5 home life resolutions for a calmer 2019
- Credit: PA
Our houses are our sanctuaries - so any New Year goals must surely start there, says Abi Jackson.
There’s no point setting yourself up for needless guilt and self-worth bashing by subscribing to cliched New Year resolutions. But if a bit of healthy goal-setting as January rolls in is your bag, how about starting with some simple measures at home?
Your nest is the foundation of so much else in your life, after all. Get this right, and those positive vibes can flow through into other aspects of your day-to-day, plus there are so many home goals we can set that are relatively realistic and achievable, but still add up to a big difference.
Ready to set those New Year resolutions? Start at home with these five suggestions...
1. Have a ‘one in, one out’ rule
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No, we’re not suggesting turning your lounge into a nightclub or opening a glitzy speakeasy in the basement (although that would be cool). This is about getting ruthless with how much ‘stuff’ you let into your home. There’s nothing wrong with enjoying lovely things - but if you are dedicated to the idea of living in a less wasteful world and clutter drives you crazy, it helps to have some strategies in place.
Rather than mindlessly buying new things, take time to regularly assess what’s already in your wardrobe/stuffed in drawers and cabinets/on your shelves. Could adopting a ‘one in, one out’ rule encourage you to think about new purchases a little more, and make for a calmer, more orderly space? We’re less likely to make unnecessary impulse buys that way, plus we can keep in the habit of passing on things we no longer want or use, to somebody who will appreciate them. Good karma and less mess - double win!
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2. Prioritise good ventilation
Mould and damp and ‘Toxic Home Syndrome’ are genuine health concerns that can sometimes be very serious, ranging from niggling coughs and headaches, to conditions like asthma and lung diseases. It’s basically about the air quality inside the homes and buildings we live in, and while sometimes there are bigger issues involved (such as factors involving the structure and building materials), ventilation plays a key part too. It’s surprisingly easy to go weeks or even months without opening windows, especially during the colder months - but stagnant indoor air, especially if you’re drying laundry indoors and using chemical-laden household products, isn’t ideal. So give the health of your home and your body a boost by pledging to prioritise a good, regular airing.
3. Resurrect those bath-time rituals
Bath vs shower water waste stats are often bandied around. Some of the most commonly cited figures are that the average bath uses 80-litres of hot water, while the average shower uses 62-litres - implying showers are far better for the planet and our energy bills. It’s not as black and white as that, though. Firstly, the 62-litres applies to an eight-minute shower. So if you’re shaving your legs in there, deep-conditioning your hair or simply like a longer soak, then you could easily be using way more water by showering. Plus, if your home has a power shower, water output increases rapidly. We’re not advocating recklessly wasting water, but enjoying a bath really shouldn’t be seen as a guilty indulgence.
For many of us, it’s an easy way to weave some meaningful self-care and calm into our busy, over-stimulated lives and reconnect with a very basic but important human need: That our homes are our safe havens. These little practices can have a big impact on our overall wellbeing and mindset - so add ‘weekly bath’ to your home life to-do list and soak in bliss!
4. Create a life admin regime
A home office might be a bit of a stretch for many of us, but a ‘life admin area’ could be a realistic addition to our homes that might help transform us into super-organised goddesses of serene efficiency in 2019 (well, you’ve got to at least start optimistically). All it requires is some sort of storage (a drawer, box, folder - whatever fits your needs) and a dedicated place for it - this is where you’ll file all those letters/statements/receipts, etc, as and when they land. Keep a log of that week’s tasks on a to-do list or planner (also kept in this ‘life admin area’), and then commit to, say, 45 minutes a week when you’ll sit down and tick off that week’s tasks.
It sounds so simple and obvious but, honestly, how many of us actually stick to such sensible sounding ideas? If you’re anything like us, it’s far more likely that you’ve mastered the art of avoiding life admin until the very last minute - by which point you need to spend half a day hunting down that hastily stashed-away paperwork, before you can even get going with the task in hand. We’re suckers for repeating the same punishing patterns over and over again - but think of the stress and time we could save by making life admin a regular job, like running the vacuum over the carpets.
5. Slash packaging waste
We’ve all seen images of those terrifying ‘trash islands’ floating on our oceans. Recycling, reusing and reducing waste is vital, and can also can start at home. It might be buying your fruit and veg loose and taking it home in paper bags to skip the plastic; taking a packed lunch to work; batch-cooking dinners so you can plot your food shopping more carefully (meaning less packaging and food waste).
Some days, convenience takes priority and we can’t all afford the organic market. That’s OK - just do what you can, when you can - it all adds up.