I’m very excited to welcome in this new year. At the end of each year I review what I enjoyed and what worked, as well as what was not so successful. 2009 brought challenges to most, but I think for those who survived, we are stronger for it.Most people, when faced with challenges, will adapt to survive, especially when the challenge is an economic one. We look at our lives and try to decide what is important, and what we can do without. Surprisingly, what we sometimes cut out isn’t really missed, after all. Did that happen to you?This downsizing of our lives eventually impacts our environments. I believe we are now (and increasingly in the future) making our spaces more efficient and giving a greater role to functionality and budget. We are taking those spaces that were only used once or twice a year and rethinking their use (or lack thereof). Repurposing and beautifying an unused space can make your home more efficient and give you a space you’ll fully live in.I read this great article in the New York Times about a family that decided to make their lives more efficient by downsizing and living “by half”. http://www.nytimes.com/2010/01/24/opinion/24kristof.htmlWhat I enjoyed most about it was that in the discovery of living with less and in a smaller space, the family was forced to really live in each others’ lives. (Although for some of us who at times need to retreat away from our family, there should always be at least one space we can find in that desperation!)I think we can all examine the environments we’ve created for ourselves and see what changes are needed for us to fully live in our entire space. It might not be to live ‘by half” or to even downsize, but just a mere rediscovery of a space that is rarely used or a change in a room’s purpose to one that fits our current lifestyle and needs.