Home Design Resolutions for The New Year

By Ibu Jenny

Too many things weighing you down? It’s amazing how quickly we can accumulate ‘stuff’ without realising it; it’s so much easier to bring things into our homes than to take them out. When we first bring home a new item, we find the perfect spot for it and enjoy its presence. After a while, we get used to or stop using it. Then finally, in a formidable form of self-hypnosis, we fail to see it even when in plain sight. (And don’t get me started on all that stuff hidden away out of sight and out of mind).

Here’s a thought. How about reframing our New Year’s resolutions for 2019 away from common themes of eating less and exercising more, and instead cast a critical eye on what I call ‘clutter creep’ — the tendency all loved homes have to ‘collect’. The new year is the perfect time to edit your space, and lose some of that heavy home weight. Here are a few ideas on what to do in January to refresh and renew your home, and keep those intentions throughout the year.

Declutter your space
Be relentless! Challenge yourself to ditch, recycle or donate anything you haven’t used, or that hasn’t seen the light of day in the past year. Kick-start by looking for things that you’ll find easy to let go, such as expired foods and medicines, dated magazines and dog-eared books, and anything that’s broken, stained, chipped or cracked. Then tackle one room at a time…or even one surface if the thought of an entire room sounds overwhelming.

Think of this as purging anything unloved. Ask “Do I love this item? Do I use it regularly?” Or “Does this give me joy?” as Marie Kondo advocates — she of best-selling The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying fame and, according to Time magazine, one of the world’s 100 most influential people. If the answer is no, or if you hesitate even slightly, remove it. Clear away/purge anything that no longer fits the function, suits your aesthetic, has any relevance to your lifestyle, or gives you a jolt of pleasure. Of these, gift to a friend anything that holds meaning or value to you, so it can continue to give joy (just to someone else). Anything else with life left in it, give to the Smile Shop, BAWA or yayasans collecting for vulnerable communities in need.

Declutter your wardrobe
Still have that too-small dress you dream of squeezing into one day? That seen-better-days shirt you might possible wear at some point? Be ruthless with your wardrobe. Bin anything with moth holes, shoulder pads or the lingering scent of mould. Put aside items that don’t fit, are the wrong colour, or were an insane under-the-influence impulse purchase; donate them to a yayasan, or arrange a clothes swap with friends. (We’ve been doing this for a few years now; it’s great fun to gather over tea, cakes and stronger stuff, try on new items, and take home a new-to-you wardrobe. One person’s cast-offs are another’s treasures.)

Change your viewpoint
Once you’ve decluttered, it’s easier to see the wood for the trees. Now you can have fun moving things around. By all means rearrange the furniture if you feel like pushing the boundaries of your new space. Or freshen a room by simply changing what’s in your line of sight from the bed, sofa or dining table; shifting a few books, decorative items and plants from room to room can make all the difference.
Let your space support your personal aims
Now your space is streamlined, see how it can be tweaked further to support your own resolutions for the New year. Want to develop a daily at-home yoga or meditation practice? Designate an unused corner of a room as a permanent place for your mat and meditation alter. Drawn to spending more time in creative pursuits? Repurpose a space – or even a surface – as your designated painting/sewing area. The simplest act of making space will help keep you on track.

Stay clutter-free all year round
Once you’ve got organised, intend to stay organised! Resolve to continue letting go throughout the year. As a reminder, keep a donation box in your wardrobe, so you can immediately put to one side anything you come across that you no longer use, fit or want. And when the box is full, donate it to the Smile Shop.

Adopt the 1-2 rule
Think twice about what you choose to bring in. Keep your space uncluttered throughout the year by committing to the “one in, two out” rule i.e. for every new item you add to your space, get rid of two items. Just had to buy that Jenggala bowl? Donate or ditch a couple of plates that have seen better days. Acquired a must-read book from Ganesha? Pay it forward by giving a few finished novels to their second-hand section for someone else to enjoy.

Be more eco-conscious
Take a look at some of the eco-conscious decisions you could make around the home, and explore how you could reduce the amount of rubbish your household generates. If you haven’t already, start composting kitchen scraps. Buy a Kopernik filter so you can do away with Aqua bottles. Recycle where possible, and engage an organisation like Eco Bali for responsible waste collection.

Simplify your inner space
Congratulations — you’ve cleared so much stuff that may have energetically been weighing you down! So how about spending quality time in your spruced-up space with a digital detox? For a few hours or a few days every week, sign off social media, switch off your smartphone, unplug the computer…. and reconnect with the simple pleasure of enjoying precious ‘down’ time.

After all that decluttering, how about cleaning, do I hear you ask? I am taking UK Sunday Times columnist India Knight’s advice: “If you want to clean something, go and lie in the bath with a glass of wine.” A toast to making resolutions you can stick with!

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Copyright © 2019 Ibu Jenny

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