I am such a freshening up mood right now. Unlike last year where I let our pine garland hang around for awhile, it’s now down and things are looking fresh again. Although winter is undoubtedly the perfect time to hibernate and neglect some of your usual cleaning rhythms given that everyone and everything moves a bit slower, it does feel wonderful to do a few things to refresh your home for the new year. There are ways you can simplify and clean right now to help better suit your living space with your needs, so when you are home you feel inspired, grounded, and comforted. Here are ten tips to help you do this:
- 30 Minute Toss: Challenge yourself to set your timer for 30 minutes a day for one whole week to declutter and toss things you no longer need or use. Setting a timer makes this task a little less daunting because you are all done for the day once you hear the ding! Go through closets, medicine cabinets, cupboards, your craft areas, and places that end up being catch-alls for papers and junk. Take a big trash bag around and gather, gather, gather. Then take said bag to an open space like your living room floor and further sort what you’ve gathered into three bins. Store the bins in your garage or out of the way, and then each time your do your 30 minute toss for the week bring them out so you can sort. At the end of the week take your donation items to the thrift store, get rid of trash objects, and recycle everything else.
- Manage Your Dust Situation: If you have an old home like ours, you know very well how quickly dust can accumulate. Despite the lovely filters on IG, dust bunnies are everywhere in our home. Now is a great time to do a good sweep under things you normally do not get to like the heavier furniture. It is also a great time to following to help manage your dust situation: vacuum dryer vents, vacuum furniture bottoms, clean ceiling fan blades and light fixtures, clean out your fireplace, and replace air filters if needed.
- Set Up a Donation Bin: Set up a donation bin somewhere in your home for items to go that no longer fit. I am sure you could gather several things off the top of your head right now that you don’t regard as essential. Go get them and start a new habit. We have our donation bin in the linen closet on our second floor. I only hang onto children’s clothing that I love dearly, and everything else gets sent to the thrift store when the kids outgrow something. The same goes for toys, various household objects, and clothing I no longer wear. Having a bin in place makes this practice easy when I come across something I want to get rid of. When the bin is full, donate!
- Wood Conditioning: This time of year means dry and cracked everything, wooden spoons, cutting boards, butcher block, and furniture included. You can make this homemade wood butter (it’s just two ingredients) and go to town on anything that needs a good conditioning. It’s important to take care of the things we invest in so they last and keep working for us.
- Rearrange Your Furniture: As a chronic re-arranger, this is a fun one for me. What better time then at the start of a new year to rearrange your furniture to make your living spaces feel new and refreshed? Move a bed against a new wall, swap arm chairs, move your TV to another room (or get rid of it altogether!), create a play nook, and move little things around to make them look and feel renewed. If you are limited on space and your options small concerning big furniture, swap around smaller things like baskets, accessories, books, and wall photos etc. to create a different look and feel. Switching out bedding is a great example of a small change that can really affect the vibe of the whole room. You don’t necessarily need to move the big furniture, but if you can, go for it.
- Make a Creative Space to Unplug: I think every home should have a little nook where one can unplug and read or write without the tug of technology, however podcasts and music being A-OK in my book. My quiet space is in our bedroom underneath a big old window for natural light. My desk fits right in there like it was always meant to be. Sometimes I sew, write notes, dig into my planner, journal, write this blog, whatever it is that helps inspire me outside of the fray of motherhood. Our home is my office so to speak, and it makes a big difference having a place of my own to just be if needed.
- Declutter the Entryway: Coming home should feel like a breath of fresh air, not a messy clutter fest. Invest in a few small baskets to house mittens and scarves and boots for the winter season, then hang only the essential coats on your racks. Put the rest of the coats and snow pants elsewhere, like a bottom drawer upstairs to get to if you really need them. If you have an entryway closest wonderful! Use that. If not, make the space that welcomes you home just that, welcoming. Add a candle, put some dried flowers in a vase, and keep a hook or two free. Try to keep this area an inviting one that is clutter-free.
- Pantry Clean Out: If you haven’t used it in a year, toss. Start the year with clean cupboards by wiping them down making everything visible so you know what you have on hand before buying nonessentials at the market. If there is food you have not opened but do not plan on using take it to shelter or a local food pantry. This would be a wonderful act of service to do with your little ones.
- Set Up Food Delivery: Food delivery is a simple way you can cut out a lot of stress during your week so why not take advantage of what’s out there in your local community!? Our family gets a weekly delivery from Shatto with local staples like bread, milk, cream, butter, chicken, bacon, and eggs. By using their delivery system we are supporting local farms and families that are dedicated to providing consumers with organic, wholesome food. If you live in the Kansas City area, I would check it out. I have also used Hy-Vee online delivery for pantry items and various CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) for seasonal items like fruits and vegetables from local farms in the growing months. Here is a link to all the wonderful CSAs in the KC area. Some great options out there are Door to Door Organics is a great food delivery option too! With a little research, you too can save time and reduce stress by getting local food products delivered to your front door.
- Essential Oil Sanitization: Now more than any other time of year is it important to get rid of germs in your home. Clear the surfaces of your home and spray them with a essential oil based cleaner, my go-to is Thieves essential oil. Wipe everything down. Thieves oil a staple in our home and the concentrated cleaner is what I use in lieu of harmful chemicals when cleaning and sanitizing. It is a blend of rosemary, clove, lemon, cinnamon, eucalyptus and smells just as wonderful as it cleans. You can treat your all-purpose cleaner like sanitizer spray as well and get the door handles, the air, furniture, and toys without having to worry about it being harmful for your little ones. I add one capful of concentrated cleaner to my amber spray bottle and fill the rest with water. Sometimes I’ll add a few other drops of essential oils like citrus or lavender depending on the scent I want, but thieves alone is really great. Here is more information on thieves oil, if interested in learning about it.
There you are! 10 things you can do this week or month to help you feel renewed and refreshed at home for the new year. Do you do any of these things already? What simple things are you planning on implementing into your daily rhythms and routines at home to help you out this year?