5 New Year's Resolutions for Easy Living

Its almost New Year's Eve and around this time of the year, we begin thinking about the habits we need to drop, the importance to improve our diet, meditate and exercise more and overall improve ourselves.  It is also an excellent time to think of how to tweak our habits at home and make it ideal for Easy Living!

Over the course of time, we naturally begin to accumulate "stuff."  What many people do not realize, is how this stuff also accrues energy.  The more things we have, the more we have to clean, take care of or shuffle around.

Learn 5 simple resolutions to improve your way of life and making room for the things in your life that you enjoy!

1. Don't let Things Pile Up.

Seems like an obvious one, but not always applied.  Whether its laundry, chores or dishes, if you use the mantra, clean as you go, you will never have a stockpile of things to deal with.  When things pile up, humans have a natural tendency to want to avoid the elephant in the room.  The only problem with that theory is, the more you ignore the elephant, the bigger it becomes.  You end up dreading the moment you need to tackle the task.  I don't go to bed until all the dishes have been washed and our house is in order.  This allows me to wake up feeling fresh and able to start the day without having to start the day doing chores.  What a bore that would be! Using the clean as you go mantra also makes everything more effortless and allows you to move along on your day, without the feeling of needing to do something else. We live in such a busy society that if we can remove something off our plate immediately, why not do it?

2. Have a Place for Everything. 

Whether its in your kitchen, mudroom or closet, this tip will go a long way in helping you save time, by knowing where your things are.  It may take some time to get into the habit of it, but once its in place, you'll almost always know where to look!  The secret to this tip working is to return items back to where they belong.  Hide unattractive items that you use daily like chargers, remotes, keys, etc. in beautiful baskets, trays or antique boxes. You can also create these places, by observing your patterns.  For example, it is easy to come home and want to drop everything in your entryway.  So why not create a space for you to hang your coat and/or bags, a table for keys and whatever else you may need, as you head in or out the door.   You may end up taking a few hours or a whole day to map different areas of our house out.  A trip to the thrift and hardware store may be in order, to pick up a basket or two, some shelves and hooks, but at the end of the day, you will begin to feel your life becoming more organized.   When your life is organized, you are more productive, more efficient and you are able to think more clearly.

3. Constantly Purge. 

Whether its clothing, kitchen tools, food or chargers, I have a simple philosophy that if it has not been used or eaten within a year (except for cocktail dresses, snow gear, etc., that I may not use annually) its time to donate it.  Don't be sentimental, but rather ruthless.  There are a lot of people out there that may actually need and use these items, instead of having them take up psychic space in your cupboards, closet or drawers.  If you hear the little voice inside your head say, but I may need this someday, the reality is that if you haven't used it in a year, chances are your not going to need it in the future.  If its broken or damaged, pass it on.  Remember when you are purging always properly recycle items, like batteries, electronics, etc.  You can take this tip on step further and keep your closet color-coded.  This will allow for quickly finding exactly what you are looking for.  Storing seasonal clothing, in a cedar chest, is a great way to preserve clothing and have it out when you need it.

4.  Don't Buy What You Don't Need.

It is a simple as that.  It will alleviate superfluous spending and unnecessary clutter that eventually be donated.  Which means, extra work on your end.  What for?  Save yourself the time and money and only buy only what you need.  When I am shopping, I add, Do I love it?  If I don't love it, it is not coming home with me.  It is a brilliant philosophy when buying gifts as well ... does so-and-so need this?  Would they love this?

5.  Be more Eco-Conscious. 

You may feel like you have heard all about living green and you may even be incorporating some of these tips, but what if you integrated all five and even more this coming year?

  1. Americans use 170 gallons of water per day - 7x per capita average.  Turn the tap off when you are brushing your teeth or washing the dishes.  It will save up to 2.5 gallons of water per minute!
  2. Burning coal produces CO2 – the main contributor to global warming.  Every time you turn on an electronic, use your car and even shower (since your water needs to be heated) you are emitting CO2.  Prevent wasting it by not letting your car idle for more than one minute (it wastes less gas) and leaving the lights on, in unoccupied rooms.
  3. Unplug unused electronics i.e. TV, DVD, stereo, chargers, coffee pots, toasters, etc. you can save up to 40% on your energy bill!  Power strips are a time-saver and make it easy when turning off a range of electronics.
  4. Know what your municipality recycles and/or composts: they usually accept envelops with windows, plastic wrappers and other items may not have thought of!
  5. Kick the plastic bottle habit and use a reusable bottle instead.  2.5 million bottles of water are tossed every hour in California!

Simplifying your life begins with the intention.  It may seem like a daunting task, initially, but the more aware of things you become, the more streamlined your life can become.  Enlist the help of your family members and share in the success by spending more time together!