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You say you want a resolution

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THE NEW YEAR and resolutions go together like winter and rain. And just as winter brings rain, the new year brings a clean slate and a fresh start. Now to make your home clean and fresh for 2003.

Here are some questions to help you make some resolutions about home organization:

Have you made room in your life for a change?
If you’re serious about getting results, odds are that something must give — either in your space or your time. Choose your top priorities, as well as things that can slide this year. Focus on one thing at a time, such as keeping the entry tidy. Do this for at least 21 days to establish a habit. Then tackle another goal while maintaining the previous.

You say you want a resolution?
Good intentions are not enough. You must want to change, because chances are it will hurt at first. Vow to be determined to get organized. Then beware of “Shouldland,” where thoughts of what you should be doing (visiting friends, weeding the garden, etc.) contribute to unfulfilled resolutions.

Can you say no?
Being overcommitted is a cause of disorganization. Saying no can be difficult, but it’s paramount to staying focused. So instead of going shopping this weekend, use the time to clean out your kitchen drawers.

Did you tell a friend?
Everyone needs to be cheered on or given a kick in the pants. Having a “resolution buddy” can boost your accountability, generate support and give you someone to celebrate your victories with. Choose someone who is positive, available, believes in you and who will be straight with you. Consult with your buddy regularly.

Did you write it down?
It’s easy to get off course without reminders. Post your goals where you’ll see them — the bathroom mirror, refrigerator, locker or bulletin board. Writing down goals also psychologically raises their importance.

Are you a tortoise or a hare?
A common reason for tossing aside resolutions by February is lack of action. Sporadic, daylong cleaning frenzies might seem more productive, but small, consistent steps ultimately win the organization race. Clear a little clutter every day.

Did you make a step-by-step plan?
English sculptor Henry Moore said: “I think in terms of the day’s resolutions, not the year’s.” For most, yearly resolutions are too vague and overwhelming. Break it down into small steps so you can answer the question, “How did I do today?” If the answer is good, you have success to build on. If not, tomorrow is another chance to get it right. Before you know it, days turn into weeks and months, and your life and space is better organized.

What will you do today?
It’s cliche, but there’s no time like the present. Pick an area, say, the bedroom. Get everything off the floor and hung up, sorted, put away or discarded (donated). Tidy the tops of dressers and bedside tables. Sort books and tidy bookshelves. Put migrating items like the ironing board back in the right spot. While you’re finishing up, choose tomorrow’s project, say, the hall closet.

No giving up allowed. Starting over is OK. Stick to one thing until you get there. Roll up your sleeves, dig in and dig out.