Fall is upon us, and I find myself doing what I do every year at this time: Prep. Away go the summer clothes and out come the winter clothes. Carpet and upholstery cleanings are scheduled before the snow arrives. The windows are washed and curtains are dry cleaned. And my most favorite of all, out come that fall decorations.
Back story, I LOVE the Fall. I love everything about it from the temperature and the changing leaves to the fashion, activities and pumpkin spice lattes that come out only for this time of year. However, I also don’t live close to my family, so when the deep winter arrives, this time of year can simultaneously be kind of depressing. So I go all out for my friends that are around year long as well as ones that stop in to visit and family that have the same idea. Beginning with Thanksgiving spanning all the way through to the New Year, Im all about keeping my social calendar stocked so that i can keep the winter blues away.
My loved ones always have the same reaction when they come to visit for the first time. “What a nice and cozy little place you have here”. Normally, people would take that offensively, but i don’t. I know my place isn't oversized; just enough space for myself and little one to spread out. But the cozy, the cozy was not accidental. It was thoughtfully planned and executed down to the very last detail. Every gathering at my home begins at least a month in advance with preparation, and if your anything like me, theres a lot that needs to get done; and it can feel more overwhelming than the blues you were trying to keep at bay in the first place. Here are a few tips and tricks I use during the fall and winter seasons to keep my home feeling warm and cozy with out driving myself crazy in the process:
1. Make a list of everything that needs to be done and then number them by priority.
Somethings on your list may not be practical, and as you go through the items you’ll find that some replace the need for others that aren’t really necessities.
2. Schedule carpet and upholstery cleanings
Theres nothing like a shut up house and jacked up thermostat to remind you (and your guests) that your house is NOT a hotel. Get the couches, arm chairs, drapes and carpets cleaned before its too cold to even consider it. Ideally you should do this twice a year; before winter begins, and again when spring breaks. As your family and friends come in from the brutal cold, you'll be happy to know that the retreat your trying to create doesn't smell like a hostel versus a five star spa.
3. Pack away your spring/summer clothes
Aside from the fact that they can be depressing to spot every time you reach into your closet for all those layers, they're taking up valuable real estate for clothes your ACTUALLY wearing. Its much more enjoyable to shop in your closet when your not rejecting five or six pieces before you get to the good stuff, because they're not appropriate for the weather. This is also the perfect time to donate those things that don't fit, are out of date, or could just find a better home with someone who could really use and appreciate them. Make sure you wash items before you store them as well. Storing clothing unwashed can welcome unwanted visitors in your attic or crawl space.
4. Drape the Draft
This tip is more for people who may not live in such an energy efficient place. Older, more historic buildings that haven’t had window updates tend to suck the warm air out trough cracks in the sill and replace it with frosty breezes instead. Nothing keeps the draft out like heavy drapes backed with thermal fabric liners.
5. Bake sweet treats
You never know when people will stop by. If your anything like me, you’ll wanna offer them something wonderful to make the trip to visit you that much more enjoyable. Store bought will do the trick, but you’ll be missing that just baked smell in the air that seems to take a lot of people back to the fond memories of grandma’s house.
6. Light it Up
If you’ve got any dark corners, visit your local consignment shop to find a cool new lamp and shade to brighten up those dark seasonal days. Or go high-end and splurge on something fabulous! Hint: If your not an electrician, don't try to be. If you've decided on installing fixtures or wall sconces, save a trip to the emergency room and hire a professional
7. Stock the Guest Room
When you come to stay with me, its all the bells and whistles baby. I want you to feel like its a five star hotel. Surprisingly, it doesn’t take much to accomplish this because if you think about it, hotel rooms are decorated from a minimalist perspective. Fresh white sheets and towels, mint on the pillows, extra pillows and blankets in the linen closet or footlocker and fresh flowers on the night stand are all you need for the effect. I use drawer dividers in the night stands and stash shampoo and conditioner sets i grab from my hotel stays (sharing the wealth), lotions, aspirin, a sleep mask and a fun summer read. empty chambers provide a great place for guests to store glasses, keys, cell phones and jewelry. Wrap it up with an extra fluffy robe behind the door, your guests will never wanna leave.
8. Stock up on tea, brandy, and rum
Nothing like a warm cup of tea to help your guest digest that yummy turkey feast you guys just devoured, but thats not the main reason to have it. Every once in a while one of your guest will come down with a little something from their weary travels. Nothing like a homemade hot toddy to make them feel loved and cared for. A hot bath with rum added liberally in the water can help to break a fever and clear a congested chest. Just in case your not a lush like my Irish/Jamaican family, stock up on Thera-flu, DayQuil and Motrin for kids.
I know not everyone is a fall fanatic like I am, but these 8 things can certainly make a believer of you and your loved ones. Enjoy the last days of summer while you can, I hear we're in for a brutal cold season.