As we get deeper into January, it can be easy to let those New Year’s resolutions slide. Take some time this weekend to recommit to your goals: Clear a bit of clutter, take care of holiday returns and fill your kitchen with fresh, healthful foods. Then curl up under a cozy blanket with a good book and let the snow (or rain) fall outside while soup bubbles on the stove.
1. Take care of holiday returns. Instead of allowing unloved presents to languish unused, gather them up and return, exchange or donate them as you see fit. Feeling a pang of guilt about not keeping a gift? Remember that your duty as the gift recipient is to accept the gift graciously and thank the giver for his or her generosity and thoughtfulness — what you’re not duty-bound to do is keep the gift forever. But here’s one caveat: If you received a lovingly handmade, labor-intensive gift (like a knit sweater or handmade quilt) it’s best to keep the gift in the family if at all possible.
2. Create space in your kitchen for healthy eating. If eating smarter is one of your New Year’s resolutions, be sure your kitchen is helping and not hindering your mission. Clear unhealthy snack foods from the cupboards, and stock up on fresh, colorful fruits and veggies instead. Clean counters make it easier to get started cooking, so put away small appliances you don’t use daily, along with other clutter that has accumulated there. And if the weather is crummy and you’re stuck inside anyway, why not make up a big batch of your favorite healthy soup recipe? You can enjoy a bowl for dinner and freeze the rest — your future weeknight self will thank you.
3. Get inspired to declutter. Getting organized feels much easier when you are motivated and inspired — that’s why we often start with a bang around the new year but fizzle out later. Revive your excitement by picking up one of the beautiful new books on the subject, like New Minimalism, by Cary Telander Fortin and Kyle Louise Quilici (a photograph from Fortin and Quilici’s book is shown here), or Remodelista: The Organized Home, by Julie Carlson and Margot Guralnick. Both are packed with inspiring images of clutter-free, neatly organized spaces and include smart, actionable ideas.
4. Protect your pipes from freezing. Low temperatures can wreak havoc on your pipes, whether you’re home or away on a winter trip. If you haven’t done so yet, locate the shut-off valve for the main water line to your property — and if you’re going out of town, be sure to show your house sitter (or a neighbor) where it is too. And if your area is having a cold snap, keep the thermostat set to a minimum of 55 degrees, around the clock.
5. Organize your desk. It’s a wonderful feeling to start a new week with a clean, clear desk. Put on some music or set a timer to help you stay focused on the task — file or shred papers as needed, put away items that belong elsewhere and clear out at least one drawer to create some breathing space.
6. Treat yourself to new slippers (or a cozy new rug). Make getting out of the bed in the morning more inviting with a fluffy pair of slippers to step into, or a cushy bedside rug to warm your toes. It’s a little thing, but on a chilly winter morning, those little things can make a big difference!
7. Hide away with an engrossing novel, craft project or movie. Spend a little downtime with a great new book, watch a film you’ve been meaning to see or settle in with a podcast and a knitting project. Enhance the relaxing mood with a crackling fire or lit candles, plus something hot to sip. Give yourself permission to put down the smartphone and fully unwind.