Winter is a great time to hunker down at home — and tackle some fun and meaningful projects while you do it.
The end of the year offers a wonderful opportunity to refresh your space, try something new, and get ready for the months ahead. Looking for a few ideas that can help you make the most of a winter at home? When snowy days and chilly nights keep you indoors, try one or two of these fulfilling and easy at-home winter projects:
1.) Restock Your Winter Supply Kits
Winter weather can become serious in an instant, especially here in Chicagoland. Don’t forget to regularly take some time to go through your winter stockpile. Make sure your emergency preparedness kits are fully stocked with essential supplies like a first aid kit, batteries, candles, and a change of warm clothes. Consider going through your fridge and pantry, to make sure you have enough to eat in case a winter storm comes through. Refresh your winter toolkit, and make sure you have an ergonomic shovel, an ice scraper, tire chains, de-icer, and other wintertime essentials on hand before the next heavy snow.
2.) Perfect a Warm and Tasty Winter Recipe
It’s easy to get burnt out on your go-to recipes and everyday staples during a long winter at home. This winter may be the perfect time to head into the kitchen and try something new! Try brewing up a warm and tasty beverage, such as mulled apple cider, mulled wine, fresh hot cocoa, or golden turmeric milk. Look for virtual cooking classes from Chicagoland-based chefs. Enjoy not having to cook for a crowd by experimenting with new dishes and cooking methods — whether you test run a new type of holiday cookie, perfect a hearty chili or stew, or make brunch at home.
3.) Rearrange and Refresh Your Space
This winter may be a perfect time to look at your home with a new perspective. For example, consider rearranging your furniture to help maximize your space, or to enjoy more natural light. Move a painting from one room to another, invest in a cozy new throw blanket, change out the centerpiece on your dining room table, or make small paint touch-ups throughout your home. Even minor changes can make a big difference.
4.) Declutter, Declutter, Declutter
More time indoors means more time to get rid of clutter and junk around your entire home — from your bedroom closets to your garage. Work room by room or category by category, pulling out items and organizing them into piles — one for things to to keep, one for things to throw away or recycle, and one for things to donate or give away. Once you’ve decluttered, put items back in place mindfully, with new storage solutions or organization methods that will be suited to your lifestyle in the new year.
5.) Do a Deep Cleaning
Who said deep cleaning was just for spring? While you might already be taking on regular cleaning and sanitizing around the house, winter can offer a great opportunity to tackle the unusual or easy-to-overlook items that tend to fall off your to-do list. For example, when was the last time you really polished your makeup mirrors, or freshened up the grout between your bathroom tiles? Have you dusted your ceiling fan blades, or the hard-to-reach areas above your cabinets? Could you spare a little time to clean inside your appliances, such as your refrigerator, washing machine, or oven?
6.) Look for Virtual Volunteering Opportunities
This winter, it’s easier than ever to give back to your Chicagoland community from the comfort and safety of home. Right now, many Chicagoland charities and nonprofits have opportunities for remote, at-home volunteering. To find a list of organizations seeking remote assistance, VolunteerMatch has a list of current opportunities to explore here.
7.) Try a Digital Deep Cleaning
In addition to cleaning and organizing around your home, winter can offer a great chance to give your digital life a fresh start. If you’ve spent more time than ever on your electronics in the last year, then now might be a good time for a digital deep cleaning. Consider updating the software on your phone or computer. Go through your system and delete old photos or files, exporting what you need to a separate hard drive or virtual cloud service. Consider doing a security check and updating your passwords, or trying out a new password manager tool. Clear out your email inbox and favorites bar.
8.) Make Little Fixes and Repairs Around the House
While you might want to save the big renovations for warmer weather, winter can be a great opportunity to take care of all those little annoyances around your home. From fixing running toilets and dripping faucets, to silencing squeaky door hinges, to changing out flickering light bulbs, there are all kinds of small projects you can take on to make the most of your time in the great indoors.
9.) Go Through Old Photos and Files
While you declutter and organize, set aside some time to go through old photos, files, and documents. Consider organizing your photos into an album, or making a scrapbook to stylishly save some of your most precious pictures and keepsakes. You could also frame old photos or artwork for a fresh decor item to add around the house. Go through your filing cabinet or desk drawers; dispose of what you can, and find a way to organize the paperwork that you want or need to keep on hand. You may also want to look into digitizing files, photos, or home videos, to preserve them forever — without having to take up any extra space in your closets.
10.) Try a Writing Project
Winter is a great time to reflect on the year that was, and the year to come. Studies have shown that regularly writing things out by hand can be a meaningful way to gain a new perspective, connect with others, and relax and unwind. Try writing out a gratitude journal, listing the things that you appreciate or are thankful for. Write your thoughts down in a journal or diary to reflect on your day. Get organized and increase your productivity with a bullet journal. Write letters, cards, or “thank you” notes to people in your life; these can be holiday-related, or just for fun!
11.) Flex Your Green Thumb With an Indoor Garden
Considering starting indoor gardening? This winter may be the perfect time to take the leap! Look for ideas and systems online as you get started. It may take some time and experimentation to find the lighting and watering systems that work in your space. Similarly, you might want to play around with different plants, depending on your goals. Green, leafy houseplants can be a lively and refreshing accent piece in any room; homegrown herbs and vegetables are a cook’s best friend; and flowers can be a gorgeous addition to your home, indoors or out.
12.) Catch Up on Your Reading and Watching Lists
Snow on the ground? Instead of going out, settle in with a good book from your reading list — preferably in a comfy, DIY reading nook of your own creation. You could also use a chilly winter evening in to catch up on TV episodes or shows you may have missed, or stream some of the winter movie releases coming out, to stay ahead of next year’s awards season.
Making the Most of Winter In Chicagoland
As we settle in for another Chicagoland winter, now is the time to remember what’s truly important — health, family, home, and the bonds that tie us all together. We are here for you, no matter what.
Ready for a home with the fireplace of your dreams? Looking for a driveway that cuts your shoveling time in half? We get you.
At Baird & Warner, we believe that buying or selling a home should be easier — even in the middle of an ice cold Chicagoland winter. While it’s hardly business as usual, we know that the Chicagoland real estate market is still strong. The market is moving — and if you’re ready, you can too.