Bringing Warmth to the Winter Home

Once all of the #holiday celebrations are complete and the temperatures drop to single digits, you may struggle to create #warmth — real or perceived — in the home. The cold weather and empty social schedules of January may prompt you to enter a protective hibernation.

The cold-weather cultures of Scandinavia tell you to lean into that feeling through #hygge, the concept of warmth, comfort and quiet conviviality practiced when the weather outside is cold, blustery and otherwise inhospitable.

Hygge demands quiet comforts such as cozy sweaters and throws, casual get-togethers with friends and family, and plenty of hot meals and beverages such as coffee, tea and hot chocolate. Candles and a fire in the hearth only add to hygge’s #warm, golden glow.

Creating real warmth in winter may require a few #household fixes, however. The first thing to check is your furnace filter — if it hasn’t been changed recently, dust and dirt may be blocking heated air. Change it so that the heat travels to the vents efficiently and with fewer allergens.

Half the battle of staying warm in #winter is to keep the heat inside and the cold outside. Adding insulation, area rugs and a chimney flue blocker are simple ways to keep the warmth from escaping and save money on heating costs.

Other simple fixes include 10 home heating “hacks” from Better Homes & Gardens. They include insulating drafty windows with bubble wrap and sealing window frames with fresh caulk. To quickly warm the kitchen and create a homey atmosphere, fire up the oven and bake some cookies or braise a roast.

We at The Organizing Blog like to save energy and set our thermostats to 68°F throughout the winter. But we also have plenty of blankets and throws we can use to stay warm, some of which were #thrifted from stores supplied by generous #donations to

You can also generate #heat by staying active — getting on the treadmill, painting a room or thoroughly #decluttering and #organizing a space. After you #schedule a #donation #pickup for all of that extra #stuff, reward yourself by bundling up, pouring a hot beverage and relaxing.

There’s nothing like the warmth of a #clean, cozy and #uncluttered home. Follow a few of these tips to stay warm, whatever winter brings!

What to Use for Nasal Congestion

The FDA announced that a commonly used nasal decongestant, phenylephrine, doesn’t really work when taken orally. What should you use if you have nasal congestion related to a #cold, #flu or #COVID? Houston Methodist Hospital recommends using an oral pseudoephedrine medication (stored behind the counter) unless you have a heart condition, a nasal decongestant spray (phenylephrine is effective in this format), an oral antihistamine such as Zyrtec, a nasal steroid spray or a saline rinse. And if you feel #sick with common #symptoms such as nasal congestion, headache, body aches and fever, always stay home to recuperate and avoid infecting others.

Use Common-Sense Measures Against Respiratory Viruses

One of the top healthy habits to observe during #COVID, #cold and #flu season is to wash your hands or use hand sanitizer after touching hard surfaces or other people, before eating, and after using the restroom. Other common-sense measures suggested by the Health Partnership Clinic  include covering your face with an N95 mask when unable to maintain a safe, 6-foot physical distance from others, especially indoors; avoiding touching your mouth, nose and eyes; #cleaning hard surfaces in the home frequently, including counters and door handles; and keeping your immune system healthy by exercising regularly and getting enough rest.

Be Prepared for Colds, Flu and RSV

There’s a third virus in the mix this season that’s of particular concern to children and older adults: respiratory syncytial virus, or #RSV. The common respiratory virus usually causes mild #cold-like symptoms, but young children and older adults can develop more serious cases that require hospitalization. Fortunately, the Food & Drug Administration has approved antibody immunizations that can be administered to even high-risk and healthy infants. “They can lessen the symptoms and keep you and your loved ones out of the hospital,” says CDC director Dr. Mandy Cohen. “This is the new ‘flatten the curve’ moment. Get #vaccinated.”

Fall Is the Season for Respiratory Viruses

As the weather cools and people start to conduct more of their activity indoors, respiratory viruses flourish. This year, #COVID-19, #flu and #RSV are expected to circulate simultaneously, the Centers for Disease Control says, and the number of hospitalizations is expected to exceed 2019 (pre-COVID) levels. Getting #vaccinated against respiratory viruses can lessen their impact or prevent catching them entirely, CDC says. Check with your doctor to see which #vaccines are recommended for yourself and your family members’ based on age, preexisting conditions and other circumstances.