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“Refresher Course: Twenty To-Do’s for a Better Home for Fall”

Here is a list of my favorite ways to freshen and organize your home for fall. Some take as little as ten minutes and others require a day or two. Prioritize, budget and start with baby steps and by the end of four weeks your home can be serving you well for twelve months to come.

You will be amazed how much energy you derive from having a home that’s functional and aesthetically pleasing. If being at home doesn’t leave you feeling re-energized it’s definitely time to take steps to improve it.

 Toss out dead plants and flowers and replace with new, fresh ones in interesting pots or jardiniere.

 If your rooms are missing something it’s most likely texture, greenery, scale, or focal points. Add texture with two or three new throw blankets in trendy new colors and baskets in a variety of sizes. I like natural finishes like bleached or honey toned willow.

Clear out all old newspapers and magazines dated earlier than January 2012. Get a nice deep basket to store them in a reading corner. You can go through them every season and either give them away or recycle them.

Rotate and plump up sofa and chair cushions every month. Weekly for feather cushions. It wears the sofa evenly and looks so much better. Instant energy boost.

Add three new 20 inch feather filled throw pillows to your sofa in one designer fabric that really pulls your room together.

 Have carpeting and draperies cleaned professionally. Recently I had my dining room slipper chairs professionally cleaned. What a difference.

Redecorate your cocktail table with one or two tall stacks of hardbound coffee table books and a pot of good quality faux flowers. I love chartreuse or white hydrangeas. The cocktail table is one of your living room’s focal points and really benefits from this special treatment.

Hire a housekeeper to come in two to four times a month or if it’s not in the budget this year, schedule time to clean it yourself at least twice a month. You will be amazed at how much better the house looks with just a cleaning.

Get fresh candles. They don’t all have to be the $30 scented ones. Most of the candles in my house are inexpensive white 6 inch pillars or small votive candles. But I do burn one or two scented ones daily to drown out some of the pet odors.

 If your lamps look dated and you don’t want to invest in new ones, try replacing just the shade with a white linen one. They run around $25 to $40 each. This tip is especially fun if you have cool vintage lamps.

For a whole new look on a budget, invest in slipcovers for your two main armchairs and have matching pillows made for the sofa. Choose a fabric that really pulls the room together.

Use colorful artwork or boldly framed mirrors to play up your living room’s natural focal points: the fireplace, and built in bookcases.

 Faux plants and floral arrangements need to be cleaned and fluffed up occasionally. I see a lot of dirty, bedraggled faux plants out there. It’s also good to replace them after ten years, especially if they’ve gone out of style. Willows and privets are out. Fig trees are in.

Kid’s rooms require lots of storage. Baskets and tubs are a great way to get them organized. Set them up for success by creating storage systems and teaching them from an early age to use them. Make clean up a game by singing or whistling or telling stories while you do it. It worked for me when my son was little and with consistency, it will work for you.

Mail is a problem in any home and has a way of accumulating in the kitchen or home office. Stay in control of the paper lion by sorting and tossing daily. Use separate baskets for bills, insurance, taxes, and personal correspondence. Galvanized metal or wicker wall units are great for this job.

With children at home it’s even more important to be organized at home because if you leave things untended, they accumulate like graffiti. You have to stay on top of it. Set a good example and make kids follow suit. You can’t expect kids to clean up after themselves if you can’t do so yourself.

Treat yourself to some new white towels for the bathrooms and white high thread count cotton sheets for your bedrooms. February is a great month for this as some department stores have them discounted over President’s Day.

Open up your curtains and shades. If your views aren’t nice, invest in sheers that allow light but omit the blighted scenery.

Strive to keep it all nice. Once you have your home organized and decorated it’s easier to keep it that way. If you let it get messy you’ll be back to where you started and that’s no fun.

Some of the tips above are more time consuming than others but if you accomplish one of the easier ones each day, you’ll be living better in a few weeks. To keep up your momentum, don’t let a day go by without doing something on this list. By doing something daily, you will utilize the energy you created the day before!

Live beautifully. Eat beautifully, Shiree’
And if you want more of arthritis related design and wellness, click here… “Pain Free Design and Wellness” and you’ll get a free chapter of my powerful new book that helps women with arthritis create beautiful, functional homes and take better care of themselves every day!