The last guest has left, the decorations are packed, and those holiday cookies are just a distant, delicious memory. Sure, you’ve breathed a sigh of relief that the holiday chaos is over, but January’s cold days can also feel never-ending - leaving you with a serious case of cabin fever. Can’t escape to a warm beach? You can still bring a little warmth and sunshine into your home. Here’s how to get started freshening your home up after the holidays:
In winter, we tend to keep the windows and doors shut tight to keep out the cold. Unfortunately, this can also cause the air trapped inside our homes to feel a bit stale. Even opening the windows for 10 minutes on a sunny afternoon can help circulate fresh air into your home.
Is an unpleasant odor lurking in your kitchen after holiday meals and entertaining? Target odors at the source: Start by throwing out old produce, leftovers and condiments from your fridge. Add a fresh carton of baking soda or a cotton ball soaked in vanilla extract to absorb any lingering food smells. Finally, whirl lemon peels in your garbage disposal to give your kitchen a fresh, citrus scent.
Did you host Thanksgiving dinner and the neighborhood holiday party at your house this year? Your fridge is begging for a deep clean. After removing any food, mix a handful of salt in a gallon of warm water and use a sponge to clean the inside of your fridge. Readers Digest recommends this mixture since the salt isn’t abrasive and won’t introduce any new chemicals fumes to the fridge. Got a sticky food spill that won’t budget from the bottom of your fridge? Use a sponge doused in tomato juice or vinegar for a quick clean up.
In the dark days of winter, even the sunniest of spaces can start to feel a bit drab and tired. For an instant feel-good boost, HGTV recommends dressing your home to suit a sunnier mood. Suggestions include adding a pair of bright throw pillows to your sofa, swapping out heavy artwork for lighter pastel colors, and replacing heavier window treatments with sheers to let in more sunlight.
Front-load washers use a rubber door gasket to keep water from leaking out, which can also trap debris, dirt and moisture. Consumer Reports cautions that this can lead to mold formation and musty odors. In addition to following your washing machine’s instructional use manual and using the right amount of HE detergent, your machine may also benefit from a cleaning. Run a hot wash with one cup of bleach or vinegar. Keep the washing machine door open in between washing cycles to allow the space to fully dry out and decrease the likelihood for future mildew problems.
Sure, it’s chilly outside but that’s no reason to neglect basic yard work. Throw on a warm coat and gloves and head outside for a cleanup. Remove dead leaves branches from flower beds and shrubbery and keep greenery neatly trimmed. Keep an eye on your gutters. Clean debris from them as necessary to reduce the risk for ice dams during heavy winter storms. Missing a pop of color in the front yard? A mailbox in a bright hue or extra-large house numbers can make a bold, inviting statement even when your flowers aren’t blooming.
Unpleasant but true: Dead bugs inevitably end up along the tops of ceiling light fixtures and dust builds up along the edge of fan blades. Houzz recommends using a sturdy stepladder and a vacuum with an attachment to access these hard-to-reach places. Vacuum the dust and debris off your fan blades, pendant lights and chandeliers. Next, wipe fixtures down with a damp cloth. Finish by vacuuming the floor underneath to remove any dust that fell during the cleaning process.