Phil Says: Embrace Minimalism This Winter

Welp, looks déjà vu all over again: You humans — at least in Western Pennsylvania — have six more weeks of #winter to cope with. Take advantage of that #indoor time to #chuck some of that #stuff you don’t need like I would wood! I’m a minimalist — I often dig multiple chambers and only furnish and use one or two, but it keeps me and the forest above healthy. Try to limit the visible items in each room to the things you use there every day, and #store anything else out of sight. In the process, you can eliminate and #donate the things you don’t need or want to ClothingDonations.org. Many thanks to the Organizing Blog for letting me guest this week. Now it’s back to bed for another month or so — Punxsutawney Phil, signing off!

Easy Home Improvements That Can Counter the Winter Blahs

With rain, snow and ice in the forecast, the temptation is often to hole up and spend some quality time with the TV. But after you’ve shoveled the walk and streamed all of your programs, you may start to notice that your surroundings are looking a bit dingy. Fortunately, winter is a great time to pursue #home improvement projects large and small, whether you go with a professional contractor or do it yourself.

Get the ball rolling by #organizing a small space. #Donate or sell any clothes you no longer wear to ClothingDonations.org to give closets some breathing room. One good upgrade is to install shelves and bins that keep clothing neatly folded and grouped by color and category, The Washington Post says. Over-the-door #organizers can help store shoes and other garments.

Another simple project to consider is to #declutter the #garage and install more #storage. Garages often have lots of overhead space that can hold bins of seasonal #stuff such as sports equipment and #holiday decorations until you need them. All you’ll need is a drill and a few screws to get started on a new set of shelves or overhead racks.

People who work from home now have even more time to consider their home environment, and ample incentive and opportunity to keep things #clean (or not). Instead of thinking of #household #chores as insurmountable, time-consuming tasks, schedule five-minute breaks throughout the work day to do a load of laundry or scrub the sink; your productivity will skyrocket.

For a quick refresh, try painting a room. A fresh coat of paint in a new or tired-and-true color will instantly make the space look #cleaner and can take less than a day to accomplish, depending on the space. The secret is in the prep work: Sand uneven areas, fill nail holes, dust and tape before you start rolling out the new paint.

Another option is to upgrade the lighting in your home to counter the energy-sapping dark days of winter. Simply upgrade and replace the light bulbs already in use, install a “smart” lighting app, or opt for a new “statement” light fixture, Forbes says. All can help improve the warmth and livability of your space.

You can pursue most of these ideas in an afternoon or over a weekend, but larger projects are fair game for the winter, too. Take advantage of contractors’ slowest season if you’re looking at a larger home project, and get started today!

Dust to Keep Your Home Allergen-Free

Dirt and dust collect fast in winter, when houses are closed up against the cold. To keep your air #allergen-free, do a top-down #cleaning that includes the tops of moldings, framed artwork, blinds, books, and other hidden horizontal surfaces, Broomstick Cleaning says. Change the furnace filter on a regular basis to maintain air quality and optimize your heating dollar. And remember that a #cluttered home is harder to keep #clean, so try to eliminate any #clothing, papers and tchotchkes that you just don’t need or want and are getting in the way. #Donate any lightly used items to ClothingDonations.org. #WinterCleaning

Revisiting Hygge’s Warm Minimalism

Now that you’ve put away the #holiday decorations (#decluttering and #organizing along the way, of course), it’s time to settle in for the remainder of winter’s cold, dark nights. But to do so cheerfully in #minimalist comfort and style, you’ll want to revisit the concept of #hygge.

Hygge (pronounced “hoo-guh”) is a Scandinavian concept that celebrates warm and welcoming indoor living — likely a compensating response to the region’s long winter nights. The term appears to derive from an Old Norse word meaning “protected from the outside world.”

While the outside world is less of a concern this year now that the spread of COVID is mostly controlled, hygge reflects values of equality, positivity and well-being. But it is an introverted practice that encourages “practitioners to shelter, cluster and enclose,” says Denmark.dk.

Being a hygge acolyte is easy: You just need to embrace things that signify warmth and comfort. A cup of tea, coffee or hot chocolate; a roaring fire or some candles; and cozy slippers, blankets or sweaters are a few essentials.

What you won’t need is a lot of #clutter, because hygge is a practice that embraces simplicity. You’ll want to strip your space down to its simplest furnishings and neutral colors, and avoid the mental clutter brought on by too many screens and a cacophony of loud noises.

Hygge is more than hibernating — it’s making peace with the weather (something you can’t control) and embracing the simple joys of home, family and surroundings. And if you find that your surroundings are too chaotic to support such well-being, now’s the time to make a change.

Make a single hygge space — a nook, seating area or room where clutter and chaos won’t intrude. Strip it down to the bare essentials, getting rid of anything that doesn’t contribute directly to your feelings of warmth and well-being.

You can donate any lightly used items that don’t fit the new style to ClothingDonations.org by arranging a #donation #pickup. You can also find nice blankets, sweaters and other cozy hygge goods at the thrift stores supplied by your donations and help veterans in the process

Embrace the newfound calm and enjoy the winter from your cozy confines!

Look for Last-Minute Gifts at the Thrift

With only two days to go until #Christmas, you might want to check the options at a #thrift store supplied by generous #donations to ClothingDonations.org if you’re short on #gifts. Not only do they offer plenty of lightly used goods at nice prices, you can often find unique #gifts that might be just right for a particular person on your list if you browse for a few minutes, no shipping required. And if you’re feeding a crowd over the weekend, you can get necessities such as linens, baking pans, serverware and other essentials for the holiday table — and maybe even the perfect ugly #holiday sweater or white elephant #gift. #HolidayTips