I'm sure I'm not alone in admitting that I break most of my New Year's resolutions before the end of January rolls around. Halfway through the month I'm mainlining sugar, I've slacked off at the gym, and I'm still up at two am, surfing the web or Twittering. And that resolve to keep my home clean and organized? Gone. These are the kind of resolutions that never work for me. Better? Small changes that have big impact. Especially in my home.
A few years ago, it was thirty days of making sure all my dishes were done before I went to bed. Waking up in the morning and not having to deal with a pile of smelly, dirty dishes made my day just that much better. At least I left the house with a smile on my face. After that, I resolved to make my bed every day for a month. To make it easier on myself, I got rid of the top sheet and just used a fitted sheet and a duvet. Making the bed involved little more than straightening out the covers. Even if I had a pile of clothes on the chair, the bedroom looked neat, calm and inviting and I drifted off to sleep with a smile on my face. I joined Apartment Therapy and heeded Maxwell's call to buy weekly flowers. There is nothing like a vase of flowers to make you feel pampered and extravagant. Are you sensing a pattern here?
This year I've decided I'm going to clear my desk off every night (even if that means shoving everything into a pretty box to deal with in the morning) so that I don't feel stressed when I walk by my desk on the way to the kitchen "after hours". If I can keep it up for a month, I've come to learn, it'll be a habit for life (and no, I don't have to be perfect — if I skip it one night, that's cool).
What can you do? Make it small and specific — straightening up the coffee table every night, clearing off the bathroom counter before you leave for work, putting the paper in the recycling bin at the end of the day, sorting through your mail as soon as you get it — and log it in the comments. I'll meet you back here February 6th to see how you've done and report on my progress.
Image: Katy Nida from Trace & Lisa's Eclectic Living on Capitol Hill