New Year’s Resolution for Your Home
I think I must be the odd woman out in this regard, but one of the things I like best about Christmas is taking down the decorations and getting the house back in order. As cozy and homey as the twinkling lights of the tree are, there’s something wonderful about tidying up and getting the house back in order. For me, it’s a time to reflect on the wonderful Christmas we’ve just enjoyed, as well as thinking ahead to the beginning of a brand new year.
This year, one of my Christmas gifts was an inspiration for rearranging the kitchen. It’s no secret that I love to rearrange furniture. Of course, most kitchens can’t really be “rearranged,” but when our kids went together to get me a new cherry red KitchenAid stand mixer (the first time I’ve owned such a mixer in 40 years of marriage!) I was inspired to rethink the way we use our kitchen cupboards. The end result is a bake center in one corner of the kitchen, and a tea station near the sink for my tea-drinking husband. I don’t know why I didn’t think of this easy switcheroo before now, but sometimes we do things out of habit, without thinking about how we actually use the spaces in our homes.
The changes are visually subtle, but huge in how it improves the flow of traffic in work areas and overall ease-of-use. (I wish I’d thought of this before we hosted our family of fourteen for five days over Christmas!)
If you haven’t already gotten your house back in order from the Christmas chaos, take a few moments to ask yourself a few basic questions as you’re putting away decorations, finding space for the new things you received as gifts, or thinking how you want to spend any gift certificates you might have received.
• Do we really need all the “things” taking up cupboard space? The start of a new year—especially in a season when people spend more hours in their homes than ever—is a great time to de-clutter. One trick I’ve used is to box up anything I’m not sure about and store it in the garage for six months to a year. When I open the box later, if I’m delighted to see an old “friend,” I don’t need to feel guilty about keeping the item. Usually, I realize that I haven’t missed that item in the least, so now I can more easily let it go.
• Are we using the spaces in our home to the best advantage and in a way that works for our family? When my husband and I moved to a home with a formal dining room, we decided we would never use that room for dining, so it became my office, opening up another bedroom for guests.
• What item(s) would make my life easier? It might be as major as a new appliance (a dishwasher maybe?) or as small as a coffeemaker that doesn’t leak. Think about the little frustrations of your home, and ways you could fix them. Keep a list so you don’t forget the things you’ve discussed, then work on those fixes throughout the coming months.
As Ken and I have spent the past months trying to declutter and simplify our material possessions, I’ve adopted a rule for myself: for every item I bring into the house, an item needs to go to Goodwill or a garage sale. I’m thinking about doubling that number as one of my New Year’s resolutions: One item in means two items must go out.
A cozy, homey house will never be a spotless, neat-as-a-pin house (unless the family living there happens to be on vacation!) But it can be a tidy place where everything is organized to best serve the people who live there.
What resolutions have you made to make your current house the warm, welcoming place you’ve always dreamed of?
By: DEBORAH RANEY’s first novel, A Vow to Cherish, inspired the film of the same title and launched Deb’s writing career. Twenty years, thirty books, and numerous awards later, she’s still writing. She and husband, Ken, recently traded small-town life in Kansas––the setting of many of Deb’s novels––for life in the city of Wichita. They love traveling to visit four grown children and five (so far) grandchildren who all live much too far away. Visit Deb on the Web at www.deborahraney.com.
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