New Year’s resolutions

Turkey trot with Lourdes

It’s New Year’s resolution time! While I’m a very goal-oriented person, I typically don’t make New Year’s resolutions. Generally, I set new goals, both formally and informally, throughout the year rather than confining them to the first day of the year.

Last year, getting on a regular house cleaning schedule was a major goal. While cleaning for our 2010 Holiday Open House, dusting amounted to scraping sheets of dust off of our living and dining room furniture. I was sneezing so hard, my eyes were tearing, and  I could barely see. Thus, I decided that more regular dusting and cleaning in general would make the chores –especially dusting — less onerous. Plus I wanted a house that was ready for last-minute play dates and drop-in visitors at a moment’s notice.

To help me accomplish this goal, I turned to the Queen of Clean, Linda Cobb, who is my cleaning idol. She espoused “green” cleaning before green was cool. Cleaning your mirrors? Try vinegar. Need to clean a drain? Try a vinegar/baking soda volcano! Want to clean a cutting board? Look for lemons. In her book, How the Queen Cleans Everything (Atria 2002) she offers dozens of tips and, in one chapter, sets out a schedule for a year of cleaning. I used her schedule and turned them into checklists that I’ve tried to abide by for the past year. (Tried is the key word here. Will I dust my walls? Likely never.)

For weekly jobs like dusting and vacuuming, I assign each task to a day. Monday I do bathrooms and some kitchen cleaning, since the two chores require the same cleaners (vinegar and Bon Ami); Tuesday I dust; Wednesday I vacuum. Normally I start these jobs while the kids are watching their half-hour morning cartoons. I can get at least the bedrooms vacuumed or dusted, so I can wrap up the remainder of the job at nap time, or, better yet, during the kids’ afternoon cartoons. In January I typically make a big push on some annual jobs like cleaning leather or polishing baseboards. The first month of the year, I do clean on Thursdays or Fridays, but only if I’m watching something fun on Netflix instant or DVD.

As much as possible, I try not to clean during nap time (except for my January kickoff). I once read there was nothing more demoralizing than cleaning during those few precious moments of peace and quiet. I normally use nap time to grade papers or work towards other goals I’ve set.

Speaking of other goals, last summer, I decided I was going to start writing again, and I aspired to get at least one manuscript published in a magazine by the end of the boys’ school year. While, I haven’t had success yet, I keep telling myself I’m taking baby steps. I’ve submitted manuscripts, and learned to love (ok, tolerate) rejection. I also endeavored to build my platform as a writer by launching this blog and committing to blogging Monday through Friday. My writing goals have been a mixed bag, but I’m hoping the relaxed pace of the new year will help me get back in the groove.

Finally, my dear friend Lourdes has foisted a final goal upon me: running a 10K in February. All I can say is, “stay tuned.” However, being able to run down an escaping 3-year-old is a valuable skill (those little legs are fast!), and races do keep me motivated.

For me, staying in shape, having a reasonably clean home and blogging are essential elements for raising curious kids. Do you make New Year’s resolutions? If so, what are some of yours?

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4 Replies to “New Year’s resolutions”

  1. I need to look into that cleaning book. I think I have a cleaning plan down but I can always improve. We are going to try and make and stick to a family resolutions, a couple resolutions and personal resolutions this upcoming year. We don’t know what they are going to be just yet but I’m going to try and keep them. I’m looking forward to our 10K, not so sure on that bridge, you are going to have to push me verbally and probably physically. I know we can do it!

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