January 10th, 2018

Houzz

How to Simplify Your Life, All Year Long


By Laura Gaskill

If you’re hoping to make 2018 the year you finally simplify your life, here is a month-by-month guide to making your home feel more spacious and your schedule lighter. Take a look now to see which projects you might want to put on your list, and then save it to your ideabook to keep it handy throughout the seasons.

Photo by Nanette Wong

January

  • Clear clutter from your home this month, starting with the living room. Use a timer to stay focused, and clear clutter in short bursts.
  • Set a resolution to let go of two things for every new item you bring into your home.
  • Consolidate appointments, birthdays and to-dos on one master calendar (either paper or electronic), and toss the scraps.
  • Find out the location and hours of a local organization that accepts household donations, an e-waste drop-off site and a hazardous materials (e.g., leftover paint and motor oil) collection point, and store the information in your phone. Check Earth911.com to find recycling facilities in your area.
Photo by Enkelrum

February

  •  Give your bedroom a thorough cleaning and decluttering to create the ultimate sleep cave.
  • Look at your schedule and let go of commitments that are not necessary and are no longer bringing you joy.
  • Carve out several islands of unplugged time each day to be in nature, chat with a friend or simply sit down and savor a cup of hot tea.
Photo by Cummings Architects

March

  • Set up a simple system for handling incoming paper: sort mail at the door, immediately tossing junk into a recycling bin and placing the rest in a clearly defined drop spot, like a basket or file.
  • Streamline paper files, shredding and recycling documents you no longer need.
  • Back up computer files (including digital photos) with a combination of cloud-based storage and an external hard drive.
  • Automate your savings and bill payments where possible, to cut down on paper (and make your life a bit easier).
Photo by greige/Fluegge Interior Design, Inc.

April

  •  Visit your local farmers market to shop for fresh spring fruits and veggies, honey and other local products. Find a farmers market near you at LocalHarvest.org.
  • Simplify your cleaning routine with easy daily habits, like wiping down the bathroom sink and mirror after your morning shower.
  • Pick one or two common kitchen disposable items to swap for reusables; for instance, trade paper napkins for cloth, and plastic water bottles for stainless steel.
Photo by STUDIO ENVIE

May

  •  Spring is a wonderful time to treat yourself to fresh flowers. Look for lilacs, hydrangeas (shown here) or peonies at your local market, and bring home a bundle.
  • Clear clutter from around and under your kitchen sink. Replace only the products you regularly use, and set out a fresh kitchen towel and sponge.
  • Skip the car, and take a walk in your neighborhood. Try a cafe, restaurant or shop you’ve never been in before.

June

  •  Do an end-of-school roundup of kids’ artwork and papers. Store favorites in a portfolio, or scan them and have the images compiled into a book; recycle the rest.
  • Add casual touches for summer: Store rolled-up beach towels by the door, keep flip-flops handy in a basket and designate space on the kitchen counter for a self-serve breakfast station.
Photo by ESM Architects

July

  •  Eat outdoors. Grilling on the weekend is an easy way to entertain — but it can make weeknight meals feel special too.
  • Keep weekends unscheduled when possible. Give yourself some breathing space to just relax, read or play with the dog.
  • Great weather and an abundance of affordable in-season produce and free outdoor activities make July a good time to try a buy-less month. As a fun and beneficial challenge, focus on simple pleasures and free activities within your community.
Photo by Enkelrum

August

  •  Declutter your wardrobe. Before you do fall shopping, take the time to weed out unwanted items from your wardrobe and make note of gaps you’d like to fill.
  • Revamp your morning coffee or tea routine. Get your morning off to a good start with a well-made cup of coffee or tea, and a restful place to enjoy it.

September

  •  Host a harvest swap with friends and neighbors. Catch up while you trade zucchini for tomatoes and come away with a variety of delicious, hyper-local produce.
  • Get cozy for fall with warm covers on the beds, a soft throw on the couch, good books to read and simple, natural decor like branches of fall leaves or a bowl full of apples.
Photo by Hudson Valley Staging & Redesign

October

  •  Do some big-batch cooking, and stock your freezer with homemade meals. Your future weeknight self will thank you!
  • Cozy up your front porch. Add charming seasonal details, from a new chair pillow to a pumpkin, to help your porch transition from summer to fall.
  • Savor a fun fall tradition like picking apples in an orchard, taking a leaf-peeping drive or enjoying a picnic in a local park.
Photo by Birgitte Pearce Design

November

  •  Start a gratitude project. With a paper journal or note on your phone, begin listing little things that make you happy.
  • Sort through your digital photos from this year, and order prints or photo books of your favorites.
  • If you’re hosting Thanksgiving dinner, be prepared in advance: Clean the bathroom, get the shopping done, make a cooking schedule and delegate other tasks.
  • Give back. Pick a local organization with a cause that’s close to your heart, and donate what you can: time, money or items it needs.
Photo by Margaret Wright Photography

December

  • Start with a clean kitchen. Clear out the pantry, fridge and freezer to make room for party food and Christmas cookies. Scrub surfaces, and keep counters clear so you have plenty of room to cook.
  • Simplify your holiday: Set intentions for the experience you want to have during the holiday season, and keep them in mind as you decide which traditions and events to include in your schedule.
  • Set aside time to care for yourself and rest. Give yourself permission to take a nap, soak in a bubble bath or cozy up in your favorite chair with a good book.

 

Original source: Houzz.

Read original article here.

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