Make a fresh start in the new year with a healthy pantry makeover, organized files and a decluttered home. Of course, once the energy of those new year’s resolutions begins to fizzle, you may be in need of a midwinter boost — when that time comes, try cozy accents and a few light-enhancing tips to keep the winter blues at bay.
1. Refresh Your Kitchen and Pantry for the New Year
- Have you made a new year’s resolution to eat healthier foods or eat out less and prepare more meals at home? Kick things off by thoroughly cleaning your kitchen and pantry. Put your blender or juicer in a prominent spot on the counter to make it easier to whip up healthy juices and smoothies, and place fresh produce front and center.
2. Take Down and Store Holiday Decorations
- Pack fragile ornaments with care, and wind tree lights around a piece of cardboard to avoid tangling. If there were any ornaments or decorations you didn’t end up using this year, consider giving them away, and save the space for things you really love.
3. Organize Your Papers and Digital Documents
- It’s like going to the dentist: not exactly a pleasant task, but you know you’ll feel good when it’s done. So brew yourself a cup of strong coffee, put on some energetic music and start sorting, shredding and filing. And don’t forget the computer — back up everything (put an automatic backup system in place if you don’t already have one), and begin sorting your digital documents and records using a simple filing system.
4. Bump Up Coziness
- Avoid the post-holiday slump by adding a few super soft and cozy accents around the house: think velvet cushions, fluffy faux-fur throws, knitted poufs, candles, fresh flowers or a new teapot. And while you may be taking down most of your holiday decorations in the early part of January, consider leaving up a few strands of white twinkle lights and swags of fresh greenery a bit longer — we could all use the extra cheer at this time of year!
5. Boost Light
- Getting enough light can make a huge difference in how we feel in winter. Do what you can to boost light by pulling open window coverings during the day, adding lamps and candles, and lighting a fire in the fireplace or wood stove if you have one. Or consider decorating with white for a light, bright look — in the Scandinavian countries, white interiors are common, thanks to their ability to amplify light and cheer up homes during those long, cold northern winters.
6. Keep Your Heating System Running Smoothly
- If you notice any strange new noises coming from your heaters, or if one area of the house suddenly seems colder, have the system looked at right away, as these can be signs something is wrong. Make sure to change the air filters in your furnace regularly. If you heat with oil, have your furnace or boiler cleaned every year. If you heat with gas, you can have it done every three years or so. For high-efficiency heating systems, make sure that PVC vent pipes are cleared of snow and debris.
7. Clear Home and Wardrobe Clutter
- Post-holidays is a good time for decluttering, since there’s a good chance you accumulated some new things over the previous few weeks. Grab a cardboard box and fill it with clothes, books and other items you no longer love or use. When it’s full, take it to a charitable donation center.
8. Plan Decorating and Remodeling Projects for the Year Ahead
- Thinking of remodeling the kitchen, adding a deck, putting fresh tile in the bath or painting your bedroom? Use your favorite resources to save inspiring ideas and begin contacting pros to see your project through in the new year.
9. Check Your Emergency Supplies
- With winter storms comes more potential for power outages — be prepared with fresh bottled water, shelf-stable foods, flashlights, batteries, first-aid supplies and a hand-crank radio and smartphone charger.
10. Check the Exterior and Landscape After Winter Storms
- Keep an eye out for ice dams on the roof, downed tree limbs and storm damage. Keep entrances and paths cleared of snow and ice, and be sure to arrange for snow removal around your home if you plan to be away this month.
I hope you all had a wonderful holiday season! Cheers to 2024! What’s on your home to-do list this January?