February is here! The month of love. But if you’re like me, you don’t really care about Valentine’s Day. Oops. Is that an unpopular opinion?
Sorry! I guess you could call me the Scrooge of Valentine’s.
That right there is one reason why I could take or leave the day. Halloween has ghosts, Jack-O-Lanterns, mummies, skeletons, Frankensteins, witches, and a Great Pumpkin. Thanksgiving has the Macy’s Parade featuring a giant turkey float and all the balloons. Christmas has Santa, Frosty, Rudolph, Buddy the Elf, Elf on a Shelf, and Scrooge.
What do we get for February 14th? A chubby cherub with a bow and arrow.
I try not to wallow in complaining, so I am here to put a different spin on Valentine’s Day. Instead of making the day all about how much you love your partner (because to be honest, we probably should be doing that every day), let’s talk about how you can show love to your home.
Whether you’re just moving in or need to reignite the spark, try these 5 tips. And as a bonus, these pointers can help in any situation, whether you’re stuck where you are for a while, are thinking of selling, or are getting ready to purchase a new home.
For starters, pick a color you can live with. As a rule, according to ThePaintPeople.com, yellow will cheer you up, sky blue will rejuvenate you, violet will help you relax and be mindful, yellow green can instill optimism, and silver-grey brings harmony to a room.
One color that didn’t make the list is red. It’s a color usually used to indicate danger and can make you feel anxious.
If you’re thinking of possibly selling, go for calm and neutral colors, which are better for resale. Unless it’s a kid’s bedroom, room colors should be some shade of grey or beige.
Just moving in? You might be tempted to pick a trendy color or go with a bold accent wall, but keep in mind that while neutral may seem boring, it’s actually easier to live with. You might find yourself getting sick of a brash color quickly.
Feel like you don’t have enough space? Purge! Thinking of selling? Purge! Getting ready to move into a new home? Purge! The answer is always PURGE!
When Adam and I first moved to Florida, we got homesick after 10 months and moved back to New York. Then we had a cold and rainy winter and moved back down to FL after another 10 months.
For the first move, I found a convection oven still in its box that I had gotten at my wedding shower. I slapped a moving label on it and brought it down to FL. Then, when we went back to NY, it came back in its sealed box. When it was time to gather our stuff for the third and final move, I had a moment of reckoning when I came face-to-face with the box again. How much stuff would I be moving for the third time that I had NEVER used? That was the first of many Great Purges I have conducted over the years.
But you don’t need an impending move to inspire you to get rid of stuff you’re not using. Set a timer for 5 minutes and clean out a junk drawer, your sock drawer, or your closet. I guarantee YOU will feel physically lighter. Do this once a day for a week, and you’ll start to like your house just a little bit more each time.
- Eliminate chaos
This is NOT the same thing as purging items you no longer use, but it IS containing the items you do use, probably every day.
It starts with making your bed every morning. Making your bed allows you to feel a sense of accomplishment before anything else can happen to screw up your day. If you’re not a bed-maker, try it. When you have a difficult day and come home to an unmade bed, your entire world is unsettled, but if you come home to a bed that IS made, all is right in your little corner of the world. It really does give you a little sense of control.
Another spot that’s ripe for disarray? The laundry room. Don’t let dirty laundry pile up – make sure you have designated laundry days, like Sundays and Wednesdays for clothes, and Fridays for linens, for example. The most important thing is that you fold the laundry once it’s done and promptly put it away. What good is clean laundry if it’s still hanging around in a pile?
And keep the landing zone organized. You know what I mean. It’s that spot in the house where everything seems to land, like the mudroom, kitchen counter, or, in our house, the never used for eating dining room table. Out of sight usually means out of mind, which is why things end up in the landing zone. You don’t want to forget to bring the book to book club, the gift card for dinner, the whatever to the whereover, so you leave everything in a spot where you’ll see it. Make sure you pay attention to this area frequently or it’s at risk of becoming just a regular dumping ground.
If you’re getting ready to sell, the landing zone needs to be removed. I know what you’re thinking…you can’t live without the landing zone! Here’s an easy tip: designate a laundry basket that you use to hold all these items while your house is being shown. Before you leave the house for the day or just before the showing, swipe up everything and put it in the basket. Hide the basket in the laundry room or in a closet, and then you can easily put everything back when the showing or the day is done.
Moving to a new space? Now is the chance to intentionally choose the landing zone. Try not to make it a space that’s too big because items you need to store here will expand to fit the space.
- Bring in natural elements
It’s been proven that bringing natural elements inside your home can improve your health by lowering stress and anxiety. And whether you’re stuck inside because it’s too cold or too hot (yes, that’s a thing in Florida, and it’s called August), bringing the outside in will keep the blues away when you can’t get out.
The obvious way to do this is with flowers, plants, or displays of shells, but we want you to think outside of the box.
With color, you can bring in pops that mimic those you see in nature – the blue of the sky, the yellow green of a Granny Smith apple, the shade of sand at your favorite beach.
You can add interesting shapes and textures with branches, antlers, feathers, agate rocks, and coral.
Use elements that feel rustic or outdoorsy, like roughhewn or weathered wood beams and cabinets; bamboo, wicker, and rattan furniture; and jute, sisal, and seagrass rugs.
If you’re thinking of selling, make sure your natural materials reflect the place where your home is. For example, here in Florida we have a lot of transplants from elsewhere in the U.S. It’s fine to try to recreate the feel of Vermont in your Florida den if you’re not going anywhere, but if you’re thinking of selling, make the space tropical or neutral. It’s difficult to tour a home in Clearwater when the décor transports you to ski slopes at Mt. Snow.
- Make a good first impression before you even step inside
You might be thinking that I should’ve put this first, but to be honest, I totally forgot about it until now, and that’s the point. You step out of your home in the morning and the worn welcome mat makes you feel a little grumpy, but you forget about it as you go about your day. You come home, and the wilting flowers sadly greet you. Again, it makes you a little grumpy, but you go inside and get on with your life.
Is this how you want to bookend your day? If you’re selling, is this the impression you want to make? If you’re moving into a new house, is this what you want to see every time you leave and come home?
Spruce things up with a seasonal door mat, new flowers (and flowerpots too), and fresh mulch. Sweep away all cobwebs, edge the flower beds, and power wash the driveway and walkways. Go crazy and really switch things up with a new paint color on the front door.
These 5 ways to show love to your home really don’t take too much time and can give you a big bang for your buck when it comes to the increase of joy you’ll feel living in your space.