Our house is fairly small. About 1100 square feet or so, and a big part of it is taken up by my massage office. In the summer, we live outside quite a lot. The house cleaning gets neglected as we give attention to our gardens and other outdoor projects. (This year, it was 100' of privacy fence to guard against the prying eyes of a bad neighbor.) We cook on the outdoor grill year-round, but it's nearly daily in the summer. We have fires in the backyard pit a few times per week. In the hot weather, we bring our mojitos to the shade of the front porch. The size of our indoor living space is rarely a concern in the summer.
As the weather cools, we start to move in. Although we're pretty active outside with sledding, nordic skiing and other outdoor fun, the days are just shorter. When sunset occurs mid-afternoon, it's not as appealing to go out. Plus, we tend to get several below-zero days in the winter.
Along with putting away the lawn furniture and getting the snowblower running, here are some things we do to adjust as we move in:
- dust the damn house - It's just not something we do in the summer.
- re-arrange our space- This is a constant with us. We recently did our bedrooms, working toward a minimalist look and adjusting furniture for more usable floor space.
- organize the basement- We use a section of the basement as sort of a rec room. It's not pretty, but it's functional. This time of year, it looks a bit like a campmor catalog threw up down there, so we're picking up and putting all that stuff on shelves.
- de-clutter- It's a constant struggle around here, but the clutter gets worse in the winter. I'm still trying to figure out a way to effectively organize papers related to the ski club I volunteer for. They end up in a pile on the kitchen counter for weeks until I get around to filing and dealing with it all. Along with that kind of "grown-up" clutter, we have a plethora of "kid clutter." That's a whole other monster to deal with. So- we're nowhere near perfecting this step, but getting better each year.
- organize- It goes along with de-cluttering, but I look at organizing as assuring that when I get around to de-cluttering, there's a space for all that stuff to go. It's organizing the house so that everything in the house has a committed space where it belongs.
These steps are helpful when mid-February comes along and we start to dream of building huge additions to the house so we can have more space to live.
I have to admit, we do cheat a little. Last fall, we bought a 7 person outdoor hot tub. It's had a huge effect on our lives. It's like we added a room to the house that is the size of all outdoors. We often talk ourselves out of an expensive home addition while soaking in that thing.
What kinds of things do you do to adjust to "moving in" in the winter?