8 Smart Choices That Breathe Fresh Life Into Your Home

It's frigid outside in this neck of the woods.  Icicles hang hardened by blustery wind, the sky's the color of bleached slate, and we nestle inside, ladling hot soup into bowls ready and waiting.

We curl up by the warm glow of candlelight or fireside, faded sweatshirt atop turtleneck layered to keep us warm, fuzzy vests and well-worn slipper socks comforting us with their soft touch.  We embark on endless wintertime hours with a faded quilt tucked snug, books and handwork and laptops at the ready.  Quiet music plays ... or the television drones.

And somewhere deep within us, there's a winsome place that longs for huge breaths of fresh life ... even though spring .  is .  months .  away.

But these eight choices? 

Most are fairly simple.  Yes, they might expend some energy ... and yet only one or two require a bit of cash.  These tasks completed bring a contended sigh of relief.  A smile that wends its way down to the soul.  The encouragement of a job well done.  And gratitude for the haven that over time, has become our space, our place.


Yes, these we can do ...

#1.  fling those windows wide open

Even if it's only 15 degrees out and the wind is blowing mightily, I've been opening a window or two when I change the linens, clean the bathrooms, or when some heavy-duty cooking threatens to make the house smell like homemade chicken soup forever. 

Our rooms are just begging for fresh breezes to visit and flow freely, even if just for a few minutes.  Stale air, nestling germs, and airborne dust mites have no choice but to flee.

Sure beats a chemical-laden air freshener, yes?

We definitely sleep better at night when that window is cracked just a wee bit.  And sometimes we may even get to hear a lone bird chirping a solitary winter song.

#2.  bid a fond farewell to all things Christmas

Nobody hates saying good-bye to the window lights more than I do.  I so love their twinkling glow on a dark winter's night, welcoming me home after a long day's work. 

But they've been up and running since mid-October.  Enough already.

And it's time to deliver the last of the gifts, read the cards one more time, roll up the wrapping paper, pack the decorations well, and toss or donate anything and everything that's not worth holding on to.

Go ahead and keep a little light aglow or a tiny, fluffy snowman here and there if you'd like.

But around here?  I'm done and happy to welcome my home back to its simple pre-holiday stillness.

#3.  clean out & clean off the fridge

Inside and out, this appliance is always in use.  Opening the doors, tossing anything that's past expiration or looking a bit strange, and giving it a good scrub down is a not-at-all fun but necessary chore.

And if the fridge is sagging under the weight of endless magnets holding up all manner of receipts, notices, artwork, lists, bills, take-out menus, and photos?

Well, it's time to be ruthless.  Our family to-do list goes on the white board.  That stays.

The kids' pictures are in individual frames that cost about 79 cents a piece.  Love that.

And I always need quick access to scrap paper and a pen.


Everything else that's been hanging around?

Outta there.

#4.  replace the grungy shower curtain

Enough said.  Who needs mold or mildew taking up residence in what should be one of the cleanest spaces in our homes?  For $2.99, I love this crisp, clear plastic sheet that lines the toile curtain.

And while we're in the bathroom, it takes all of about a half hour to empty the medicine cabinet shelves and the random drawers, clean them good, and toss any expired meds and all other objects past their prime.  If you're unsure if a medication should stay or go, give your pharmacist a buzz.

#5.  dig out the good linens & put them to work
Far too often we tuck away precious possessions that, put to good use, would give us real pleasure.  This quilt is one of my favorite things, a lovely treasure discovered in my mother-in-law's cedar chest.  Yes, I'm very careful with it and the bed is strictly off limits to the little ones when it comes to trampoline bouncing.

I use this handcrafted spread often, with great appreciation for the still vibrant colors and exquisite craftsmanship.  And very fond memories of the woman who raised the man I married.

With the right care, some quilts can be wonderful accessories that travel with ease around our homes.  The quilt back up in picture #1 just came out of the washer and dryer after its annual stint as a Christmas tree skirt.  It's also made appearances as a tablecloth {when we weren't dining}, and as a cozy throw over sofas and chairs.  For $39 at a tag sale, that vintage baby's been a real good friend.

#6.  toss those old newspapers & magazines

More than 6 months old?  You can bet that if they haven't been read by now, they probably never will be.  Gently used magazines get shared with family, friends, or donated to the library.  And newspapers get recycled.

#7.  snip something crisp & alive on a winter's walk

Whether it's those wonderful bittersweet vines, fragrant boughs of evergreen, or dried pods and seeds still hanging in there, I love grabbing the snippers and bringing an armload of nature's treasures indoors.  And the brisk walk to head there and back again?  Very much needed right about now.

#8.  finish up a project
My eldest daughter couldn't say 'no' to this FREE vintage buffet, a leftover from her neighbor's garage sale.  The thing weighs a ton, and the endless sanding and repair took more time than she would have liked.  But determined to get her car back inside the garage for the winter, she recently wrapped up her big redo. 

Now painted a crisp white, the old buffet has morphed into a wonderful storage workhorse with a whole bunch of drawers where the little ones to store their bountiful craft supplies ... and several big ol' cubbies that hold their stash of puzzles and games.

All for the cost of some paint ... plus a whole lot of love-fueled energy.


What are you doing to breathe life into your mid-winter home?

Any projects underway ... or homekeeping tips to share?

Do tell!



visiting with
Kelley  &  Holley