Day 17 of the January Money Diet – Improve Your Personal Space


“He is the happiest, be he king or peasant, who finds peace in his home.” ~ Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

Homework Assignment #17: Today’s challenge is to think about how you could improve one space in your home this month. Perhaps you’d like to focus some attention on the room where you spend a lot of time, such as your bedroom, your home office or your kitchen. Or maybe the family room looks a little worse for wear after the holidays and you’d like to spruce up the space. Just pick one room to focus on in the coming two weeks.

Notice how the most appealing photos in home magazines and real estate listings show rooms that are organized and devoid of clutter. With that in mind, look at your room with an eye for eliminating Stuff so that you can highlight a few possessions you really love.

Deep clean the room. Mop the floors. Polish the furniture. Wash the windows. Tighten hardware. Dig around under the sink and use some of those specialty cleaning products lingering there (I’m just guessing.) Do what you can with what you have.

Organize the storage spaces. Professional organizers suggest removing everything from the drawer or shelf or whatever area you’re tackling. Next, envision only those things you need in the space to function properly. Carefully add only those items back in, and move or eliminate any things that are left over.

For a new look, rearrange the furniture and artwork.

Try to bring an organic element into the room; this was one of our tricks when I was the publisher of a home design magazine. Something natural instantly adds life to a room. It could be as simple as a beautiful branch, or a large seashell from your vacation, or a tray of found objects that you pick up on a walk.

For inspiration, check out some creative design sites like Apartment Therapy, HGTV’s Design on a Dime and these great tips from Country Living. If you get busy, be sure to let us know about your efforts!

P.S. In case you’ve just joined us, the January Money Diet is a challenge to take a 31-day break from nonessential spending. You can learn more about the money diet here — and jump right in!


Win a Deluxe Happy Simple Living Gift Basket

In honor of the January Money Diet, I’ll be giving away a gift box chock-full of home and garden goodies including a signed copy of my newest book 101 things To Do With Bacon. On January 31, 2013, I’ll draw one random name from everyone who commented during the month and that lucky person will win the gift basket. I hope you’ll stop by often this month and share your own ideas, thoughts and experiences about taking a 31-day break from nonessential spending.


About Eliza Cross

Eliza Cross is a full-time writer and the author of a dozen books about food and home design. She has been blogging about simplicity and sustainable living since 2006.

Day 17 of the January Money Diet – Improve Your Personal Space

  • Not a living space, but earlier this month my husband and I tackled a portion of our basement, which is essentially just one big pile o’ junk. Now we have all our spare kitchen supplies, canning supplies and canned goods in one area, all the hunting, fishing and camping gear in one area, and best of all, lots of room for laundry and our drying racks. And plenty of floor space all around. It was truly an improvement and it’s almost a pleasure to be in the basement now.

  • Martha

    Got the bag of torn pants, shorts, t-shirts, and so forth out of the bedroom, into the car, and into the clothing recycling bin!

  • Cat

    Hey, just wanted to let you know that I can’t get the RSS feed for your blog to work in my google reader, It shows me the last post from 3rd January and it seems to also miss out on some other posts

  • Liz Kurz

    This isn’t exactly pertiente to today, but I had to share. I have thyroid issues, and have in the last two years put on some weight after giving birth to my last baby. I have been trying to lose this weight, but with the thyroid problems, it’s not coming off. So I buy one pair of jeans at a time and when the knees rip I patch and when something else wears thin and rips, I recycle them for patches. My jeans ripped in the thigh front a couple of days ago. Because of this money diet, I decided not to buy another pair straight off, but just wear the three pairs of yoga pants I have at least till the end of the month. maybe it will encourage me to workout more too. 🙂 Thanks for saving me $30-$60 bucks yesterday!

  • Deborah Gore

    I have my eyes set on the living room this weekend. A deep clean and rearranging. Thanks for the suggestion!

  • ElainieMay

    My weekend plan exactly!!

  • Ja-C

    I hope I can give a new look to the bedrooms we have this weekend…

  • Tana

    This kind of post is very inspirational for me..I like living in the simple way..

  • WendyLavigne

    Stuff so that you can highlight a few possessions you really love.Thanks for inspirational post..

  • Jezziel

    I will also give a new look to my bedroom and I will make sure it will not look messy…

  • Linda Henderson

    We had my daughter’s garage remodeled into a room for me and when I told the contractor what I wanted the first thing I asked for was a big closet with not only a rod but adjustable shelves. That way I can have a lot of things out of sight. I’ve got some really unique candles that I was given that look like sea life, they are actually really cool. Especially since I love lighthouse decor. They actually kind of fit in.

  • I definitely neglect my bedroom. It is one of the few places in the house that doesn’t get terribly messy. I’m going to try and look at it today with new eyes.

  • I’m ahead of you on this one this month! I spent all weekend cleaning out my office. The start of the year is a great time to do this – you need to get organized for taxes anyway, and cleaning out your files both gives you a feeling of accomplishment for what happened the prior year and a feeling of hope for what’s to come in the new year.

  • Lisa

    I am most of the way through my livingroom! Thanks for the motivation!!!

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