I love this time of the year – it’s much like a big sigh of relief! The end-of-year school and office events are long over, as is the mad rush tie up loose ends at work, buy presents and prepare for the festive celebrations.
Finally we have the time to look at our homes and gardens and realise they need some urgent TLC. A week out from Christmas I was feeling overwhelmed and our beloved home and garden looked tired and very much unloved. As our blended family of five kids come and go between friends’ houses, trips to the country or overseas, our dogs are the main constant throughout the year and have taken over the garden and the home.
Like many, we drift into day dreams of renovating, moving to a new house or even downsizing. But before you make any life-changing decisions, consider your current circumstances and tackle some easy-to-reach “low-hanging” fruit. These can make a big difference to your home’s functionality and your sense of calm for the year to come. First on my life is “summerise” the house.
My partner and kids sigh: “Here she goes again, moving furniture around.” But there is method to my madness. It gives your home a fresh new look inside and out and costs nothing. Inside, move your furniture, so it’s not centered on your TV. Store winter rugs and cushions, bring out candles, infusers and vases filled with greenery from your garden.
I bought a bright table-cloth and chair cushions to brighten up the old outside furniture – worked a treat. We have the best climate in the world for outside entertaining, so tidy up your garden and outdoor areas, recycle items you don’t want or need, remove dead wood, plant for summer eating and make sure your external lighting is in working order. I am often approached by people who say they have limited budgets to make changes.
Sometimes it is just a matter of culling things we’ve accrued through the years. I feel a wonderful sense of achievement when I have cleaned a cupboard or a room. Start three collection piles at the front door: one for re purposing good-quality items; one for the recycling bin; and one for rubbish.
Our kids’ hang-out in the back yard is filled with furniture collected from our neighbours’ verges that will in time be back out there for others to re-purpose. In my experience we have way too much stuff, and it’s a great feeling when you know your loved item is going to a good home. There is something really therapeutic in clearing out and I can guarantee you will fall back in love with your home.
Published in The Post | January, 2019