10 must-do New Year's resolutions for your home

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Tudors Down · the design column ·

Starting a New Year usually means starting a list of New Year's resolutions that everyone seems to have trouble sticking with. Diet? Check. Save more? Check. Land your dream job? Check. Often, our homes are the last thing on our minds when it comes to resolutions, but I think they should be at the top of our priorities given they are our little ‘nest' of space that is all our own. Making your home run smoother usually leads to a smoother running life. Here are my top ten New Years resolutions: Home Edition

1. Organize. This is an obvious choice but can be a daunting one depending on how long we've ‘let things go'. Don't worry about chronologically organizing your albums or things like that, but focus on my favorite mantra: A place for everything and everything in its place. Go through your belongings and group them together. Scarves in one basket, hats in another. Bills to be paid folder and another one for paperwork to be filed. Creating a place for everything leads to a cleaner house. Often messes pile up because we just don't know where to put everything.

2. Start a project. Nothing makes a home feel more like yours than changing it to suite your needs. Give new life to an otherwise unused or untouched room. You'd be amazed at how much a coat of paint can change things and may even get the ball rolling for future makeovers.

3. Get a handle on children's toys. My two-year-old daughter had more toys than she knows what to do with. Really, she just plays with the same five things repeatedly. Children nowadays tend to have too much stuff. Moreover, all that stuff can drive a parent mad- or anyone who is in charge of picking up toys. Encourage your child to go through their toys and donate whatever they don't express an interest in. Don't save things for later because they might change their minds. I guarantee when ‘later' arrives, they will have a whole handful of new toys to enjoy.

4. Finish a project. Checking projects off your mental to-do list in exhilarating. I aim to finish at least one big task a month. Finally, get your family photos in order. Now is the time to organize movies or music as well as frame and hang artwork. Trying to finish one of these smaller tasks is very doable on a month-to-month basis and motivates us to want to tackle more.

5. Make a list. Go room-by-room creating a list of everything you want to change about that room. Creating a master list makes it easier to see the work ahead of you and you may find that many things are very doable right now. Painting kitchen cabinets may have to wait, but painting trim is an easy afternoon project.

6. Make your home safer. Make sure your smoke detector is working and if you don't have a carbon dioxide detector-get one. Have your furnace checked because major safety issues can arise. Create an escape route with your family and have a list of emergency numbers readily available.

7. Buy a plant. This is one of the quickest, cheapest, easiest tasks you can accomplish. Bring life into your home. Having plants or flowers instantly brightens a room, and in turn, your mood. Plus, certain plants have air cleaning qualities- double bonus!

8. Resolve to be more energy efficient. Change light bulbs, unplug appliances, and turning off lights when not in use are all easy things you can do to improve energy resourcefulness. You can even go a step further by replacing appliances to more efficient ones or updating your furnace and A/C to save energy and money.

9. Buy yourself something. Don't think practical here. Buy something for your home you've always wanted but never allowed yourself to buy. Whether a new piece of artwork, a new vase, a set of fancy double old fashion glasses- buy something that makes you smile.

10. Learn to enjoy your home now. While your kitchen may be less than stellar or the wood paneling in your den makes your cringe, learn to enjoy the space for what it is now- the place you call home.


In October 2011, Sarah Meeks and her husband purchased their first house, a fixer-upper, which is located two doors down (hence, Tudors Down) from Sarah's childhood home. Besides blogging about home renovations and design, Meeks sells vintage home goods. For more design ideas, to purchase items from her Etsy shop and to watch her home transform from drab to fab, visit www.tudorsdownblog.com.