1. Organize your winter gear.
In cold climates, all those hats, gloves, scarves, boots and coats you've needed in the last few months may be starting to get out of control! Go through your coats and be sure that only the ones you need right now are out on your hooks or at the center of the closet. Leave the others at the back of the closet or otherwise stored away until you need them again. Be sure that you have a drip tray or mat for wet boots. Try a decorative basket to keep hats and gloves organized but on-hand for easy morning routines.
2. Clean out your pantry.
Who doesn't have cabinets and pantries filled with stale crackers and other odds and ends that need clearing out? Start by tossing anything that's old, stale or that you will never use (you can donate anything that is sealed and not expired). Check and see if you can consolidate containers or discard large clunky boxes of individually packaged items. Set everything out on the counter and clean the shelves with soap and water or kitchen cleaner. Be sure that any items that you place back on the shelf are also clean. Consider organizing the items on your counter into categories first, and then see what works best on each shelf. As usual, keep things you use most often at eye level and work from there.
3. Clean your fridge.
Clear out spoiled food first. Shift items around so that you can wash shelves one by one without needing to remove any items. Organize items and clean each one as it is placed back in its spot. Once you are done working on the inside of the refrigerator look to the seal. Take a dollar bill and place it in the opening and shut the door. Does the bill pull back out easily? If it does, it's time to inspect the seal. If it looks to be in good condition, consider having a maintenance professional out to see why the refrigerator is not sealing properly. If it looks deteriorated, it's time to replace it. The last step is vacuuming the coils. If you've never done this before, learn how: here.
4. Give your closet a makeover.
When you have a day inside and time to spare, try cleaning a closet. Closet projects can take a long time so choose one that you have time to finish before "time is up." The best way to clean a closet is to remove all items, purge, organize, and restock. Creation action "piles" in the area around the closet. Your toss area could simply be a large garbage bag. Keep sections for: items to be put back in the closet, items to toss, items that belong in other rooms, and items that require action. Don't stop your sorting to read papers, or look through pictures etc. Anything that requires action should be placed in the action pile for later. This will help you stay on task. Consider setting a timer to keep you focused on quick sorting. Once you finish sorting, it's time to work on each section. First, throw out the trash. Get it out of your way and move on to organizing what is left behind. Organize the items to go back into the closet and decide what fits best in the spaces you have. The very last thing you will do is address the take action items. Deliver items that belong elsewhere in the house to their respective rooms, then go through the rest of the items as necessary. Clean as you go and don't forget to vacuum up at the end for an oh-so-satisfying final product!
5. Do some painting.
A simple DIY project to brighten any dreary day is to paint. Give a room in your home a makeover with a splash of spring color to ward off those winter blues. It's one of the least expensive home projects you can do with serious potential for positive impact. According to WebMD, "Warm tones like reds, yellows, and oranges, and earth tones like brown and beige often work well in both the living room and foyer, because they're though to stimulate conversation." In the bedroom, they add, "Cool colors -- blues, greens and lavenders -- can be great choices here, because they are thought to have a calming effect." So get creative and pick a hue that gives the right cue!
6. Install a backplash.
For a bit more adventurous DIYers with gloomy days ahead, consider adding a backsplash to your kitchen or bath. You'll need a day or two, but not much longer - so it's a great weekend project. Even chic mosaic glass tiles are growing so much in popularity that big box stores carry affordable options that don't skimp on style. In a matter of days your space will undergo a dramatic transformation that you can enjoy for years to come.
7. Clean under the sinks.
How long has it been since you cleaned out under your sink? Open those doors and empty everything out onto a towel or newspaper. Toss empty bottles and consolidate LIKE cleaners. (Then vow to keep the under sink area clean from now on so you never have 3 open bottles of Windex under there again). Use one of those cleaners you've been stock-piling to clean the bottom of the cabinet. In the kitchen, if you keep your garbage can under the sink, take that out as well and disinfect it before replacing it. Now that the area is clean consider installing a slide out rack or other storage systems to better organize your items. Did you know that an over the cabinet door dish towel holder installed in reverse can hold hanging bottles of cleaner? Try it! It's fabulously simple and effective. Oh, and while you are down there, take a peak at the plumbing and inspect for any leaks - now' a great time to tend to those as well.
8. Clean the sticky grease in the kitchen.
The kitchen is a notorious grease magnet. Cabinets, appliances, vent hoods, and ceiling fans are especially adept at holding onto grease and all the dust and dirt they can ensnare! Today is as good a day as any to nip it in the bud. Use specially formulated grease fighting agents, or try a mixture of vinegar, baking soda, and dish soap to create your own grime-fighting solution. Got stubborn grease? Did you know that oil fights oil? If you take some vegetable oil on a paper towel and work it in, for example, onto the grease splatter zone of your stove top, it will allow you to re-liquefy the dried on grease - now it's a bit shiny but is looking great. Let's take it one step further and use a soap and water solution to remove all the oils (old and new) and voila!
9. Paint a piece of accent furniture.
So, you don't feel like painting an entire room? That's ok. How about choosing a peice of accent furniture in the house and making it even more of a focal point by painting it. Need inspiration? Type "painted furniture" into Pinterest and you'll be off in no time! (If you ever get yourself back off Pinterest that is!)
10. Freshen the Air.
During the winter when the home is all closed up, air becomes stagnant and odors and allergens have no way of escaping. First, change all your home filters. A clean filter will help ensure that everyone is breathing easier. Then, launder or vacuum window treatments. This is not only refreshing, but it will help to eliminate the dust, dander, pollen and other allergens that may have accumulated on the fabric. If home odors are an issue, check out our Eliminating Home Odors Blog.