Clean less: I don't like cleaning and I'm sure I'm not alone in saying this. Even if I enjoy parts of it, I certainly don't want to spend my whole weekend cleaning. And although I've tried, I've learned that my house won't clean itself but that a few simple mantras — putting things away when I'm done with them (this covers everything from doing the dishes right after dinner to making the bed as soon as I get up); and doing a little bit every day whether that's dusting or damp mopping or a little bit of laundry, leaves my free time free to do the things I really want to use my home for. It's a great feeling knowing that I can really relax in my home without that little voice nagging at me to get up and do the laundry. If you're looking for ways to clean less, try How To Clean Your House in 20 Minutes a Day for 30 Days or Fly Lady: Love It or Hate It?.
Bring nature indoors: Whether it's flowers, a plant, or a bowl of gleaming oranges, bringing the outdoor inside is not only beautiful, it reminds me that I co-exist on this planet with other living things. As the oranges are eaten or I bring in new flowers, I'm also actively using my home and bringing life into it — even if it's a week where I've been out of the house every night. I love the excitement of going to get flowers once a week wondering what's in season and that, too, keeps me in touch with what's out there beyond my little world.
Entertain more: What is a home for if not to fill it with the people you care about? This year I'm going to encourage my friends to come over more often. I'm going to examine how my home is set up and figure out how I can make it more casual and livable. Being prepared for guests, knowing that I always have a bottle of wine ready to open, a little pasta and some sauce in the pantry, cookie dough frozen into balls in the freezer, means I can easily say, "Come over for dinner," without it being a big production. Because that big production is what prevents me from having people over more often. I'm taking a look around my house and asking myself if I can easily have a few friends over for dinner or cocktails or make room for a sleepover guest on my couch.
Do those projects I've been thinking about or forget about them: Whether it's a drawing you've been meaning to have framed, that chair whose stuffing is starting to show, the leaky faucet or the crack in the ceiling, I'm making plans to have them fixed and if I don't do it in a timely manner, I'm just going to live with them and accept them as the little quirks that make my home unique. A home is, after all, to be lived in and it's better to live with a few creaky drawers than to feel guilty that you don't have the time or money to get them fixed.