With some families taking days, weeks, or even months to prepare, the stress and anticipation brought on by the holiday season are enough to wear anyone out. Maintaining your physical environment can contribute positively to the chain of wellbeing that ultimately benefits both your body and mind. Whether you’re fighting the post-holiday clutter or just looking for a fresh start to the year, here are some tips to renew your surroundings, declutter your mental space, and bring intention back into your home.
Sort & Declutter
It’s important to evaluate your current living environment before changing anything major. Start by gathering old items you no longer have use for and preparing them for donation. Properly donating, recycling, or disposing of possessions you no longer need can help ease consumer guilt and packrat habits while also making room for new goods received around the holidays. If your space looks cluttered, your mindset might be as well, so use this time to sort through the rest of your home’s trouble spots. Junk drawers, closets, and lesser-seen rooms of the house (e.g., the attic or basement) often become catchalls for those items we need out of sight and out of mind.
Stress-Causing Clutter Comes In Several Forms
Dedicate time to sort last year’s finances to help you prepare for 2022. There’s never a wrong time to create a monthly budget, get caught up on bills, and declutter for the year ahead. Set goals for you and your family to create healthy spending and organizational habits. A few ideas include:
- Going paperless on all of your bills and banking statements
- Starting—or contributing further to—a college fund for your children
- Preparing for tax season and gathering the required documents
- Ensuring that your investments and emergency funds are sufficient and in order
Food storage is another area of the home that often gets overlooked. Be sure to clear out your fridge of holiday leftovers and expired goods, and wipe down shelves and drawers of any spills. Organize your items and determine which perishables need to be used as soon as possible. Planning meals around these goods is a great way to cook with greater intention and less waste.
It’s also important to sort your pantry for food and kitchen items that you could throw out or donate. Wipe your shelves and start an inventory list for the goods you have enough of to avoid stocking up on multiples that might go unused.
Choose A Passion Project For Your Home
Now, more than ever, there’s an opportunity to put some TLC back into your home. You can scale your project to best fit your lifestyle, goals, or budget, allowing you to develop a space that’s entirely your own.
If interested in a smaller project, consider creating a “nook” in your home that can act as a safe, quiet, and/or engaging space for you to enter when needing a sense of comfort. These can also make for excellent sensory areas for kids who need to regroup. Corners, alcoves, window benches, and other semi-enclosed areas of the home are great places to set up a nook. This space can carry whatever purpose or ambiance your family chooses and can even come with its own set of rules (e.g., being a mandatory quiet area for all who enter).
Refresh a Room
A medium-scale passion project for your home could be to redo a room that your family spends a lot (or too little) time in. Themed rooms are growing in popularity with families who might want to designate a space for things such as movies, game nights, sports, or art. You don’t need to choose a theme when refreshing a space, just consider your needs and wants for the room. Move furniture around from other parts of the house, experiment with hanging fixtures, or invest in a unique feature that the whole family can enjoy. Too far from the kitchen? Create a mini snack bar or add a drinks fridge for entertaining.
Find a Clean Slate
A larger project example would be looking for an entirely fresh start in a new house. Your family may have outgrown its current living circumstances or might need room for working and learning at home more consistently. Perhaps the kids have moved away, and you’re ready to rightsize your space. Try to set a timeline for your move and stay up-to-date with how the housing market fluctuates. In the spirit of financial organization, be sure to get a mortgage preapproval to secure your budget and find a home that’s the right fit for you. Doing so can help streamline the rest of the house-hunting process for you and your family.
Small Details that Make a Big Difference
Passion projects aren’t your only option when renewing your physical environment. Small touches can often restore minor imbalances to your home that may have caused subconscious stressors.
Try switching over to energy-efficient bulbs, making sure the correlated color temperature is the same across fixtures (e.g., cool or warm) and fits the intended ambiance of the room. If walls seem dulled, dark, or chipping away, lighten things up with a fresh coat of paint and primer or use mirrors to make the area appear more open. Hang drapes above the top of your windows to create the illusion of a taller space and have fun playing with color and texture in your furniture and decor.
Your House and Your Mind Should Both be “Home”
The season carries with it a lot of outside stressors. Holiday pressures, imperfect families, new year’s resolutions, and even climate-heavy mental health issues such as Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) can leave your mind foggy and your head spinning. That’s why it’s important to have something to look forward to that will have lasting positive effects on your year and help your space reflect your personal growth as an individual or family unit. Experiment with different tasks and projects until you find what works best to bring some life back into your home and sturdiness back into your mindset.