New Year's Eve seemed like a good day to take down the Christmas decorations. It seemed like a good day to sort through the outerwear accumulating on the coat rack since October. And then it seemed like a good day to reevaluate how well our home was serving us.
Resolutions can be tricky, especially when they are inward and don't start with a plan of action. A good resolution challenges and benefits our relationships, our health, our attitude or efficiency. Making an attempt to wake up at 6:45am every day is a good resolution, because you know that if you go to bed early enough and set the right alarms, you'll be set up to be resolved. But it's also a good one because you know if you don't do it. Resolving to travel abroad without any reason or timeframe to make plans isn't a great one. Because on January 2nd, you'll realize that you can't afford it yet, so you'll plan it later in the year when you have more time and money. And every time you consider it, it feels further out of reach. Until it's December and you have to decide to go for it or realize that your resolution didn't add adventure to your life but took away your pride, energy and contentedness.
For me, it was easy to get up, jump on the computer and immediately find myself on Trulia and Pinterest. Sitting in a beautiful (albeit rather messy) apartment and wondering how me and my husband's lives could be improved in a new, idyllic space. After getting an apprehensive response from Austin on whether we could invest in a house in 2017, I once again, resolved to make our apartment even more beautiful, organized and hospitable. But like vowing to make it abroad, it's not really doable without a plan.
This year, I'm resolving to small actions that will make a considerable impact each day, week and month. Feel free to implement these or adjust as needed if you're like me and need a reminder to be content with your home this year.
1. Make the best of it. Rearrange, tidy up, put the art on the walls, and paint whatever is dingy. Your home will feel as sad and uninspired as you let it. Find all the hidden potential possible.
2. Do the tough things while they're not so tough. Do the dishes before food dries and is impossible to get off. Throw away the junk mail instead of setting it aside for later.
3. Take care of it so it can take care of you. Watering the plants means you have vibrant, healthy plants and also that you don't have to lug a plastic bag full of dirt and dead leaves to the trash. Keep the guest bedroom tidy so that when people come to stay, you're not using all your energy to get ready for them but to actually enjoy them when they're there.
4. Be regular. Kind of the same lines as #2 & #3, don't let things pile up or get too gross. Cleaning more often means you don't have to clean as hard and in the meantime, you'll have a healthier state of mind.
5. Purge as often as you can. Not only will getting rid of things feel good and make your space less cluttered, it'll also give you a bit of pause before buying things just because. Donate the things that can be donated and recycle what can be reclaimed.
6. Be thankful for what it is. In our case, the 3rd floor walkup, falling down ceiling and no outdoor space can get us itching for a new place but what it offers (high ceilings, large rooms, low rent, ability to improve, location and a community of great people in the building) can't easily be replicated even in the best house on the market. Remind yourself of what you'd be sad to lose in your home if you left it.
7. Use it as intended. Shelter is one of the basic human needs. Physiological, physical, emotional and mental needs can be met in this space if you let them. If your home is only a place of work, improvement and a place to drop in between work and social engagements, don't be surprised if it doesn't bring you joy. Let it bring you rest instead just a place to keep your bed.
Happy New Year! What are your resolutions this year?