I’ve got mixed feelings about new year's resolutions. Part of me loves that enticing promise of a fresh start that the new year offers, but it’s a double-edged sword, walking a fine line between it presenting itself as an opportunity or a pressure. Because on top of all the Christmas organising mayhem, who needs any extra pressure at this time of year?
One way I try to keep myself organised and on track is with a bullet journal. I’ve been bullet journaling for a few years now and it's a key part of my Sunday reset. For anyone who hasn’t heard of a bullet journal before, it’s really just a trendy name for a hardworking notebook. You take a plain notebook or journal (I favour Papier's dotted notebooks) and fashion it into your perfect, custom organiser. Mine ticks a number of boxes: monthly planner, weekly diary , to do list. I also use it to capture other things like a list of the books I read (because I can never remember otherwise!), savings and habit trackers and a cleaning calendar.
The first spread in my bullet journal every year is for goals and resolutions. But this year I'm ditching resolutions and opting for 'anti-resolutions' instead. I've read that deciding what you're not going to do is more likely to result in successful change than making yet another resolution that falls to the wayside a couple of months into the new year. And so I'm giving anti-resolutions a go. It's about cutting out bad habits, which (hopefully) leaves more time and energy to start better ones.
5 anti-resolutions for my home
For example instead of making a resolution to keep my bedroom tidy, I could pledge that I am not going to dump my clothes on the chair when I go to bed.
With that in mind, here are the anti-resolutions for my home that I'm making this year.
1. Stop leaving dirty dishes overnight
There's nothing worse than coming down in the morning to a stack of dirty plates, mugs and glasses next to the sink. And yet it's something that happens on an (almost) daily basis in my house.
I want to start the day feeling more positive, and creating a clean and clear environment will set the tone for the whole day. Keeping the sink area clean is something people with tidy kitchens always do, and that's my ultimate goal. I'm pretty good at keeping the surfaces clear (despite having ditched wall cabinets in my new kitchen), and this anti-resolution is aimed at tackling the main clutter culprit in this room.
If I have time I'd like to do a full closing shift clean, but if that's not possible then spending ten minutes doing the washing up before heading up to bed is a must for me in 2024.
2. Don't start a new project before finishing the last one
This is a classic in my house. My husband and I are not completer-finishers, much preferring the excitement of starting a new renovation project to finishing the snagging list left from the last one. Case in point: my new kitchen was finished nearly a year ago, and I've still only done a second coat of paint on some of the walls, not all. Same deal with my black living room where I ran out of time to get a final coat on one section of wall and never went back to finish it.
In fact, I don't think there's a single 'finished' room in our house. A resolution to finish the snagging list would end up so unachievable, it would get quickly put aside. But making sure I don't continue to add to the long list of unfinished tasks this year is a great anti-resolution that should give us the momentum we need to inch closer to a fully renovated home.
3. Don't dump my clothes on a chair before I go to bed
I think I vow every year to keep my bedroom tidy (and given I'm in my forties now, that's a lot of years of promising the same thing). The biggest clutter hotspot in my room by far is an armchair that's optimistically in there to create a reading nook, but in reality becomes my dumping spot for clothes all week until I finally clear it all away on a Sunday, before the cycle starts again. And the first step to banishing the bedroom clothes chair is to stop dumping clothes on it!
This is a perfect home anti-resolution: achievable because it's so specific. Organising the wardrobe is too broad, whereas stopping creating bedroom clutter in the first place should lead to better tidying habits overall.
4. Stop impulse shopping
Or with my anti-resolution aim of being more specific:
- Don't hit 'checkout' on anything until it's been in my basket for at least 48 hours
- Don't shop after 8.30pm
All the brilliant shopping apps, and quick delivery options make impulse shopping easier than ever, and I'm always looking for speedy solutions to a problem, and am an absolute sucker for a clever drawer organiser or miracle cleaning product (particularly on social media).
But often what I buy isn't the perfect answer I was looking for, and I know that if I had spent a little longer considering all the available options (or dealing with the root cause of the problem eg I've got too much stuff, rather than it needing to be better organised) I probably wouldn't make the same purchase.
I've bought storage boxes that don't fit onto the shelf they were intended for, trend-led homeware that doesn't fit with my existing colour scheme, and even tins of paint without trying out a tester first. I think I bought three different types of solutions for storing shoes, before settling on an over-the-door shoe rack like this shoe organiser from Amazon that has helped get our hallway organised. Had I paused and given this problem more thought before hitting 'buy', I'd have saved myself time, money and stress.
5. Don't unpack the shopping without cleaning the fridge first
Having an organised fridge is the stuff of my dreams, and 2024 is the year it's going to happen thanks to this simple anti-resolution. We are guilty of unloading the weekly food shop straight into the fridge every week, despite good intentions of giving it a good sort out first. We even have special organisers (drinks can dispenser and an under-shelf organiser drawer I use for garlic and chillis, both from Amazon)
This is the bad habit I want to quit, and the good habit that I hope will be the result is a well-organised and clean fridge, which will in turn cut down on food waste, and save us money in the process. Win win.
These are the top five anti-resolutions on my list, but I may well add a few more. The concept of quitting the negative to make space for the positive feels really freeing and has me hooked! I wholeheartedly recommend giving it a go yourself.
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Heather Young has been Ideal Home’s Editor since late 2020, and Editor-In-Chief since 2023. She is an interiors journalist and editor who’s been working for some of the UK’s leading interiors magazines for over 20 years, both in-house and as a freelancer.
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