5 Tips to Survive Winter

Man watering plantsMany of us stay indoors more in the winter, which can lead to cabin fever. But with a few simple changes, you can make your home more comfortable and inviting — in winter or any other season of the year.

Light can be a fantastic mood lifter. Except for the Addams family, almost nobody likes to spend time in gloomy rooms. Open blinds or curtains to let in natural light. Studies show daylight makes us more productive and comfortable and helps maintain our natural daily rhythms. Brighten up dark areas with task lighting for reading, surfing the Web or doing hobbies.

Plants not only bring a calming tough of nature indoors, many also reduce indoor air pollution. Indoor air pollutants can be up to 100 times more concentrated inside than outdoor pollution, according to the Environmental Protection Agency [1]. Try these easy-to-grow, hard-to-kill plants for cleaner air: aloe, spider plants, golden pothos and English ivy.

You may not notice odors in your house, but guests will. Baking soda deodorizes most everything, from refrigerators to carpets, trash cans, garbage disposals and litter boxes. Instead of using chemical “air fresheners,” air out your home frequently. Add pleasant, natural scents with flowers or by simmering spices on the stove.

Expand your comfort zone by eliminating clutter. Studies show clutter raises stress and over-stimulates our brains. Clutter can even make your home less safe. Instead of hanging a “Bless this Mess” sign, start sorting, tossing and organizing.

Instead of climbing walls, paint them a cheery or soothing color. Putting a favorite color on just one or two walls can revitalize an entire room. Check out ThisOldHouse.com [2] for a color-mood guide for tips. (Use non-VOC paints to eliminate paint fumes.)