Mid-January is about the time I usually get around to making resolutions, goals, intentions, or what-have-you for the year ahead. Right after New Year's I'm often too tired, jet lagged, hungover, or busy to deal with self improvement, but by this time I've managed to take stock of the past year and lay some blueprints for the next one. Read on for my home-specific plans for the next 12 months.
1. Find The Right Balance Between Spending And Saving
I'm a renter, and I've made no secret of the fact that, more than anything else in the world, I'd like to own my own home. 2015 saw me saving as much of my income as possible while anxiously watching the London property market accelerate at an an impossible-to-keep-with pace. I've struggled to find the sweet spot between saving for my someday home and investing in my life now, but as I head into my fifth(?!) year in my beloved South London flat, I figure it's time to get it right.
So I'll continue to resist the almost-daily urge to buy new dining chairs and the unrealistic daydreams about custom window treatments. But that bare wall that's been driving me crazy for two years? Or the sad, scratched roasting tray I'm pretty sure is flaking chemicals into all my dinners? I'll do something about those things. You heard it here: 2016 is all about balance.
2. Focus On The Good
A lot of my friends ask me, if I'm so focused on having my own space to decorate, why I don't rent an unfurnished apartment by myself as a halfway measure? But that would cost quite a bit more than I'm paying now, and as I'm unwilling to give up saving money (or my awesome flatmate—who would I watch Sherlock with?!), I'm staying put.
There are loads of things I love about my home: the huge kitchen window that affords excellent morning people-watching; the south-facing balcony full of green, despite my black thumb and persistent neglect; and the proximity to friends, green space, and my favorite brunch spot in all of London. My next home might not have any of this stuff, so I'm resolving to appreciate it now.
3. Less Stuff, Fewer Problems
I know everyone else on the planet spent 2015 KonMari-ing their homes into oblivion, but I only picked up the bestseller recently and devoured it on the red-eye home from New York City after New Year's (possibly the reason I was too jet-lagged to think about goals before now). While I'm not a complete convert—is it necessary for my Tupperware to spark joy? What about my razor?—I have been enjoying a thorough clear-out in the weeks since, and I'm loving the leaner, lighter feeling my home has as a result. I'm making it a point to remember this while I'm out and about, surrounded by all the January sales.
4. Fill It With People (Not Things)
So if not oodles of new stuff, then what? 2015 for me was meant to be the Year of the Dinner Party, and while I did do "fancy entertaining" a fair few times, more often than not the expense, time commitment and resulting stress caused me to eschew it. I found that having friends over for brunch or evening nibbles pre-bar was much easier and more satisfying, so I'll be carrying that through to the new year. Because even if your gatherings aren't Pinterest-perfect, it's nice to fill your home with the things (read: people) that really matter.
(Image credits: Sophie Timothy; Nancy Mitchell; Esteban Cortez; Marcia Prentice)