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  • Dana Tutela

Hit Refresh!

Updated: Jan 26

How do you feel after the holidays end? Overwhelmed with clutter and chores? Depressed? Irritable? It's time to hit the refresh button!

computer screen with technical issue alert

This alert popped up on my screen literally while I was typing this post. Could it be a sign? Too many tabs open on my desktop? Too many programs running? The waste bin is full! My junk mail overfloweth! My poor computer is overloaded and exhausted, and I think many of us feel the same way this time of year. Let's do a reboot, hit refresh and start the new year without an overwhelming list of unrealistic resolutions.

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Wipe it Clean!

Putting away the Christmas decorations can be a cathartic experience when you are preparing for the new year. Some years I feel sad to put everything away knowing the magic of the holidays is changing into the long dreary days of winter. Other years I feel overwhelmed by the family drama and excessiveness of the holiday and can't wait to throw it all out the front door!

Regardless of the emotion, it's time to wipe it clean. I have two Ginger Tips for you that will make this part easier. I'm also including my favorite organizer products to help you get started!

Ginger Tip #1 Use clear storage tubs for the holiday decor.

I can't stress this enough. You will thank me next year when you pull out the tubs and can see exactly what is in them! Donate your old tubs (see next section) and recycle the cardboard boxes. I love these Clear Sterilite Storage Containers and buy them in various sizes depending on the weight of what is being stored.

Clear storage containers with holiday items

Ginger Tip #2 Roll the Christmas string lights into balls.

I once saw the landscaping crew removing the holiday lights from the neighborhood entrance, and they rolled them into balls before storing them. Genius! I do this every year and it makes taking them down, storing them and putting them up so much easier!

Christmas string lights sound into ball

Start by rolling the light bulb end first and work your way to the plug end of the string. You can test the lights next year with a quick plug in before unwinding. Trust me, this is the way to do it. No more tangles. No more cussing. No more unnecessary shots of bourbon. You're welcome.

I also find using wreath bags incredibly helpful for storing the artificial wreaths. I tuck the door hangers, the bows and battery powered mini lights right inside the bag. Zip it up and they're ready for next year!

green wreath bag with red handles

After the decorations are carefully stored and put away, clean your space. This feels so good. This doesn't have to be the seasonal deep clean, but at least wipe down most surfaces and clean the floors.

Cleaning is probably the single most important part of refreshing your home for the new year. Then it's time to:

Hit Delete!

The next step to refresh your home, is the purge. Delete the clutter and donate unused items. This used to be one of the most difficult tasks for me until I changed my way of thinking. The coat in my closet that I haven't used in over a year because the sleeves are too tight might keep someone else warm this winter.

Helping others is one of the truest forms of joy. Instead of feeling disappointed in yourself for wasting money or 'outgrowing' your clothes, find the joy in knowing you're helping someone else!

Box of donated clothes

The closet is the obvious source of unused items, but let's not forget the others. I'm usually pretty well organized because we have a small kitchen. The space HAS to be organized. However, lately the junk drawer in the kitchen has spread like a sneaky virus into two junk drawers and will be first on my delete list.

How to quickly organize an out of control kitchen drawer:

Remove all items and arrange on the counter into similar piles.

Toss anything that is broken, redundant, unidentifiable or unnecessary.

Then replace in a drawer organizer with careful attention.

I use Bamboo Organizers in almost every kitchen drawer. The expandable ones work great and look much nicer than plastic.

Another storage area in need of the purge is the bathroom vanity. It's funny how much makeup, brushes, cosmetics, and first aid items can accumulate over time. Not only is it unsanitary to hang onto old products, it takes up valuable storage space! Repeat steps from above. Time to get the trash bag...get it back under control with a fresh clean counter and neatly organized items.

Acrylic Organizers are easy to keep clean and add that glamour feel when corralling the runaway cosmetics!

For Under the Sink Organization, I use small clear storage containers (remember first Ginger Tip?) and plastic pull out shelves.

Hit Refresh!

Somehow I became the family IT person for whenever something goes wrong. "Why isn't the printer working? Why isn't the wifi working? It's always the same solution: Shut it down and restart it.

How does my weird computer metaphor apply to your life? Unplug and hit refresh! This is the FUN part!

Let's begin with the budget friendly ideas:

Rearrange the Furniture

One of simplest and cheapest ways to refresh your home is to move the furniture around. We had our kitchen table next to our window wall facing the lake so we could eat and gaze at the view. We moved it to the front of our great from where my reading nook was in order to put the Christmas tree by the big windows. After taking down the tree, we decided to leave the table by the front entry and move the reading nook to the windows. In under thirty minutes, we swapped the two spaces and the whole room feels and functions better! We can switch it back just as easily, too.

White paneled great room with vaulted ceiling

Glass dining table with mid century modern chairs

Rearrange Artwork or Mirrors

Another easy way to shake things up is to switch around artwork and mirrors. This is an opportune time to wipe down those dusty frames and clean the glass.

Add Houseplants

This is one of my favorite ways to put down roots! House plants (real ones, folks!) make the home healthy and beautiful. They lower blood pressure and reduce cortisol production.

Time Magazine explains how Your Houseplants Have Some Powerful Health Benefits with science backed information.

My daughter, Olivia, brought hers home from school over break, and they even have names!

Say hello to: Evelyn, Frankie and Otto!

plant mat

For Christmas she gave me a plant mat to use when working with indoor plants to keep the soil and debris contained. I wish I had this a few months ago when my oldest daughter, Victoria, was helping me train up my monstera plant and give him a haircut. We dragged him outside and back in again to avoid making a mess inside the house. Do yourself a favor and keep one on hand! This makes indoor houseplant care so much easier.

Update: I used my plant mat for the first time to repot some new members of the Plant Fam. Welcome, Julie and Mabel! The mat did an excellent job of containing the dirt and droplets of water.

anthurium with blush leaves in white pot

Add Fresh Cut Flowers

Enliven any room in the house with fresh cut flowers. Grab a bunch at the store when running errands. Or if you like arranging them yourself, check out the flowers at Trader Joe's. They always have an interesting selection!

flower arrangement on kitchen counter

Paint or Wallpaper

Painting a room is one of my absolute favorite refreshers! A new color can really make a room feel different. For a quick refresh, do a little touch up paint around the house. The scuffs and smudges disappear, and the room smells new.

White bedroom with gold roll pillow

Light blue bedroom with white bedding

Explore the difference paint made in our Lake House Remodel: Part 1 

Before and after of brown house

Wallpaper is definitely making a comeback, especially one wall treatments, and I absolutely love the look. I am interested in trying the removable variety.

Rolls of wallpaper

Have you added wallpaper to your decor recently? I would love to hear about it in the comments!

Change Your Linens

At the time of writing this, it's post holidays and it's cold. I'm keeping the cosy velvet blankets on the beds, swapping out the sheets for flannel sets, and reducing the number of decorative pillows. I don't know how I have ended up with so many throw pillows, but I am over it! One per bed, two per sofa, done. Okay and one labradoodle.

Green velvet bedding and grey upholstered headboard
Pottery Barn Bedding

Green velvet bedding with black and white labradoodle
Amazon Quilt

I found these Velvet Quilts on Amazon after buying a rather expensive set from Pottery Barn. They look just as lovely, but are definitely lighter in weight. They're actually easier to run through the washer and dryer, though. I ended up buying more for the guest bedroom because I was so thrilled with them.

This is also a perfect time to replace the bath towels and bath mats. Let the old ones become car towels or dog towels.

Replace Light Bulbs

Winter doesn't have to be blah. Try replacing some of your key light fixtures' bulbs with smart bulbs and let the party begin! I changed all of the recessed lights in our kitchen and great room when we renovated because the previous owners had a separate light switch for each one. That's 12 light switches! I felt Like Captain Kirk on the Star Trek Enterprise trying to control all of the switches.

By using Smart Bulbs and connecting them to Alexa, I grouped them by room and simply say, "Alexa, turn on kitchen lights" and they turn on. I can also tell her to dim them by percentage; "Alexa, great room lights at 50%." Finally, on the app for the smart bulbs, I can set up routines for waking up or changing colors for a party. I can also make the white lights a warm or cool white which completely changes the ambiance of the room. Who are we kidding, warm whites makes us look better, too.

Look at the difference between the two shades of white in my kitchen. ~All from the touch of my phone.

We can't start the new year without a refresh outside as well. This ginger with roots is still finding time to work in the garden and play in the dirt. Some easy spots to freshen up include:

New Mulch and Winter Flowers

This is one of the simplest ways to add curb appeal and brighten up a dreary time of year. If the budget is a little tight after the holidays, try taking a pitchfork and turning over the existing mulch. It will do the same thing! Add in some pansies for some instant color.

Yellow and purple pansies

Help the Birds

Fill up the bird feeders and clean the bird houses. It's cold and the birds are migrating. They're looking for snacks and homes. I leave plenty of natural areas for them in addition to feeders. Watching the birds from inside the house is very soothing and helps bring nature a bit closer.

Wooden bird feeder made of twigs

Get Some Fresh Air

How's this for a simple New Year’s resolution: spend time outside every day. There's nothing more refreshing for the soul than to get outside. Take a walk. Go for a hike. Dig in the dirt. Sit on the porch. The best part? It's completely free.

Path through woods

Hopefully by now, you're feeling refreshed, your house is clean and decluttered, and your yard is spruced up. This a great time to plan for next season's garden! Look through last year's journal to see what worked and what needs to change.

There's only one last thing to do after reading this post:

Turn the Computer Off

Woman at computer

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2 Kommentare

Crystal Green
Crystal Green
31. Jan.

I like how you hit refresh in your home and life. My husband shares many of your philosphiles because every six months we go through the home and donate anything that hasn't been used or will be used within a six month time frame. He also rearranges every room in the house in some form or fashion. My oldest daughter who lives in another state comes to visit and always complains that the house never feels or looks the same when she comes home as a result.

Smart light bulbs are such an amazing investment, and they are only less than 2 dollars more than regular ones. I absolutely love the fact that no one has to get uncomfortable at…

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Dana Tutela
01. Feb.
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Thank you so much for your thoughtful comments!

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