WORDS BY BRIE HAYES
There’s a running joke in my family that as soon as the presents are opened on Christmas morning, I’m ready to take down the tree and banish the decorations to the attic. I know that’s not the norm, but there’s just something cathartic about reclaiming the house back from all the holiday decorations and clutter.
Even if your tree lingers on into January, a new year is always a great time for a fresh start. So among your resolutions this year, (the ones you actually mean to keep!) plan to tackle one of these easy house projects that will make your house more enjoyable to come home to through the cold, dark winter months.
Refocus Your Entry
Are armies of shoes taking over your front hall? Every entry needs a place to sit down, somewhere to keep winter coats and shoes, and a designated spot to drop your keys or the mail. Even if you don’t have a designated foyer, you can create one with a small area rug and a bench. Some benches even come with storage, perfect for tossing shoes and boots into. If there’s no storage built in, create your own. A few pretty baskets can hide a house full of shoes, mittens and scarves. Even if the basket is a jumble, tucked under the bench, it will look neat and organized. If you have the room, every entry should have a table for mail and keys and all the things we seem to collect. Place a pretty dish or bowl on the table so that you’ll always know where your keys are and if there’s enough natural light to keep it alive, add a plant for a bit of green life. One of my favorite tips is to put a lamp (or two) on your entry table plugged into a timer. There’s something so welcoming about coming home to warm lamp light on cold winter nights. And a mirror is always nice to give yourself a quick glance before you head out the door! Put the lamp in front of the mirror and you’ll double your light!
I’m definitely not a minimalist by any means, and I’m not saying you have to go full on Marie Kondo, but a few times a year, I try to go through my home and declutter. January is a great time to do this. Old magazines can be donated and catalogs can be recycled. There are always a few gifts that would be better appreciated by someone else, so send them along rather than letting them collect dust where they aren’t needed or wanted. So many charity services are willing to come pick up furniture and household items that are still in good condition. Sometimes we just accumulate so much over the holidays, it can feel cathartic to spend a little time reclaiming our space. Make an appointment for a pickup to give yourself a deadline. Or set a timer for thirty minutes and get the whole family involved decluttering the rooms where you spend most of your time and you’ll feel a big impact.
Add Some Personality
Now that you’ve addressed your entry and decluttered, it’s time to do something fun that will make you happy in your home. There are small projects you can do that cost little to nothing. Update the pictures in your gallery wall. Add a few pretty pillows and an incredibly soft throw to your sofa to make the hours in front of the fireplace watching Netflix more enjoyable. You don’t have to spend a penny to rearrange your furniture. Try pulling everything away from the wall and you’ll realize how spacious the room can feel. A gallon of paint doesn’t cost a lot; maybe it’s time to change the color in your guest room. Feeling more ambitious? Maybe your living room rug has seen too many spills, and it’s time to replace it and change the whole feel of the room. Some easy to remove wallpaper could give your powder room a little shot of color or texture. Maybe it’s time to tackle that kitchen renovation? Need some help translating that Pinterest board into reality? Consult a designer. We’d love to help you come up with a plan.
January and February can be long , cold months in the Carolinas, so since you’re spending time inside anyway, spend some time making your home a welcoming, decluttered, pretty space! Spring seems far away, but before you know it, the days will be longer and it will be time to think about the garden!
Brie Hays is a certified Interior Designer and True Color Expert. She is available for design work and paint consultations through Harlow Hays Design Co. Follow her on Facebook or Instagram for decorating tips, or check out www.harlowhaysdesign.com