Did you set a resolution last year that fell by the wayside and so you never completed that goal? How many years have you set that resolution? If you’ve carried a resolution over from one year to the next (to the next?), instead of automatically adding it to this year’s to-do list, consider if you are really meant to attain this goal.
You may truly wish for the results, but unless you plan and schedule the steps necessary to reach this goal, it will remain a frustrated dream.
Either give yourself a kindness and remove the goal from this year’s list of resolutions (which doesn’t mean that you can’t work on the goal starting in March or June if you realize that you have the time and energy for it then) or sit down and take the time to list the steps you need to take to make this the year you accomplish your goal.
Although you may have wanted to limit your participation in gift exchanges at work or with different groups you belong to, sometimes it is easier to go with the flow and plan to speak up again next year about sending the money to a charity or suggesting another option to exchanging tangible gifts.
If you’ve received mugs, candles, calendars, or other small items through gift swaps and you truly don’t want the items, donate them.
Whether it’s seasonal décor or something you display year-round, do you have yard decorations that are faded or damaged to a degree that just looking at the items is discouraging? Just because the item stays outside is no reason to hold onto something you don’t enjoy looking at.
Did you receive gift cards this holiday season? Don’t hold onto them for so long that you risk losing or forgetting about them. Gather the cards you received (and those you’ve been holding onto to) and make some plans to go to specific restaurants, schedule that manicure of massage, or plan a shopping trip. Really, put these dates in your phone’s calendar or your paper planner!
This way, you won’t have to carry the cards around waiting for inspiration to use them (and then leave the store realizing you forgot you had the gift card in your wallet).
I know my good intentions often get away from me. I buy the supplies for a project I’ve convinced myself that I’ll get around to – and, nope, it never gets done. It’s difficult to get rid of this stuff. Every time I look at it, I remind myself that I should plan to do the project. However, unless I set the time to do it, it’s unlikely to get done.
And, so, if you’re like me, take a deep breath and admit that although the project was a great idea and you did want to do it when you shopped for the materials, it’s not getting done – this year or next.
Remove this nagging task from your to-do list and the thoughts that scamper around your mind and release the items. Learn more about releasing aspirational clutter.
Maybe, while decluttering or doing some cleaning for the holidays, you’ve discovered a stash of pens worthy of a corporate office or wrapped candles in a quantity that could light your home for a week. Maybe you’ve wondered how you ended up with so many boxes of facial tissue.
If appropriate, share your wealth with a local charity or with friends. Or, group these items so they are stored in one location in your home, so you can best keep track of the inventory you keep.
Take five minutes away from some other activity or obligation and sit quietly with a cup of tea, gaze out a window, let the water from the shower spray against your neck muscles, do a few stretches, read a page in a book, so to give yourself a small pocket of time to rejuvenate.
Remove one thing from your to-do list or eliminate a single expectation you have for yourself. Maybe you make one less trip to a store today. Maybe you remove one item from your menu. Maybe you spend one less hour (or minute) on a task so to free up time to take a breather, sip a cup of herbal tea or go to bed a bit earlier.
Your choice. Step into your garage and select something for permanent removal. However, if this item doesn’t belong to you, look for something that does. You can try to encourage everyone in your home to eliminate one thing from the garage that belongs to them.
If this task doesn’t apply to you: Eliminate an item from any storage space in your home.
Susan Caplan McCarthy
I'm Susan, a writer and teacher developing a second career as a Decluttering Coach.