New Year’s resolutions usually fall under the category of appearance: lose weight, get a better wardrobe, quit smoking (an oxygen tank is so not fashionable). This may shock you but according to the US Government’s list of popular New Year’s Resolutions, “Reduce, Reuse, Recycle” is number 12. Fireworks are going off somewhere in honor of that little fact.
So, Eve of Reduction has put together a little list of resolutions to help you minimize, declutter and reduce. And guess what? All of these actions will affect your appearance. How you ask? Well, having less stuff actually gives you more energy. And with more energy you will feel like doing pilates or shoveling the driveway. Less clutter means less stress. So instead of holding onto something, let it go and feel how good extra space and organization feels!
10 Ways to Minimize in the New Year
1. Return gifts you don’t want. Don’t tuck them into a dark corner. Actually go to the store and return them or exchange for something useful to you. Can’t obtain the receipt or find where it came from, regift it immediately. Surprise someone. That feels good, too.
2. Donate things that are obsolete. Take a basket and walk around your house like you are shopping, except you’ll be “shopping” for useless clutter and that basket and all its contents will be driven to the nearest donation portal ASAP. No looking back; very little evaluating along the way.
3. Clean out your car to the point that it looks like a rental. This means zero coffee cups, zero toys and zero random articles of clothing. Your car is not a storage unit on wheels.
4. Reduce your energy usage. Start with weatherizing any areas in your home where heat is escaping. Next, unplug things you don’t use on a daily basis. Swap out your energy sucking light bulbs. That’s a good start.
5. Reduce your water usage. Does this mean replace old toilets and washing machines? Maybe. Or there are simple things like fixing a leaky faucet or reuse water throughout your house and garden. Here are more ways to save water from Water Use It Wisely.
6. Loose some of the knick-knacks. They may not be obsolete, but they take up space and time (as in dusting, arranging). White space is calming. Try rotating your collections rather than overwhelming your mantel.
7. Be loyal to your new technology. When my father got a DVR he got rid of all his DVDs. Even I was impressed with this purge. But, it’s true. Digital media is here to stay. Get totally on board and loose all the other decades devices. Here’s a fun project for upcycling old DVD cases to help get organized.
8. Get creative with your keepsakes. Anything sentimental is the hardest to get rid of, so I’m not going to be an insensitive jerk and suggest you just box up the baby clothes or your grandmother’s needlework and send it to pasture. But, I will challenge you to get creative with it. Maybe this means creating a hanging rack where you can display one important piece. Or you make a quilt, collage or mosaic out it. If there is so much that it’s filling a closet, why not take photos and make it into a book (like through Snapfish) or ask your relatives if they would like to have it.
9. Limit incoming clutter. Unless you carefully control the stuff coming into your home, minimizing what you already have is like shoveling when it’s snowing. (Can you tell I live in Buffalo?) Some simple solutions are to cut back on magazine subscriptions or switch to e-magazines, and shop with a list and stick to it.
10. Don’t take on more than you can maintain. In 2013 my husband and I considered getting a pool. We milled it over for a week and came up with concerns like all the trees in our yard. Did we want to loose our privacy, shade and take on another expense? I call this the lifecycle of a purchase. Think about the long term before deciding in the short term.
And if you missed it, here are the 23 Fun New Year’s Interview Questions to ask yourself and your kids.
Thank you for a great 2013! Have a wonderful 2014 free of waste, stress and clutter.
If you’re looking for some minimalist reading material in the new year, check out the Eve of Reduction Free Seasonal E-Newsletter; Extra tips and wit on Facebook; Reduction Beauty on Pinterest ; The debut DIY lifestyle book (includes 10 upcycling tutorials); and the guide to creative streams of income ebook (only $2.99).