A New Year, A Specific Resolution

by Katy on September 13, 2015 · 54 comments

Today marks the start of the Jewish new year, or more specifically, Rosh Hashanah. (Okay . . .  even more specifically, it starts at sundown, but why quibble?)

With new years come new beginnings. And you don’t have to be Jewish to start a new habit or break an old one, so I invite you to join along.

I am guilty of multiple generalized goals, which means that each one moves at a glacial pace and I never fully meet any of them. Need an example? Decluttering my house. Yes, my house is soooo much better than it was ten years ago, but there always seem to be hidden pockets of cluttery crap that mock my very existence sit untouched.

But a new year is a chance for a new beginning, so I am going to make one, just one resolution, which is to declutter my house from attic to basement by December 31st. A shorter deadline than a full year to keep the pressure on. Three months, which is reasonable, and not too insane.

Just insane enough.

I invite you to join me in making a new year’s resolution, even if you’re not Jewish. Because when it is ever a bad idea to set a goal?

Shanah Tovah! (happy new year) to one and all, and may your new year be filled with peace, sweetness and good health!

Katy Wolk-Stanley

“Use it up, wear it out, make it do or do without.”

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{ 54 comments… read them below or add one }

Elizabeth September 13, 2015 at 12:12 pm

Happy New Year! I will join you in making a resolution. We’re doing renovations and it took us more than a month to do our bedroom. My resolution will be to finish the kitchen/dining area and one other room (den/office) area by December 3.

Have fun with your declutter. I get all my declutter and housework done by setting my timer for ten or fifteen minutes at a time, else I’d never get anything accomplished.

Love your blogs. They are really helping my get back into a frugal state of mind, so I thank you!


Katy September 13, 2015 at 12:17 pm

Thank you for the kind words. The 15 minute trick is good, especially since it usually lasts longer than 15! It’s getting started that’s the hard part.


Elizabeth September 13, 2015 at 2:07 pm

Amen to that! 🙂


Jamie Deangelis September 13, 2015 at 12:13 pm

Mine would be to stop putting things on my credit card so that I can actually pay it off by December 31st! Step 1 would probably be take it out of my wallet so I don’t have the option to use it. I shall start there right now!


Lesley September 13, 2015 at 12:15 pm

L’shanah tovah, Katy! (My favorite Rosh Hashanah joke: “How is your new year?” “It’s pretty good shofar.”)

I agree that any day, any hour, is fine for starting over if you don’t like the current situation. Why wait?

I won’t be decluttering my living space, but I resolve to get my class work done as quickly as possible (instead of procrastinating) until the end of the semester in November.


Emily N. September 13, 2015 at 4:17 pm

I’m not Jewish, but that joke totally cracked me up!


Betsey September 13, 2015 at 12:22 pm

I resolve to get in shape! I have been walking the dog twice a day for 4 miles, cut out diet soda and fast food, and limit my sweets. By Dec 31st, I want to be 20 pounds lighter.
Happy holiday, Katy.


Amy September 13, 2015 at 12:25 pm

Your goal sounds great! My goal is to get rid of all the stuff the previous tennants left in the garage by the end of the week. I did two Goodwill runs earlier. It’s mostly shelves left now but there is also a lingerie dresser. I will put them outside in the evening with a free sign. I love how things get taken with minimal effort on my part when I put it out at night.


cindy@lifeascindy September 13, 2015 at 12:34 pm

I just finished the obnoxious de cluttering that seems to come with a big move. Even though I got rid of loads of stuff before moving. Go figure. Today I joined your change jar challenge.


Lynda September 14, 2015 at 2:26 am

ooh, that’s my situation! Had a clear out before moving 6 weeks ago. Will definitely have another one over the next few weeks; after a year living solo, I’ve pretty much worked out what I am and am not using. Those dinner parties didn’t happen 😀


Cathy September 13, 2015 at 12:50 pm

I do a “new year” goal at the start of every school year. Mine this year is to get the downstairs decluttered/rearranged by the start of our holiday season which starts October 20th with my youngest daughters birthday.

We made a big dent this weekend. We finally turned our largeish breakfast nook into an actual office for my husband and not just a room with his desk shoved into it. We moved the unnecessary furniture out of there. This made more space to put our freezer in the now office and out from behind my kitchen island which in turn opens up the kitchen a lot. One of the unnecessary peices of furniture in the breakfast nook is now housing my tools in the mudroom and the other is holding the baskets we keep our hats and gloves in. It really visually cleans and organizes that space. Now I just need to do the dining room, craft room and the playroom that will be becoming our bedroom.


LisaC September 13, 2015 at 1:48 pm

My resolution is to laugh every day. I take myself way too seriously.


Marcia September 13, 2015 at 2:08 pm

My Jan 1st resolution was to DECLUTTER this year. I still have a long way to go, but I am making progress. I will renew that vow NOW, and hope to get help from my husband before the end of the year. He does help sometimes, but he prefers to work on cars, as I prefer to be online and not cleaning and cooking.


Bettypants September 13, 2015 at 2:13 pm

Like you, I have been working on decluttering my house. My problem is that I feel the need to sell the items, which takes longer, rather than donate or give away. Sometimes I get stuck on pricing, or taking photos, or cleaning, or any other excuse. So my resolution is to list (either on FB, CL, or ebay) 5 items each day.


Kathy September 13, 2015 at 2:27 pm

I’m in! My Jewish New Year’s resolution will be for better health. I just bought myself several new pairs of shoes and got a new to me small dog. Right now we started walking 1 time a day for 10 minutes in the evening we are now up to once around the block in the morning and 15 minutes in the evening. Going for two walks a day of 20 minutes each. Literally we’ll get there one step at a time.

Thanks, Katy, for a nice gentle way to invite people to a resolution that encourages people to improve their lives. God’s Shalom to all.


Kathy September 13, 2015 at 2:29 pm

* That is the goal I’m going for is two walks a day of 20 minutes each.


Gail September 13, 2015 at 2:44 pm

I am a Christian who celebrates this time of the year from the trumpet blast to Yom Kippur. I spend a portion of each day reflecting the past and how I can better follow Our Father in the future. I am not naturally a an introspective person, but I do my best.
Anyway, my 90 day goal is to tweak the effeciency of my craft room. It does fine, but can do better


Ruby September 13, 2015 at 3:11 pm

Happy New Year, Katy! You’ll probably come up with all kinds of treasures to sell for the college fund while you do this.

I started decluttering our house in May and finished the last item on the list last Thursday. I did not work at it every day — sometimes skipped a week or two while doing some chore that needed more immediate attention — but having a list and a goal kept me going.

My next goal is to finish painting the house by the end of the year.


Isabelle September 13, 2015 at 3:26 pm

I am not Jewish and was not aware of this ” tradition”. I find the subject of your blog post to be a wird coincidence for me (starting something new), because I made the decision at 1h AM today (last night) to quit eating grains and all sugars in order to restore my health. So there you go, this is my resolution!


Trish September 13, 2015 at 4:13 pm

how do I handle my husband’s stuff? he is not great at getting rid of things.


Karen September 13, 2015 at 6:12 pm

I, too, get frustrated because I often feel like I carry the frugal/decluttering banner for my whole family. I wish they would take an interest in frugality etc, but they don’t. It seems as if women take this effort on, usually.


Katy September 13, 2015 at 6:21 pm

Do your own stuff and hope he finds inspiration.


Juhli September 14, 2015 at 3:12 am

My husband is the same so if I want to declutter a jointly owned item we discuss it and it usually leaves. Good luck.


MsSF September 14, 2015 at 5:14 am

I have this same problem. I try to have a good reason to go through a certain type of item and then help him decide to get rid of some things. For instance, we recently had to go to a funeral, so we went through all his dress pants and shirts and got rid of a few. While things aren’t decluttering as fast as I would like them to, I try to just be happy that something is getting done. HTH

[WORDPRESS HASHCASH] The poster sent us ‘0 which is not a hashcash value.


Annie September 14, 2015 at 8:16 am

Yep. My family too. I joke with my husband that he would be a full time hoarder if he’d married a wife with more tolerance for “stuff”.


Janelle September 13, 2015 at 5:20 pm

Just prior to reading this, I had sat down to review my goals for the year and modify them for the end of the year – this post is weirdly timely! Best of luck!


Judy September 13, 2015 at 5:49 pm

I need to commit to the walking goal. I need the walks and so does my hyper dog.
I’ve also been working on de-cluttering. Since a challenge helps make it a game, in August I started the 1 item on the 1st, 2 items on the 2nd, etc. My husband got on board for Sept. so we are continuing. An item may be something large or it may be a pen, piece of paper, or something small. having a check list seems to motivate me more.


Marilyn September 13, 2015 at 7:19 pm

I have been working on cleaning and de-cluttering for about 2 weeks now. I think I may have a bit of the hoarder in me because I am always finding excuses for hanging onto things — even things I haven’t used in years. So I suppose my resolution should be to actually get of at least one item each day for the next 2 weeks. Yes, I think I can do that.


Kim September 13, 2015 at 7:27 pm

My goal is to declutter my office/ sewing room. I’m thinking of moving the office part downstairs and consolidating the sewing & craft stuff into one area. Let the purge begin!


Jean September 13, 2015 at 8:43 pm

Okay, I accept! I am the ultimate procrastinator, and I must MUST MUST get my husband’s business books current and stay on top of that! If I could be done when the year is done it would be a huge monkey off my back! Had actually been working on them most of the afternoon before I read your post, but one afternoon does not begin to get through my piles! (Very organized monthly piles, but that’s not really cutting it!)


Lucy September 14, 2015 at 5:07 am

I feel your pain on this one. Due to heart surgery in late August I haven’t finished up the August bookkeeping or done the billing for our farm-based business. Part of the problem is my desk is a changing table for our grandson during the day and by the time he goes home I am too tired to do a darn thing (correctly, anyway)!


K D September 14, 2015 at 2:03 am

Decluttering really speaks to me as well. I will join you in your challenge. We are looking at doing some work on our kitchen but I am guilty of cluttering the counters so unless I reform what would be the point (besides wasting time and money). We actually did work on this yesterday. I listed about a dozen items on freecycle.org, my husband went through books and is taking at least a dozen (occupation specific) to work to give away, and I set aside several books to put in a free library in the neighborhood.

I like that there is about 3-1/2 months to this challenge.


Diane September 14, 2015 at 3:17 am

All summer I had a plan for new beginnings starting in September. I began with revamping my dining/living space in a much more simplified serene style all with rescued items or pieces I already had. Now I just need new curtains to make it complete. And I will start a fall class tomorrow, Gardening for Birds and Butterflies held by our Lifelong Learning Institute which offers classes for $20 each term. Today I tackle my ever increasing water bill to find out why it is so outrageous. My goal is to complete one big task per week.

Fall is such a good time to begin anew!


Juhli September 14, 2015 at 3:39 am

Great idea to have short resolutions. Mine are to thoroughly clean and declutter the kitchen cabinets, basement and shed. The shed before it gets too cold, the kitchen before Thanksgiving and the basement by the end of the year.


Elise @ Simply Scaled Down September 14, 2015 at 4:03 am

Great idea, I think I’ll join you!

My goals is find a way to earn an extra $500 by Christmas. Now i’m off to sell my soul to help get me started 🙂


Mary September 14, 2015 at 4:04 am

I am tempted to watch Netflix during the day, thereby putting off projects. I will indulge just one day a week – Thursday.


Lucy September 14, 2015 at 5:10 am

LOL, you are not the omly one! I was doing better at limiting my Netflix use to lunchtime and evenings, but then season 4 of Longmire was released and I watched the whole thing in 2 days…..


Anne September 14, 2015 at 7:31 am

Yes, Lucy, oh my. The awful temptation to watch an entire season of shows in a few days is almost overwhelming. We are currently limiting ourselves to one “Longmire” per night. But we struggle.

Remember when it took a good portion of the year to get through a season? What is this world coming to? 😀


Diane September 15, 2015 at 3:27 am

Netflix gave me another free trial just in time for the new Longmire season. So I am indulging. But, limit myself to evening viewing. It’s been really good so far!


Bee September 14, 2015 at 4:13 am

Happy New Year! I am new to your blog and love it. It reminds me that everything I do big and small makes a difference.

I had to write when I saw that so many people have taken on the challenge of decluttering your homes and your lives. This is a gift that you give yourself as well as those who love you. Because if you don’t do it, someone else will have to.

My husband and I have been left the monumental task of cleaning out his parent’s house following their death. They were children of the depression and saved everything in case they needed it one day. So far, we have put in nearly 100 hours of our time, thrown away 30 contractor’s bags of trash, donated a truckload of items, packed 93 boxes, carted of 3 boxes of shreading, and recycled 3 carloads of cardboard and magazines. It is very sad that we are only 1/3 of the way through.

The thing that has struck me most about the process is the absolute waste. They purchased multiples of the same item, because they couldn’t find what they had.
Items were left to rot that someone could have used such as the sailboat in the backyard or the organ in the garage. But the biggest waste of all was in quality of life. Their things owned them. They didn’t own their things. All so sad 🙁


Jennifer September 14, 2015 at 1:07 pm

I think about this when I see my mess accumulating. Both my mom and mother in law have been clearing the clutter out of their houses so we won’t have to do it for them. At first it made me sad to think that my mom sees the end of her life so close in the future, but she really is giving me a gift.


Cindy September 14, 2015 at 4:30 am

Happy New year!
My January 1st resolution was to take care of myself. After having 4 babies in 5 years a lot of little things dropped in priority. After a trip to the dermatologist and a diagnosis of melanoma this resolution consumed me. Things are slowly getting wrapped up with surgeries and biopsies blah blah blah …regular skin checks are always going to be a part of my life but I am grateful that with any luck the crisis is over. I want to focus the rest of this year with taking care of the less urgent but still important things like getting my eyes checked- I’m pretty sure that for the first time in my life I need glasses, going to my holistic Dr for a nutrition panel and immune system check, getting a few massages, losing 10 more pounds, and to keep on getting good exercise every day.

Btw- great goals Katie, your blog helps keep me accountable for a lot of things!


Cindy September 14, 2015 at 5:35 am

Also- any more thoughts on kon mari? After reading your review I dove in and loved it, have you still been using the whole “sparks joy” barometer in your cleaning house?


Connie September 14, 2015 at 6:04 am

Yes the book by Marie kondo has been the spark I needed and after doing what she says I can say it sparked some even bigger changes. Daily I now think of using something I have in a new way that I never thought of before. My whole house & closets spark joy now. My husband has begun putting things away when before he wouldn’t. He seems much happier and willing to do more.


Lucy September 14, 2015 at 5:15 am

I do goals yearly, quarterly, monthly, and weekly, depending on the size of the goal.
This fall quarter I definitely need to get the dining room redone (it has been sitting empty for over a year due to health issues) and the furniture moved back in there so I can declutter the mud room, which is crammed with dining room furniture.
We also need to install the new water heater which has been lurking in the garage since June.
Plus a good dozen farm projects.


Mairsydoats September 14, 2015 at 7:55 am

Ahhh, excellent timing! I am starting an elimination diet TODAY to see if any of my medical issues are exacerbated by common allergy triggers. I’ve been preparing for a few weeks (quit caffiene! planned menus!) but it’s quite real all of a sudden, as I’m eating my buckwheat porridge and berries, and gave up the sugar and real milk in my tea.

3 weeks of the-most-boring-diet-in-the-world, then 7 weeks of testing various foods to see how I react, and hopefully I’ll be able to eat most of the foods at Thanksgiving. Gaining the knowledge of what worsens my asthma, allergies, etc – priceless!


Revanche September 14, 2015 at 10:33 am

Shanah Tovah!

I used Labor Day as my mini New Goals reset time which isn’t too far off from this New Year. In the last week, I have cleared up my desk space (accidentally losing my planner in the process, oops), organized the clothing parts of our closet, wrapped gifts well in advance of upcoming events, and am working on scheduling our Summer travel for next year. I’m feeling pretty accomplished. 🙂


Kim from Philadelphia September 14, 2015 at 1:35 pm

More productive mornings!


cathy September 14, 2015 at 3:10 pm

I like this idea. (Perhaps the reason I get so motivated to do things in the fall is more connected to Rosh Hashanah than I realized!) But, being Jewish, I feel like I ought to set goals that are not just about accomplishing a task, but also–in the spirit of RH–help me become a better person in the coming year. So, I’ll sign on for two: 1) Declutter the two lateral filing cabinets and the (embarrassing) bags of papers, old bills, etc. by October 31 so we can pare down to a single, small two-drawer filing cabinet; and 2) Reconnect with the formerly close friends who are slipping from my life by visiting, calling, regular email or even snail mail. There are six in this category, so I’ll give myself until Hanukkah (!) to make the initial connections; I have to actually be in touch, not just leave a message.


cathy September 14, 2015 at 5:02 pm

I just realized that the way I worded my approach may sound like I’m critical of the choice Katy made or those other readers of this blog made. That wasn’t my intent. While decluttering all. that. paper will make my house better, I need to also do something more personal (since I’m tying it to Rosh Hashanah). Of course, maybe my goal should have been expressing myself more clearly!!


Katy September 14, 2015 at 5:23 pm

Worry not. 😀


Vickie September 14, 2015 at 3:40 pm

Shanah Tovah!
I will join you in that resolution. I’ve been working on mine for over a year, but I’ve made more progress in the past 3 months than I did the first nine, but I need something to push me more.
Thanks, Katy!


Barb @ 1SentenceDiary September 18, 2015 at 7:39 am

My resolution for the next 3 months is to be more active. Somehow I have turned into this sedentary slug. I find myself reluctant to go upstairs when I need something, and overall just feeling lazy lazy lazy. I need to change this dynamic by:
– at least 30 mins on the elliptical machine (bought used, of course), 3 times a week
– walk back and forth to train (mile each way) whenever I go downtown (usually 2 or 3 times a week)
– generally trying to be more aware of getting up and moving around when possible

I’m hopeful that if I can get into this groove over the next 3 months, it will feel more like “normal” life and less of a chore.


Katy September 18, 2015 at 7:48 am

But it feels so good to stay still! 🙁


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