At the beginning of a new year, many people decide to make things right in their world -- they work on getting a new job, partner, or haircut -- and their objective depends on where they think their problems lie. Since you're reading these sentences, you may feel that some changes to your home are in order.
You can get the new year off to a good start and feel better in your home, even if you're still burned out by the end of the year hoopla, if you:
- Keep your home clean. You'll feel better about your place and being there if it's tidy - and you'll be broadcasting the message that your life is under control to everyone who enters, including you. That helps keep stress levels low. And all that scrubbing 'til it shines will generate endorphins that will buoy up your mood and help shed unwanted pounds. Isn't everyone on a diet this time of year?
- Minimize the clutter. Totally banishing clutter is often impossible, but it can usually be reduced. Seeing clutter really does make us tense. Also, all the piles and debris (be real, you know when souvenirs and art become annoying litter that impedes forward motion) can keep you from accomplishing what you want to do in a space - from balancing your checkbook or doing yoga to moving from one chair to another.
- Look around and try some easy fixes first, before you call in the demolition crew and the contractors. Often, a new coat of paint on the walls can make a room more comfortable. Same with some fresh throw pillows on the couch or a new pair of drapes. Things that are obviously worn out - such as threadbare rugs - should be the first candidates for replacement; they're demoralizing.
- Express yourself. Make sure that the place where you live says the things about your life that you want other people to know. While you're sending messages to others, you'll be reminding yourself what's important to you, and that helps you keep your life on an even keel. Fancy that you're a sailor? Add a model sailboat to the décor. Do you volunteer to improve the world? Put up a photo of yourself in this mode. Not a chef, but have an expensive collection of pots and pans hanging from an overhead rack in your open-plan kitchen? Find those pots and pans a new home. A place that tells your story is a place that will make your life better.
- Decorate in a style that makes you happy and relaxed. Who cares if your taste matches what is being displayed in the high-end furniture stores? If sitting on wicker furniture makes you blissful, fill your living room with it - even if most people you know would banish it to the sun porch. You live in your home, so please yourself.
- Cue people in to desired behavior. People read messages in their environment to determine what they should do there. For example: Do you prefer peaceful meals in your dining room? Put a tablecloth on the dining table then, even if it has a great finish you love showing off. That tablecloth will make people think about observing those rules of etiquette that were so important to their mother when they were growing up.
- Let the daylight in. All of your other problems may evaporate in the sunlight if you open the drapes - daylight boosts our mood and helps us think great thoughts.
You can have a happy new year in your home -- keep it clean, reduce the clutter, let it send the right messages, and pull up the shades!
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