I'm not big on New Year's resolutions. It's not that I couldn't stand some self-improvement. It's 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 I'll resolve to finally paint over the Cleveland Indians colors in my son's bedroom or update the guest bathroom with the awful cabbage-rose border.
How about you?
Your home-improvement resolutions don't 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 it's 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, it's 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.
• Paint. It's been said that paint is one of the cheapest ways to change your surroundings. A gallon or two of paint and a weekend's worth of work can transform a room.
But painting the walls isn't 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My niece recently put a coat of glossy black paint on the outdated but sturdy dining room set she inherited from my parents.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? It's not a big commitment. If the project doesn't turn out as you'd envisioned, you can always paint over it.