Give Your Home a Refresh this Autumn

Say goodbye to summer’s lethargy and have a sort-out at home. It’s time to channel that back-to-school-feeling for domestic good!

Original article first published on Houzz

Jo Simmons, Houzz Contributor

Even if your school and uni days are far behind you, there is something about September and October that always feels new and purposeful. The summer is over and the streets are full of young people bustling off to school each morning and adults settling back into a working routine. OK, so you no longer need to organise your pencil case and cover your textbooks with wallpaper, but you can still channel this new-term energy by whipping your home and yourself into shape, ready for autumn. A touch of targeted tidying, some clever organising and a few small lifestyle tweaks should help you start afresh.

 

Take care of yourself
Growing children need new shoes and clothes at the start of an academic year and while your feet may not have gone up a size over the summer, this could be a good time to book in for any key health appointments. Is it time for an eye check? Are you overdue at the dentist? Perhaps you just need a haircut! Channel the new-term feel by booking health reviews, check-ups or personal grooming sessions now.

 

 

Overhaul your diet
Don’t wait until New Year to start a new healthy-eating regime. After a summer of rosé and holiday food, now is a great time to rethink what you eat. Injecting some new, healthy dishes into your tried and trusted repertoire will perk up the shorter evenings and help to ensure everyone in the family is fighting fit and able to cope with school, work and the coming sniffle season.

 

 

Prepare the garden for autumn
Clean and store garden furniture safely for the winter. Leaving wooden chairs out in the rain can damage them and shorten their life, while chairs with any metal detailing can rust. Pack up your barbecue, too, and take down any summer bunting that might not survive the winter. Now is also a good time to hang bird feeders, as the weather grows colder and our feathered friends find their food supplies drying up.

 

 

Look at your lighting
Before the clocks change and we plunge into winter, take some time to think about your lighting. Over summer, we are able to overlook any deficiencies in our lighting, but come the shorter days these become more obvious. Use your new-term energy to tackle lighting now, before autumn fully arrives and you lose impetus. Dealing with domestic problems outside the season when they are most apparent is the smart thing to do, so using that logic, get any roof repairs, draft-exclusion work or insulation done now, ready for when it will be truly needed.

Welcome winter with new lighting products

Blitz a junk drawer
Every home has one, and it could be anywhere in your house (although the kitchen is the usual suspect for harbouring a junk drawer). This space supposedly holds kitchen utensils, stationery or underwear, but in fact it’s become a wilderness of junk, containing everything from elastic bands and takeaway menus to dead batteries and odd socks. Time to take action.

Discover 9 ways to deal with clutter in your home

 

 

Bring winter clothes out of storage
If you have stored winter clothes in boxes over the summer, think about getting them out of storage now. This gives you time to check over your jumpers, scarves and coats to see if any need dry cleaning before the cold weather arrives. You can then whizz through your wardrobe and store any seriously summery clothes away, too.

 

 

Service your bike
You might remember to service the car once a year, but how about your bike? Servicing it will ensure it’s safe to use and can prolong its life, so direct some new-term zeal towards your two wheels. If your children are cycling to school, perhaps after a summer of not using their bikes much, it’s a good idea to get their bikes serviced, too.

 

 

Ditch what’s out of date
Have a new-term tidy up, but give it a focus, too. Chuck out any expired medicines, lotions or bath products. There will be a use by date on medicines but apply common sense with less serious products. If you haven’t used that tube of foot exfoliator this summer, you probably never will. Bin it! Take the same approach with make-up. Old make-up can harbour bacteria and lead to eye infections, so check the labels for how long each item should be open and in use for, and ditch accordingly.

Discover more bathroom ideas

Go back to school yourself
Many adult education colleges are still enrolling for courses, so if you have always wanted to improve your Spanish or learn how to throw a pot, see if you can book onto a course now and go back to school this autumn. Failing that, set aside some time to enjoy learning at home. Create a list of books you have always intended to read, or go online for suggestions. The broadsheet Sunday supplements and review sections often have lists of the best new books – these could become your autumn reading list.

 

 

Purge the dodgy plastic
Bulky plastic containers are essential for food storage, but many of us are guilty of keeping too many. So have a plastic cull. Ditch any containers that are stained, smelly, distorted or without a lid. Pare down your collection of old takeaway curry containers, too. One or two might prove handy; a whole stack of them will not.

Making the Transition Between House Moves that Little Bit Easier

Say goodbye to a much-loved home and settle in quickly to a new place with these tips for a smooth physical and emotional move

Full article originally published on Houzz

Jo Simmons, Houzz Contributor

Moving house is so much more than simply relocating to a different place. When we leave behind a home, especially one we’ve lived in for a long time, we also leave behind all those years spent enjoying it. Children who were tiny when you moved in have grown into strapping teenagers under its roof. Friends have visited, meals have been shared and the small dramas of everyday life have been played out here, so it can be emotional to walk away.

Equally, settling into a new home that still carries traces of its previous owners can take time. So in the rush and chaos of moving, take time to celebrate the home you’re leaving behind and get set to enjoy the place you’re moving to with these tips for easing the transition.

How to Say Goodbye to Your Old Home

Take photos of it
Before everything is swept up into packing cases, take photos of your home. Document each room, so you can revisit it later. If you have children, snap them, too, enjoying the house as usual: drawing at the kitchen table, playing in the garden, chilling in front of the TV. You are aiming to capture an emotional record of your house, as well as images of its beautiful kitchen or big windows.

Moving to a smaller home? Discover how to downsize happily

Snap it messy!
Take pictures of your home on a typical day, when it’s not clean and tidy. This will provide a more meaningful snapshot of your house and how you used it.

You could arrange all these images in an album, with the address and the dates you lived there on the front. This serves as a lovely record of your time, but also a realistic account. If you have mixed feelings about moving on, honest images of all the good and bad elements of your last place may help you feel more positive about your new home.

 

Leave your mark
Why not leave a little something of yourself behind, before you move out? No, that does not mean a sink full of unwashed coffee mugs! Try something more subtle.

You could go for the classic time capsule, hidden in the loft. Or write a letter to the new owners, welcoming them to the house and explaining what you loved about it. You could even sign your name somewhere and date it, perhaps on the ceiling inside a cupboard or on the rafters in the loft.

 

Hold a goodbye party
Celebrate your home and the life it has given you with a goodbye party. It doesn’t matter if you’ve already started to pack – your guests can happily negotiate a few boxes. String up some lights, play some music and enjoy the house with the family and friends you’ve shared it with over the years.

Toast your home
Raise a glass to your home, perhaps during your goodbye party or simply with your family. Moving is stressful and busy, but it’s important to pause, look around and say, ‘Cheers!’

How to Settle into Your New Home

Clean up
When you arrive in a new home, nothing looks, feels or even smells the same way, which can feel very unsettling. So start by cleaning surfaces, floors and inside cupboards with some familiar, fresh-scented products to help make the place feel like yours.

Browse these ecofriendly cleaning tips

 

Get fresh
Fling open the windows on the first day, too, to air the rooms and freshen up the whole house. In the evening, light a few scented candles.

 

Grab a few goodies
Piles of packing boxes and empty rooms do not help a house feel like a home, so treat you and your new place to a few goodies that will make it feel special. Arrange some fresh flowers, simply bought at the garage on the way to the house or picked from the garden, or buy some quality hand soap or a few new towels. When you are facing days of unpacking chaos, these little touches can really cheer you up.

 

Don’t forget the pets!
Dogs and cats may also take a while to settle into a new home, so try to ease the transition for them, too. When you arrive at your new home, shut the cat in a single room for safety, with water, a litter tray and her bed.

You can let your cat out at the end of the day to explore, but confine her to a few rooms so she doesn’t feel overwhelmed. Cats should be kept in the house for a week or so to prevent them trying to return to your old home.

Discover more beautifully designed kitchens

 

Do right by your dog
Dogs should be introduced to the house by you. Keep them on a lead and take them around the key rooms, one at a time, allowing them to sniff and explore, but under your supervision. You wouldn’t expect guests to run all over the house, upstairs and down, the moment they arrived, so don’t let your dog.

Point out where his bed is and even keep upper floors out of bounds at first, so he doesn’t feel overwhelmed by his new territory.

 

Personalise the place
Paint a wall, hang up photos or order some new blinds. Even if the rest of the redecorating will take months, a few small tweaks can really help you start to stamp your personality on your new home.

Find lots of wonderful home products on Houzz

Host a house-warming
Sharing your new home with family and friends can help you to bond with it, so host a party – no gifts required. You might like to invite new neighbours, too, as a good chance to get to know them, or simply keep it small and intimate.