#1. De-Clutter Your Home and Yard
I know, I know, this resolution gets made every year...but I have a method for you to try that's easy, simple, and could actually work for you.
Every day for 1-3 months, pick just 2-5 items in your home that you no longer need or want. You can donate these items, sell them on a yard sale site, or throw them away, but just make sure that they are designated to leave your home forever. It's best if you have three piles or bags waiting for you to put the items in each day so they can't creep back to where they used to be.
Don't go overboard and try to empty a whole closet, storage tote, or attic in one day. Limit yourself to just a few items and you'll avoid the burnout that has happened in past years when you became overwhelmed and gave up your decluttering mission.
Some suggestions for items that may be ready to be discarded:
Children's clothing that is too small or ruined
Charging cords for items you no longer own or can find
Empty bottles of cleaning supplies
Food that has passed its expiration date
Clothes that you no longer enjoy wearing
Old towels, blankets, pillows, and sheets that are no longer used
Hair products that didn't work
Cooking pans and tools you never use
Baby care items and clothes if your children are older
Sporting goods that haven't been used in 2-3 years
Anything broken that you haven't had time to fix
Empty mason jars
Old VHS tapes and DVDs that your family no longer watches
Old board games and puzzles
Trophies that don't hold great sentimental value
Unnecessary duplicates (do you really need 13 5-gallon buckets, or would 2 be enough? What about those 4 snow shovels?)
Free t-shirts you received at events
Pet supplies for pets you no longer have
Another tip for decluttering? If you have too many sentimental items that are filling your home--such as trophies, certificates, souvenirs and clothing--consider taking high-quality photos of the items and making a digital scrapbook and then getting rid of the physical item. It doesn't work for everything, but it can be a good idea for many childhood awards and honors. You don't need to keep that 7th grade soccer jersey forever, but you'll want the memory preserved.
#2. Re-Decorate Your Home
Look around your home. When was the last time that you arranged that space to look how you wanted, rather than just letting it slowly fill up with more and more items that don't quite match or are no longer your style? If your home seems tired, dull, or dark, maybe it's time to to re-decorate a room or two.
Now, I don't mean that you should rip everything out of your home including the furniture, throw it in a dumpster, and then go on a wild shopping spree at a home decor store that leaves you bankrupt. We all may dream of such an extravagant shopping trip, but for most of us that is completely unreasonable.
Instead, choose just a few places in your home that aren't what you want them to be and start there. Maybe you have a mantel that has become completely filled with decorative plaques and tchotchkes? If so, take everything down, choose which items it is time to discard completely, and then put only your favorite items back up. If it is now just a little too empty, carefully select and buy a couple new items to refresh and revitalize the space. I personally love the current home decorating trend that favors simple decorating with only a few special pieces artfully arranged, rather than piles of decor stacked on multiple surfaces.
Another idea would be to decorate an area so it's actually more functional. Do you have an entryway in your home, but no real place to store car keys or coats? Think about buying a console table to hold keys and other small items, and a new wall rack to hold the jackets and coats of those coming and going in your home.
#3. Support Your Community
This resolution sounds overwhelming, but it doesn't have to be! You don't have to do everything, just make an effort to do a few small things throughout the year that will support and give back to your community and you will have a year to be proud of.
Some ideas for ways that you can be involved and serve your community are listed below:
Attend high school productions, fundraisers, and sporting events. You don’t need to go to very many, but your tickets sales if you ever have time to go contribute to the organizations’ ability to fund other activities. Go to that play! Watch that basketball game! It’s only a couple of dollars, and it helps the children continue doing what they love.
Support local businesses! When possible, shop at local stores to find what you need before you look online. Sometimes buying online is necessary because of availability and price, but you’d be amazed at how many high quality and affordable items are available right here in the Uintah Basin. When you shop local, you help your neighbors make a living and provide for their family, and they will be able to return the favor by supporting your workplace.
Perform small acts of service. We don’t all have the time or skills to organize large events or raise millions of dollars to cure diseases, but we can all make an effort to do a few small things throughout the year. Shovel snow off of a neighbor's sidewalk when you are already outside doing your own. Double a recipe and take dinner to someone who doesn’t have time to cook. Volunteer to carpool your child’s teammates to a practice so the other parents can have a small break. All the things that make good neighbors make for strong and loving communities.
Attend free community events—sometimes it’s about the support your attendance can provide, not financial support.