by Marni Fogelson
leave your baggage at the door
Creating or using a space by your entry door for purses, shoes, mail, or whatever else ends up getting dropped carelessly around the house is a simple resolution that goes a long way in maintaining an organized house. Add extra coat hooks if you entertain frequently, set up a bowl or perch to drop keys as soon as you enter, and make a welcoming and obvious place such as a series of baskets for people to leave their shoes and backpacks. If you have little ones at home, creating a shoe-free household is especially important for a cleaner home.
do a battery, light, and safety sweep
It’s a golden rule of home ownership and renting that the chirping of the carbon monoxide detector’s battery will only occur after you have used your last spare in the house. Make a list of all the appliances, alarms, and lights in your home and the batteries, bulbs, and inspections that they need. Stocking up in bulk for these items may save you a few dollars, and you can’t put a price on having the battery you need on hand when you need it… aka no middle of the night February treks to the hardware store.
stock up on other home essentials
While you are in list-making mode, add on items such as boxes of tissue, toilet paper, and soap. Again, this little ritual will save you the time and annoyance of having to run out at random times during the week for random items. Also take note of the condition of items such as towels, sheets, and pillowcases so that you can have back-ups on hand as needed.
list chores and delegate
We all have household tasks that we loathe, and luckily, many of these differ from person to person. Make a list of the daily, weekly, and monthly chores and divvy them up among household members. If no one (surprise, surprise) wants to take on the task of cleaning the toilets, make it a rotating job with a clear schedule. If you are flying solo, consider offering yourself the luxury of outsourcing one of your least favorite jobs to a cleaning service or app.
decide on a cleaning time each week and stick to it
If you’re waiting for the golden opportunity to have a whole day devoted to scrubbing, dusting, and other cleaning duties (or hoping that household chores magically get taken care of by singing woodland creatures), you may have to pencil it in to next year’s calendar. For most of us, the best plan of action is to pick a time each week that will work for you and stick to it for touch-ups and basic maintenance. Sunday afternoon or evening is often ideal because you are (hopefully) somewhat rested after the weekend. Heading into the week with a house in order makes everyone feel like they are winning.
make a wish list for the household
Saving up for and splurging on special purchases, both big and small, can make your home more comfortable, cozy, and personal. Happiness guru Gretchen Rubin makes the case that indulging in a modest splurge can actually make some people happier, especially if it helps to further family, friend, or work goals. Think buying a couch or an extra chair so your den can be the hive of activity for friends and family. Even if you don’t have dreams of being in a design magazine, saving up for a new glasses, a painting, or even a new heating system can actually improve your feelings of comfort and satisfaction with your home—especially if you use the new item frequently. Make a wish list of items you would like to add in the next year and prioritize them.
For some people, a twice-yearly purge is effective. Many of us would even benefit from getting rid of items no longer needed on a more regular basis. If you live in a small apartment, having bags of extra clothes, toys, and old electronics is not a sustainable option. Almost everything can find a home to be reused or recycled these days, so check online for local resources. Some organizations even perform regular neighborhood pick-ups for free, giving you a nearly effortless way to pass along what you are no longer using. You could also try the “bring something home, take something out” rule for purging to keep the amount of stuff in your home at an equilibrium.
make your house work for YOU now
Regardless of whether you have a growing family or are a confirmed bachelorette, your home’s design, décor, and arrangement will likely need to change throughout the years. The new year is a great time to reflect upon how your style and needs have changed as well as where you see them going in the future. The addition of kids will typically necessitate some thoughtful furniture and room rearrangement and perhaps transforming your bar cart into toy shelving. Certain hobbies and activities will also require some interior design changes. If you switched from doing yoga at home every morning to hitting a Crossfit gym, you can take over the floor space your mat occupied with a small table to accommodate your budding interest in jewelry making. Take one room at a time, create a streamlined vision (in the style that appeals to YOU), and gradually work to realize it.
commit to one new project for your home
There are so many amazing design projects and inspirations out there, you may end up feeling like there are too many things you want to change in your place and the simply do nothing. Instead, choose one area of your home that’s been bugging you—like not having enough space for coats, a bedroom paint color you regret, or perhaps a stack of framed pictures that you
simply can’t decide where to hang—and find a fix. Whether you DIY or outsource the actual execution, once you have tackled one task, you’ll gain the confidence to take on more!
When we are surrounded by so much stuff as well as responsibilities, it’s easy to forget how awesome it is to have a roof over our heads, clothes to wear, people to care for, and so on. Giving gratitude on a regular basis will help brighten your mood. Whether that means volunteering with your neighborhood club or simply entertaining friends, you’ll have fun giving back to and making memories with the people and places that give you joy.