I hereby resolve to:
* Take down my holiday decorations by Jan. 6. I find fire-hazard-brown Christmas trees surrounded by bits of wrapping paper and tangles of tinsel irritating in the homes of others, but charming and homey in mine. I will put my poinsettias out of their misery before their foil wrapping begins to rust. You will not find a tired poinsettia with two limp red leaves on my front porch on July 1 this year.
* Organize my two drawers-full of photographs. Not having these photos organized has resulted in mangled photos, strained muscles (it takes two hands and a great deal of strength to open the drawers) and embarrassing absences at parties (searching for the photos a guest wants to see and not being able to find them). I will look at each photo, decide whether or not it is worth keeping, sort and either place it in a photo storage box or in a specially labeled album. I can almost feel the relief of having this task completed.
* Clear a pathway through the garage. Most of our friends enter our house through the garage. This makes my skin creep with embarrassment, as our garage does not offer tidy views or safe passage. Comments such as, "For a person who pushes organization, your garage sure looks messy" are frequently made. I pledge to make a clever hanging storage system for our tools and gardening supplies, and to donate anything I don't sell at the next flea market to the Goodwill. I will feel proud to invite my guests through my garage by this time next year.
* Fix the crack that everyone looks up at when they enter the front door. Of course I never notice this crack until we have guests (I never notice any of my home's flaws until someone else does or until one of them jumps out and bites me). People usually ask if it was caused by the 1989 earthquake and I have to be honest and tell them it's been there for much longer than that. I promise to get a book from the library and learn how to fix it. This will keep people from straining their necks and save me from further embarrassment.
* Get rid of the 2-foot-tall pile of New Yorker magazines I think I must save "just in case." I have not referred back to a single issue in that pile and I doubt if I'll need to. By then they'll have everything computerized and I won't need a hard copy. I will have to learn not to walk around the pile once it's gone, but I'm looking forward to having more space.
* Stop whining about how outrageously expensive and uncomfortable the rooms in ritzy design magazines are. This has been a pet peeve of mine for a long time. Most design magazines display homes that the average American could never afford to build, filled with decor found only in museums. And the furniture — hard, metallic, one-of-kind pieces you would never think of sitting in because it's so uncomfortable — placed willy-nilly so that you're either off in a corner or facing the back of a sofa. You never see articles on "Furnishing Your Living Room for $500 or Less" or "New Ways with Goodwill Treasures." There I go again. I will stop complaining, but it's going to be really hard for me.
Check in with me this time next year to see how I've done with my resolutions. Have a prosperous and joyful New Year, and may you keep your New Year's decorating resolutions.
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