The holidays were not what we were expecting this year with all the ongoing pandemic restrictions. And to top it off, it’s been a freakin’ long day at work. All you want is to get home and relax on your deck. But nooooooo, it’s already dark outside and that frosty bite in the air reminds you that summer is long gone and not due to make a return for many months.
OK, inside it is. However, plenty of us don’t even have the luxury of working outside the home. Or possibly working at all. So indoors probably feels more like a dank cave than a welcoming oasis. Extra depressing.
You can overcome this. You don’t have to succumb to the post-holiday winter blahs. Just implement a few of these ideas, and you’ll be warm and comfy inside until winter’s worst blows over. And hopefully the pandemic along with it.
1. Clean your light fixtures and bulbs
Your home will appear 30% brighter — without turning on more lights. You’d be surprised by how much residue builds up on those things!
2. Keep the cold air out
It’s not just window and door leaks killing your cozy vibe. Don’t forget to plug stealthy gaps around recessed lights, electrical boxes and wall outlets. Use a lit incense stick or scented candle to hunt down drafty spots while leaving behind a cozy scent.
3. Dig out your slow cooker
Nothing says warm and cozy like opening the door to an enticing aroma that makes your mouth water. Even better, slow cookers are more energy
efficient than electric ovens, typically using less energy than a light bulb.
4. Bring home some nature
Many indoor plants, like golden pothos and gerbera daisies, are particularly adept at sucking up nasty VOCs — the vapors emitted from household cleaners, paints and dry cleaning. And since plants increase humidity levels, they help decrease household dust. Studies have also shown that gazing at a houseplant for a few minutes a day, just like staring into the eyes of a pet, helps reduce stress levels. The bonus is, no poop to scoop!
5. Vacuum with your thermostat fan on
Run the fan to help filter dust that gets kicked up while cleaning. Leave it on for about 15 minutes after you finish vacuuming, and switch it back to “auto” afterward. HVAC blowers aren’t intended to run all the time.
6. Change the furnace/air conditioner filter
Change your filter every couple of months (monthly if you have pets) to prevent excess dust and allergens from circulating. All that bad air just gets you down. If you can’t remember the last time you changed the filter, or you see dust bunnies trying to escape from your vents, it’s time! Better yet, get the furnace professionally cleaned. A dirty furnace is more likely to break down.
7. Let the sunlight in (It’ll make you happy!)
Clean your windows. Sparkling glass not only lets more natural light into your home, it’s a feel-good task, according to a survey by the American Clean Institute. When ACI asked consumers what clean surfaces make them happy, “gleaming windows” made the top five above a “spotless sink.” Besides all that, daylight is a great mood booster. Our bodies can’t manufacture vitamin D — the happy vitamin — and sunshine is the perfect source.
8. Put your window screens into hibernation
They trap dirt and can make your home appear darker inside and out. It’s a good curb appeal booster, too. At least for the winter months. Any Canadian knows that screens are an essential home accessory during the summer because . . . mosquitoes.
9. Add an interior window
If you’ve got a dark room that’s next to a sun-drenched space, putting a window in the shared wall will let the natural light in. Not a window with glass, necessarily, but just an opening in the wall between the rooms to allow the light through. But if privacy is an issue, you can put in a frosted glass pane, or glass blocks, to maintain the division of the two spaces while brightening up the darker room.
Utilizing just a few of these ideas should help ease you through the coldest, darkest months of the year.