help enhance your life? Here are eight ideas for home resolutions to help increase gratitude, tap into your personal style and make your house a home this year — along with concrete steps you can take to get started right away.
1. Appreciate and savor what you have. Your home shelters you and supports you and your loved ones. Why not make the start of the new year a time to focus on the abundance you already have in your life, rather than things on your wish list? Read books from your own shelves, cook meals from your pantry, listen to music you haven’t played for a while, pull out your favorite old movies, snuggle under your favorite quilt. Appreciate the plenty all around you!
Take action: Start a gratitude notebook (paper or digital) and jot down five things about your home for which you are grateful right now. Then list 10 things you have in abundance in your home that you would like to appreciate more. Keep your notebook handy so you can add more, and flip through it as a reminder of the abundance of good things in your life.
2. Identify what you like. Following your heart and choosing things for your home that you really like can be harder than it sounds. Sometimes it means not buying something until you can track down something better; other times it means ignoring what is “in” when it doesn’t speak to you. Commit this year to paying closer attention to what styles, colors and textures attract you. When you know what you like, you can make better choices and building a home that really feels like you.
Take action: Start a new Idea Book labeled something like “totally me” and fill it with images that you instantly connect with. Go a step further by adding a quick description of what appeals to you about each photo — the color, a certain chair, the windows etc. If you’re in a more tactile mood, snip some pictures from magazines and make a mood board or tape them into a notebook.
3. Remove or change things you do not like. Removing the negative is just as important (or even more important than) adding the positive. Have you been living with a wall color, chair or box of mementos that is weighing you down? Make this the year to say goodbye to all of the things in your home that are not serving you.
Take action: Walk through your home with a notepad and start a list of the things you would get rid of right now if you didn’t have to worry about what to do with them. Once you’re finished, sit down with a cup of tea and look over your list as objectively as you can — what on the list could you get rid of today? What’s holding you back from letting go of the other items? Get rid of at least one thing on your list today and make a plan to let go of the others.
4. Don’t let renting stop you from making your home a place where you love to be. Just like buying clothes for the size you are now, it’s important to make the most of your current living situation. There are tons of things that can personalize a rental: removable wallpaper, stick-on picture hooks, area rugs, houseplants and curtains. Decide to stop waiting for a home you own to make the place you are living in now awesome.
Take action: What have you been holding yourself back from doing because you rent? Choose one thing (hanging pictures, buying a new rug) and do it this weekend.
5. Refuse to buy anything unless you have a specific need or place for it. All of the de-cluttering in the world can’t make up for simply bringing less stuff into your house. Choose to start a new habit this year of spending more mindfully. Depending on your current shopping habits, this can be challenging to get used to, but it is worth the effort. Each time you find yourself considering a purchase, ask yourself whether you really need the item. If it’s a decor item and not purely functional, bring it home only if you love it and know exactly where you will put it.
Take action: Grab a sticky note and write on it “Do you need it? Do you know where you’ll put it?” and stick it to the inside of your wallet, where you will see it when you are getting ready to make a purchase. If you tend to shop online, put a sticky note on the computer, too!
6. Vow to see constraints as a blessing. While having no limits seems likes a blessing, it can actually make things more difficult. Having distinct limits can help kick your creativity into gear — it’s what makes those design shows where the participants have to work with found materials or a limited budget so fun to watch! If you’ve been thinking of your small space, lack of storage, limited budget or (fill in the blank) as a hindrance, make this the year to see things in a new light and come up with some creative solutions.
Take action: Brainstorm at least five ways your home’s biggest “problem” could be a good thing. Don’t worry if some of the things you come up with are silly — the point is to shake things up and begin to look at your problem from a new perspective.
7. Be brave and change the big picture if you need to. If your living situation is stretching you financially or otherwise stressing you out (maintenance of a large home can be exhausting!) take a step back and consider whether changing where you live could make your life easier. What would it feel like to live well within your means, in a big-enough home? Or consider what your life would be like if you lived in a smaller space, closer to your work and friends … or farther away from the city, in a place where you could grow that garden you’ve always wanted. Use the new year as an opportunity to do some bigger-picture thinking about what you want from your home.
Take action: Make a list of pros and cons about moving into a different (perhaps smaller or less expensive) home. Take your time and revisit your list over the next week until you feel you have a handle on what your next move should be (or not be).
8. Promise yourself treats. You deserve them! Little things, like fresh flowers, a fancy bar of soap, a cup of tea or a fresh baguette from your favorite bakery can be a bright spot in an ordinary day. But consider working bigger treats into your life, too — if you love art, for example, you could start a special savings account to save up for a painting you’ve had your eye on. Planning ahead and saving up for the things you really want is a good way to create a home that reflects your tastes.
Take action: Make a list of 10 of your favorite treats, small and large. Make a second list of free treats, for when you need a pick-me-up but don’t want to spend any cash. Make a plan to treat yourself to one of these things this weekend.
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