Sticking to the same New Year’s resolution year after year may seem boring, but I always like to set an intention at the beginning of a year to make my home feel even more like me. Since we as humans are constantly shifting and evolving, it makes total sense that our homes should as well. That’s why I always start my year off by going from room to room and looking around with fresh eyes. It helps me organize my thoughts on what I’d like to refresh, declutter, or totally makeover in my space, and by the end, I’m left with a list of home projects I can slowly tackle throughout the year.
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My husband always laughs when he finds me standing in a room in our home, usually with a notebook in hand, looking around at the space. I’ll admit that I’d probably be curious, too, if I saw someone else doing the same thing, but completing this walk-through of my home is one of my favorite January rituals. If you’re interested in doing a home audit of your own, read on for a step-by-step guide to planning, prioritizing, and tackling home projects for 2023.
1. Set aside some distraction-free time.
You want to be really present and free from distractions when you do your own private tour of your home. That way, you’ll be clear-headed and ready for inspiration if it strikes! This means putting your phone on do-not-disturb mode, turning off the TV, and letting others know you need some time to yourself. A quiet Saturday or Sunday morning is ideal, but anytime you can carve out a distraction-free moment is great! I like to take a pen and notebook with me to write down my thoughts, or you could use the notes app on your phone, a document on your laptop—really whatever you prefer.
2. Pick a room and take a good look.
Decide on which room to start in, then place yourself in one spot and look around, carefully and intentionally. What do you see? How do you feel in this room? What vibe does this room emit, and is that the vibe you’d like it to have? Pretend like this is the first time you’ve been in this space—what would your first impression be? After a few minutes of observation, switch positions. Find a new spot—perhaps one you usually never stand in, like an empty corner or by the door. Does this change your perspective in any way? Do you see other things you maybe never noticed before? Take a good long look, and have your notebook at the ready.
3. Write down any ideas and thoughts you have.
Now is the time to jot your thoughts down and note anything that feels important. Here are a few things to look for, and what to write down.
- Clutter: Note the spots in the room that could use some organizing or downsizing.
- Dead space: Is there a spot in your room that feels like it’s missing something? Could you put something useful or fun there? Alternatively, do you have furniture that isn’t being used? Could that space be utilized in a different way?
- Stagnant energy: Our belongings hold meaning to us, and it’s good to notice if there are things in your space that you have outgrown or are ready to let go of. Really check in with yourself and note how your belongings, furniture, and decor make you feel. Write down any pieces that feel off.
- What you love: It’s also important to note what you love and appreciate about your space! This can give you clues for ways to add vibrancy and life to areas with stagnant energy. What colors and textures do you love? What pieces of decor make you smile? If you turned this room on its side and totally emptied it out, what items would you reach for first to put back in?
4. Make a project list.
Depending on how you recorded your thoughts and ideas (and there’s no right or wrong way to do this), you may already have a project list in front of you. But if you need to condense your thoughts into a list of home projects, do this now before moving on to another room. Projects can be big or small, from replacing the flooring to decluttering the nightstand to creating a gallery wall.
5. Move to the next room (or take a break!).
Once you feel satisfied with the room you’re in, move on to the next! There’s no specific order you need to go in, so let yourself move to whatever room feels best and repeat the process. You may also feel like one room is enough for the day. It does take a lot of mental energy to really be present in a space, especially if there’s a lot you’d like to do. A home audit doesn’t have to take a whole day—you can split it up by doing one room, one day at a time if that feels more manageable. Whether you decide to tackle your whole home or just one room, admire your list and ride the wave of your refreshed energy!
6. Prioritize your list, then tackle a project.
Now that you have a list of home projects, decide how you’d like to prioritize them. Start with one room and pick a project. To build some momentum before you dive in headfirst, consider choosing something small that you can finish within the next week or so. Projects that make a noticeable difference in your home will keep your energy high, and starting small is a great way to build up to a larger project that may take more effort and planning.
7. Remind yourself to take it slow and practice gratitude
I follow a lot of home influencers, and sometimes it can feel like they fly through projects at record speed. I find comfort in knowing that the list of projects that comes out of my January home walk-through is meant for the entire year. There’s no rush to tackle every project right away, and it’s helpful to note that certain projects can be left for the spring or summer.
As you finish your walk-through, this is also a great time to enjoy a moment of gratitude for your home. Regardless of how big or small your project list is, your home has kept you safe and secure, and seeing it with new eyes has hopefully given you a fresh perspective on the perfectly imperfect home that’s right in front of you.