Original article written by Laura Gaskill on Houzz
Pencils freshly sharpened, notebooks in hand, leaves crunching underfoot — aah,the simple pleasures of a new school year. Even if it’s been awhile (ahem) since you last stepped foot inside a classroom, you can still tap into the back-to-school spirit by giving your home and routines a fresh start. Whether you choose to edit your wardrobe, treat yourself to new stationery or learn a new skill, consider this your second chance at a New Year: a clean slate, primed for new beginnings. Let’s get started.
1. Curate a fall reading list. If “read more” has been on your to-do list for a while, consider crafting your own fall book list, filled with titles you’ve been meaning to read. Here are a few things to keep in mind when making your list:
– It can be a good idea to have a fiction and nonfiction book on hand, so when one feels too fatiguing, you can switch to the other.
– Be honest about how you feel about book clubs: Do they motivate you to read, or will it simply become another thing you’re kicking yourself for not keeping up with?
– Give yourself permission to put down a book you don’t love. Life’s too short to read bad books!
2. Perk up your coffee station. Whether you prefer French press, pour over or espresso, having your favorite coffee-making supplies and a stash of the best beans close at hand means a great cup is never more than a few minutes away. Stock your coffee station with the necessities, your favorite mug and a travel cup for coffee on the go. And if you’ve been wishing for a new coffee setup, why not go ahead and treat yourself? Your bleary-eyed weekday morning self will thank you.
3. Put entertaining on the schedule. Life gets busy and good intentions to get together can easily get pushed aside, making “maybe next week” slide into “wow, has it been a whole year?” before you know it. Along with reading more (see No. 1), getting together with close friends often tops our wish-we-did-more list. If that’s true for you, consider taking some time now to check in with your nearest and dearest and decide on a few dates to get together in the coming months.
4. Explore online learning. Why should college kids get to have all the fun? Explore a passion, develop a side hustle or learn more about a subject you wish you had taken in school. From arts and crafts to entrepreneurship, if you come up with a subject, there’s probably an online class that covers it.
5. Make some new #cookinggoals. Curious about cooking with more whole grains or alternative sweeteners? Looking for slow-cooker recipes to make busy weeknights easier or wish you could start bringing homemade lunches to work? Whatever your cooking routine now looks like, if you want to make some changes, it helps to have specific, measurable goals (for example, try three new salads each week) and a plan for following through. Try designating a specific time during the week — Sunday afternoons, say — for planning the coming week’s cooking adventures.
6. Treat yourself to fresh stationery. Sending snail mail may be (a lot) less common these days — but that only makes it that much more special when you do send it. Stock up on an assortment of cards for all occasions, pretty stamps and a cache of your favorite pens, and you can feel good knowing you’re prepared for any birthday, baby shower or graduation that comes your way.
7. Say yes to a daring design decision. Leopard print upholstery? A bold red accent wall? If there’s a design choice you know in your heart of hearts you would love, but it falls a bit outside your comfort zone, consider giving yourself a gentle nudge. Even a small (but bold) choice can give your home personality and put a smile on your face every time you walk in the door. Who cares if everyone doesn’t love it as much as you do? It’s your home — do what makes you happy.
8. Learn a new skill (or hone an old one). Whether it’s playing the piano, writing short stories or some other creative endeavor, if it’s something you love, make time for it this fall. Need a refresher course? Getting involved with a local workshop or group can be a great way to brush up on your skills and build community at the same time.
9. KonMari your wardrobe. The wardrobe is the first category of stuff that decluttering guru Marie Kondo recommends purging — so if you’ve been wanting to begin a whole-house decluttering effort but feel unsure about where to begin, this is a good place to start. Here’s how to do it, in a nutshell:
1. Take everything out of your wardrobe.
2. Hold each item and ask yourself, “Does this spark joy?”
3. Put the items that spark joy neatly back into your closet and drawers.
4. Give away or sell everything that didn’t spark joy.
10. Make time for personal development. Whatever it may look like to you, carving out time for reflection and self-improvement is a wonderful way to stay on track with your biggest goals in life and nurture your spirit. Consider making time for one (or more) of these pursuits:
– Reading uplifting or spiritual books.
– Meditating or practicing yoga.
– Spending time in nature.
– Journaling or keeping a gratitude notebook.