Preparing your home for Winter
Winter officially starts on the 21st December, but as soon as the kids go back to school and the heating clicks on, I’m already thinking about fireworks, conkers and Christmas. This change in routines and seasons acts as a prompt for me to schedule time to tackle the annual indoor jobs that prepare us and our home for the cooler months.
Here are my 3 top tips for the great seasonal swap over:
1. Make room for Winter by moving out Summer
Putting things away which aren’t going to be needed for a few months will create space for those things you do want close to hand. Clothing is a great place to start. If you struggle to have both Winter and Summer comfortably stored in the same place, remove your Summer favourites and ease the pressure on your bulkier Winter woolies. You may find you have some things that you didn’t even wear this season and this is a great opportunity to donate them to charity.
Summer accessories such as hats, sunglasses and footwear are another easy win at this time. Swap them out for your Winter scarves, gloves and boots. Store them by the front door so they are ready to grab with the first cold snap. You might like to give each family member a basket for their Winter supplies or use one container for each category. If you do this every year, it will get much simpler as you exchange one season for another.
Finding a Winter home for Summer equipment such as sun cream, picnic ware, camping gear and beach kit will also free up space for other supplies you might want to find quickly, such as candles, torches, lip balm and moisturiser.
The last category I love swapping over is my Winter linen. This really brings the Danish Hygge lifestyle alive for me as I’m a huge fan of snuggling up with a hot chocolate on a dreary afternoon. I replace my cool cotton bedding with snuggly brushed cotton and during the Christmas holidays my festive sets covered in reindeers and polar bears come out. Winter sleepwear and slippers are moved into bedroom drawers and I swap over any Summer quilts with heavier Winter ones. I also bring out a stash of blankets which get piled up on the sofa for cosy movie nights. The chimney gets swept (book in the Summer because Autumn is their busiest time) and the log basket comes out of the garage to supply our real fire.
2. Use the right storage
Storing your things out of the way for a few months requires the right containers if they’re to re-appear in the same condition. There is plenty to choose from, but before you start buying new products, gather into piles the categories you want to store. This will help you see what is needed. Remember to look in all the places you might have put things - even the car (It’s amazing how many places I stash sunscreen so everyone can grab a bottle quickly when it’s really hot). If you didn’t do it earlier, now is a great time to discard anything you no longer want or visualise yourself needing next year.
I always encourage my clients to repurpose storage from around the house but if that’s not possible, you’ll need to buy in and there’s plenty of choice.
Here are 3 products that I find most useful:
1. Vacuum bags to store large volumes in compressed, dust free, sealed bags. These are especially great for clothing and bedding.You might even like to add a moth prevention sheet for extra protection. There are lots of bags available on the market and I’d suggest reading the reviews first to ensure a quality product.
2. Ikea Skubb boxes. These fit well under the bed or in wardrobes and provide dust free storage in convenient zip cases which are good for shoes and equipment as well as clothing.
3. Really Useful Boxes. These are clear plastic boxes which come in a variety of sizes. They are great for stacking, outdoor use and you can easily see what’s inside.
Whatever you use, remember to label clearly so you know what’s inside.
3. Store things in the right location so you can find them easily next year
I must admit I still haven’t quite found the right place to store my prescription sunglasses. I end up hunting for them every Spring as soon as it’s too bright for my eyes to manage unshaded! To avoid sharing in my frustration, imagine the first place where you might look for your belongings. This year, I’m trying my skubb box under the bed where I store my flip flops as I often want these around the same time. Tweaking your systems is quite normal as it may take time to get things just right.
Location is therefore just as important as containers. The loft, for example, might not be the best place for heavy, large items that are difficult to lift through the hatch - whilst a shelf in the garage could be perfect.
So whether you need to make space to hide this year's Christmas presents, or just want to find your favourite Winter onesie when the weather turns nippy, I hope there’s a tip here to get your Winter season off to a great start in your home.