Iím not big on New Yearís resolutions. Itís not that I couldnít stand some self-improvement. Itís just that it takes more than a calendar page to spur me on to meaningful change.
Still, once the bustle of the holidays is past, I often find myself indulging in a little dreaming about how I might make my home better.
A new paint color for the laundry room? New tile in the sun porch?
The possibilities are delicious.
So maybe my resolutions this year will be about improving my surroundings. Maybe Iíll resolve to finally paint over the Cleveland Indians colors in my sonís bedroom or update the guest bathroom with the awful cabbage-rose border.
How about you?
Your home-improvement resolutions donít need to be big projects. Sometimes little changes can make a big difference, and the satisfaction you get just might encourage you to keep going.
Here are a few ideas to get you started.
Edit. Most of us have too much stuff. We accumulate things little by little, but we never seem to take anything away. Before you know it, our rooms are cluttered, physically or visually or both.
The cure for a bloated room is editing, and itís a project you can tackle in just a few hours. Empty the room of everything except the big pieces of furniture, and then put back only the things you really like or need. You might be surprised at how many possessions you can easily do without, and how much better the room looks without them.
Explore. When you live in a home long enough, you stop seeing it the way visitors do. You no longer notice the nicks in the woodwork or the rust on the registers.
Once in a while, itís helpful to walk around your house and look for all the little things that need to be painted, replaced or otherwise attended to. Take a notebook or recorder with you to take note of what needs doing, then make a to-do list that you can tackle one chore at a time.
Pin. If you havenít yet discovered Pinterest, check it out. The social media site (www.pinterest.com) is a virtual bulletin board where users ďpinĒ all sorts of ideas.
Itís not just about home decorating, but thatís what I like it for most. I love poring over the pictures, and I almost always come away inspired.
When you find something you like, you pin it to a board youíve created. I have boards full of ideas for individual rooms in my house, fireplace mantel decorations, craft projects, organizing tips and even one Iíve labeled ďbookshelf porn.Ē No, itís not smut. I just really, really, really love bookshelves.
Spend an hour on Pinterest, and I guarantee youíll come away with at least one idea to make your home better ó if you can tear yourself away long enough to actually accomplish it.
File. Creating a design file is sort of the manual version of Pinterest.
A design file is just a place to gather photos and information that inspire you. I use a plain old file folder, but a binder or shoebox work just as well.
When you come across something you like ó a picture in a magazine, a paint chip, a swatch of fabric ó put it in the file. It doesnít even have to relate to a project you have planned. Itís just a place for gathering stuff you like.
Then periodically look through the file. You might be surprised to discover something thatís just what youíre looking for at that moment.
Paint. Itís been said that paint is one of the cheapest ways to change your surroundings. A gallon or two of paint and a weekendís worth of work can transform a room.
But painting the walls isnít the only way to make a difference. A fresh coat of paint can turn an old chest of drawers into a focal point for an entryway. A new color on the front door boosts curb appeal. A coat of chalkboard paint turns a refrigerator or a cupboard door into a fun family message center,
My niece recently put a coat of glossy black paint on the outdated but sturdy dining room set she inherited from my parents. I swear it looks better than it ever did new.
The best part about paint? Itís not a big commitment. If the project doesnít turn out as youíd envisioned, you can always paint over it.
Mary Beth Breckenridge can be reached at 330-996-3756 or firstname.lastname@example.org. You can also become a fan on Facebook at http://tinyurl.com/mbbreck, follow her on Twitter @MBBreckenridge and read her blog at www.ohio.com/blogs/mary-beth.