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Spending More Time Indoors? Here's our List on How to Prep For It

This year, the phrase “winter is coming” has new, anxiety-provoking overtones. After a year in which our lives were upended and our roots planted firmly at home, it can be daunting to think about another significant stretch of time inside.

But it does not have to be that way. With a little forethought, you can transform your house into a home, making it a haven for cool weather ahead — a place you really want to be. Here is how.

BUILD YOUR OWN CLEANING ARSENAL
As we head into cold and flu season — in a year where viruses are already top of mind — there is nothing more important than stocking up on all the tools you will need to keep your home cleaner and safer during the cold season.
It is a common misconception that all cleaning products disinfect.  And cleaning, sanitizing, and disinfecting are not one and the same. Cleaning removes any visible mess from a surface by washing and rinsing, typically with soap and water, but it does not automatically disinfect. Sanitizing is one step better, as it kills some illness-causing bacteria. Disinfecting is what you really want, though, as this kills most illness-causing bacteria and viruses. 
When shopping, look for products with labels that specifically say they disinfect. 

Do a “fall fix-up”

Though spring cleaning gets all of the attention, fall is a great time to do a quick pass through. First, hit any spaces where clutter tends to accumulate — your closets, the family command centre, or your home office. Make two piles: one to toss; one to donate.

Once you have done that, make the space sparkle. Use your new and improved supply of products to disinfect any high-touch surfaces, like counters, doorknobs, appliance handles, and even remote controls. Cleaning wipes make quick work of this task.

Now is a good time to do a spiff-up on items that tend to accumulate a lot of dust, too. Use a pillowcase to strip caked-on dust from ceiling fans, break out your long-handled duster to scour pendant lights and sconces, and use your vacuum’s special attachments to give upholstery a once-over.

Stock up on cooking essentials

While you are in purge mode, take a peek inside your pantry. Toss expired goods and donate anything that’s still good, but has remained untouched for months. Then, take stock and craft a shopping list. Make sure you have everything you will need for multi-purpose cooking—think olive oil, salt and pepper, beans, and grains like rice and pasta.

Tap into a fall-appropriate color palette

Find ways to incorporate rich, autumnal hues into your space— orange, greens, and browns. 

There are plenty of easy ways to breathe new life into your space on a budget. Cozy up couches and chairs with extra blankets and throw pillows or try swapping out any art prints that have a beachy vibe for something more appropriate for the season.

You can also bring some natural autumnal elements indoors. For example, pop some pinecones into a pretty wooden bowl and display it on your coffee table. A potted plant is a great way to do this, too. And—bonus—studies suggest plants not only help purify the air, but they also boost overall happiness.

Switch up your bedding

Another easy decor move that can pay off big in both aesthetic and comfort: new bedding. Trade crisp, cotton sheets for something softer and warmer, like flannel. Alternatively, you can simply put away that light summer quilt and fill a duvet with a nice, plush down comforter. For texture, be sure to layer on pillows and some cozy throws in fabrics like fleece or even cashmere.

Put something cozy underfoot

Though hard surfaces are all the rage in contemporary flooring, there is nothing quite as chill-inducing as stepping out of a cozy, warm bed onto an ice-cold floor. Place a soft rug under your bed, or opt for runners on either side of it. 

You will want something in your main space, too—especially near the entryway, because nobody wants wet, muddy footprints tracked throughout the house. Add a decorative mat in this location, or try a washable rug.

Consider alternate lighting

When the days are so short and darkness creeps in at an unnaturally early hour, you will need sufficient lighting. If you have recessed lighting, swap bright bulbs for smart LEDs — you can use your smartphone or set up voice command via a smart home hub to dim them, set timers, and even change the color of the light. Also consider replacing any bright white lights in lamps with softer warm-toned lights.

Candles are another way to cast a warm, cozy glow in your home once the sun goes down. They come in so many great fall scents like pumpkin and patchouli, plus set the mood and are great for entertaining.

Elevate your outdoor space

When you are home for months on end, even a little chill in the air can not stop you from getting a quick change of scenery by heading outdoors — especially if your backyard, balcony, or terrace is equipped with some type of heat source to lessen the chill. If you have the room and local ordinances or building codes allow for it, invest in an outdoor fire pit.

Sitting around the fire is surprisingly relaxing and rejuvenating, plus gives off enough heat to make a nippy night much more comfortable. If you are not permitted to have a fire pit, an electric patio heater may do just the trick.