How your home looks and feels can have a huge impact on your overall health and happiness. Try these tips when setting your goals for the new year to kick off 2018 with a positive mindset and a space you’ll love to spend time in.
1. Get – and stay – organised
There’s no better time to declutter and get your home in order, creating a calm and welcoming environment to kick off the new year. To avoid feeling overwhelmed, break up your cleaning into small tasks and tackle them room by room. Make a list and put a time limit on each area, focusing on effective storage.
Eliminate clutter ‘hotspots’ such as a hall stand or side table where mess can easily accumulate. Pack clothes away and keep decor minimal and fuss-free, especially where you sleep – studies have shown that the stress caused by clutter in the bedroom contributes to poor snoozing.
2. Express yourself through decorating
While there’s nothing wrong with incorporating the latest interior trends into your home, focusing on quality rather than quantity and adding only what you love to your space will make your home feel uniquely yours. Artwork, accent cushions and colours are easy and affordable ways to let your personality shine through.
3. Keep toxins at bay
There are a few simple steps that can be taken to dramatically improve the air quality in your home. Choose eco-friendly cleaning products and throw away synthetic air fresheners. Ensure your home is getting sufficient ventilation by leaving windows open when you can. If the air outside isn’t the best, an air purifier will be a sound investment.
Tip: Up your indoor plants to include peace lily (Spathiphyllum), aloe vera or spider plant (Chlorophytum comosum), which have been proven to enhance air quality while adding lush greenery to your home.
4. Sleep soundly all night
While there are definitely some items in the home you can scrimp on, bedding isn’t one of them. High-quality natural fibres are best, especially seeing as we spend an average of five to nine hours between the sheets. Look for organic cotton, silk or bamboo sheets and natural latex pillows – non-organic sheets have often been treated with chemicals that can irritate the skin, not to mention they’re damaging to the environment.
Tip: Make use of the sunshine by airing your pillows outside to freshen them up and help kill any mould that might be growing – and be sure to check the tag for your pillow’s replacement date. Spritz them with diluted eucalyptus oil or add two teaspoons to the washing machine cycle. It’s a naturally antibacterial deodoriser to boot, that will help to freshen up pillows and sheets.
5. DIY at every opportunity
The new year is a perfect time to up-skill and try your hand at some new hobbies – especially those that come in handy around the home. Have you thought about sewing some curtains? Maybe dyeing them, shibori-style? Not only will a little DIY make for fun and rewarding projects, it can also save you a lot of money.
6. Get cooking in a kitchen you love
We don’t need to list all the benefits of making more meals from scratch, but becoming a home chef is easier said than done when your kitchen is uninspiring.
A few simple changes can make all the difference – clean out and organise your pantry, embrace open shelving and avoid storage that requires bending and twisting. Add some potted herbs and up the natural light if possible to make your kitchen a space you enjoy spending time in.
7. Start – and stick to – a morning routine
Start your day on the right foot with a few small changes. Set your alarm to go off earlier – imagine all that you could get done with just one more hour in the day! Even if it simply means reading a chapter of your favourite book and writing a to-do list for the day over a cup of tea, you’ll appreciate the extra time.
Make your bed – research has linked making the bed daily with higher productivity and a boost in happiness. And make sure you eat a good breakfast to boost your energy levels for the day ahead.
8. Ban electronics from the bedroom
As far as unhealthy sleep habits go, checking your phone throughout the night is high on the list. Remove the temptation by turning your mobile off (or onto flight mode) before you go to bed. Leaving the computer, television and iPad outside the bedroom is also important for a sound night’s sleep – electronics emit low-level radiation and light that can disturb your sleep, resulting in insomnia and loss of concentration.
9. Cut your energy usage
Whether your main motivation is to save money or to do your bit to have a positive impact on the environment, taking simple steps to reduce your power usage in 2018 is a great resolution to keep. Start by unplugging all appliances when not in use (standby mode still uses energy) and buying only appliances that have a good energy rating – the more stars, the better.
Rethink your temperature control to see a noticeable improvement on your quarterly power bill. Insulate your roof or ceiling to help with both heating and cooling, save your air conditioner for extreme temperatures and install a ceiling fan, which is much cheaper than air conditioning and has a much smaller impact on the environment.