The New Year is almost here! If you’re like me, the beginning of 2015 will bring with it a flurry of attempts at self-improvement. Sometimes I’m successful, but most of the time I find myself biting off more than I can chew. So this year instead of driving myself crazy trying to better myself, I’m going to channel all that invigorating, get-it-done attitude that comes along on December 31st and put it all towards bettering my home.
New Year’s resolutions for your home? I must be crazy, right?
Wrong! Our home is the backdrop for our entire life, and the state it is in directly affects our emotional well-being. I for one instantly feel more relaxed and focused in a tidy space, and sleepy and unproductive in an ill-lit one. What’s more, most of us share our home with the people we care about the most: family or friends. Our home, whether it be an apartment our house, rented or owned, is simply where life happens.
And I believe it deserves to be the best possible version of itself!
For anyone needing a little interior design help, here are 10 New Year’s resolutions you should make this year:
1. Eliminate the extra.
It’s incredible how much unnecessary and unwanted stuff you can accumulate in a year. Maybe you’ve pushed it to the back of your closet, hidden it away in drawers, and forgotten about it. But now’s the time to really take a hard look at the things you own.
“Have nothing in your houses that you do not know to be useful or believe to be beautiful.”
– William Morris
This is one of my all-time favorite quotes, and is an excellent rule to live by. I recommend taking one day at the beginning of the month to literally go through every nook and cranny of your home. Keep anything that is necessary to your life, adds beauty to your home, or is sentimental—but put everything else in a big pile. Sort your pile into three categories: throw-away, donate, and sell. Bring anything that can be donated to Goodwill, and throw away anything broken beyond repair.
2. Make your home work for you.
One of my favorite tips for de cluttering and re-designing: use Craigslist and ebay to sell unwanted furniture or home décor items, and put the money you make towards pieces you actually love. Whether you upgrade your dining table or an entire room, it’s always nice to save a little money! If you find yourself stuck trying to figure out what will fit and match perfectly, try Decorilla, a great resource to save time and get top professional design advice fast.
3. Get organized.
Now that you’ve (hopefully) reduced the amount of clutter in your home, it’s time to organize the things you do have. Make a list of areas in your home that need a little help, and plan to tackle one a month. Think about maximizing space and function (but keep good design in mind!).
Don’t know where to start? There are thousands of professional organizers that will come right to your home and tackle your messiest projects—just do a quick Google search for ones in your area.
4. Start good habits.
If you’re not naturally neat and tidy, now is the time to start good home-keeping habits—but do this in baby steps. Maybe for the first week, you’ll start by fixing the couch cushions before bed. The second week you could add wiping down the counter while you’re waiting for your coffee to brew. Tailor it to what you and your home needs, and you’ll find that keeping a beautiful home can be simple and stress-free.
5. Edit your collections.
Too often we cram everything we love onto bookshelves, coffee tables, sideboards, etc., and it distracts from the pieces that we want people to focus on—like that statement sofa, or the painting by your favorite artist. Removing pieces can actually enhance a room, as negative space lets the eye “rest.” Just experiment with how things look when you take something away—you might be surprised at the effect!
6. Don’t forget about safety.
Buy a carbon monoxide detector if your home doesn’t already have one. Test your smoke alarm. Make sure you have a functioning fire extinguisher in a place that is easily accessible. If you have children, go over what to do in an emergency. And be sure to test your home for radon (the number one cause of lung cancer in non-smokers).
7. Go green.
This can mean many different things—choose what’s practical for you. Maybe you’ll switch your household cleaning supplies to eco-friendly products from a company like Honest, which delivers them to your door. Or perhaps you’ll start unplugging your appliances when not in use, or using power strips. A programmable thermostat will not only conserve energy but lower your monthly bill! This article has a great list of 100 ways to reduce energy consumption at home.
8. Add more plants.
There is no room in your home that won’t look better with a plant! Kitchens, bathrooms, bedrooms…all can benefit from a little greenery. If you have a black thumb like me, go for succulents like aloe vera, jade plants, cacti, and snake plants, which are incredibly hard to kill. Plus, they improve the air quality of your home and your health.
9. Tackle a to-do list.
Every home has an ever-present list of “fix-its”, like that leaky faucet or a wonky shelf. Make your own to-do list, and plan to tackle one a month for the rest of the year. If you’re a renter, consider giving your list to your landlord.
10. Learn to love the home your in.
Too often we focus on what we don’t have—a bigger kitchen, hardwood floors, larger windows—and we forget to enjoy the good things right in front of us. Make a list of 10 things you love about your home right now. And whenever you find yourself harping on the negative aspects of your home, remember: no space is ever perfect. What matters most is the memories you create inside it, and those you create them with.
Happy New Year from Decorilla!
Guest post by Anna Sundman
Decorilla Interior Decorator