You don’t have to spend long on social media to see that New Year’s resolutions appear to be taking 2021 off. Around this time, Facebook and Twitter are normally awash with fitness challenges, life-changing trips and planned major career moves, as people face the new year with an optimism that generally lasts about two weeks.
This year: nothing.
The consensus seems to be that getting through 2020 was enough, and in 2021, anything extra will be a bonus. So, with the pandemic ensuring that our homes are still our primary ecosystems, why not opt for something a little more domestic? Here are a few resolutions that could help your home in 2021.
Clear out the kitchen cupboards
If there’s one area of the home that delivers interesting discoveries, it’s the dark recesses of your kitchen cupboards. Long-forgotten tin cans, out-of-date packages with hazardous contents, dusty bottles of unlabelled spirit – every kitchen contains at least one item from the old millennium, and weeding them out is a simple way to give 2021 a fresh start. Taking up valuable storage space at best, spawning new life forms at worst, purging old items is a strangely satisfying process – it’s just rarely at the top of your to-do list.
We’re still spending so much time in our own four walls that we might as well start improving them, and competent DIY is one of those skills you’ll keep for life. The learning curve is steep but climbable, and YouTube tutorials mean that even intermediate tasks are within novice reach. Bleeding radiators, putting up shelves, and filling cracks in the masonry are all simple starters for the enthusiastic beginner, and before you know it, you’ll be building your own garden shed.
Establish a proper home office
It’s probably long overdue, but it is far better late than never. A proper desk, a chair that won’t turn your spine into a boomerang, a filing system that keeps the paper piles at bay, a well-stocked stationary cupboard, ample charging ports, and most of all, a designated space away from your bed. Homeworking in some form is here to stay – through Covid and beyond – and a proper office space will quickly repay itself in answered emails and work-life balance.
It’s quite remarkable how much ‘stuff’ the average human can accumulate in a short space of time. From unopened mail to the margarita maker you used once in 2015, and whatever horrors lurk down the back of the sofa, it’s always the season for a spring clean. The Marie Kondo method (‘does it spark joy?’) is tried and tested, but the simpler ‘will I ever use this again?’ may well suffice. Homes are just more usable when they’re less crammed, and in this era of home-working, usability is at a premium.
Cut your energy use
One to work on through the year, this win-win resolution can cut both your carbon footprint and your utility bills. There are any number of ways to slash your energy usage, from turning lights off when you leave the room to using energy-efficient light bulbs and installing a smart thermostat. Power off appliances rather than letting them stew on standby, and fix dripping taps to save a surprising quantity of water. Save the planet and your wallet, a few small steps at a time.
Book annual maintenance
Some parts of your home need annual maintenance, and although you might remember to schedule them in the coming months, you can save yourself the doubt and the hassle by booking in bulk now. Different seasons bring different demands – air con units before summer, chimneys with open fires before winter, and gutters at least before Autumn – while ever-present items like boilers require regular attention.
Deal with bills immediately
There aren’t many things as tempting to put off as paying bills and dealing with fiddly contracts, but there’s very rarely a good reason to put off something only likely to get pricier as time passes. If you’ve been meaning to switch supplier: just do it. There will never be a ‘right time’, and the longer you put it off, the more likely it is that you will continue to do so. Otherwise, the best part of this resolution is that you probably don’t have to do anything right now. How’s that for not procrastinating?
Clear up your shoes and coats
Your front hall is the window to your home, at least when other people are allowed in, and all too often our instinct on entering is to discard shoes and coats respectively on the floor and the backs of chairs. A proper shoe rack and coat stand will clean up your home’s aesthetic, while making crucial outdoor-wear much easier to find.
Make your home more pleasant
Your home is your constant companion, and the only location you can truly call your own, so use this dismal January to make it a really nice place to spend time. Scented candles, extra lamps, a new lick of paint, and as many unnecessary soft furnishings as you fancy. The world is rubbish. Indulge.