By Faith Teel
Special to Relocation.com
The second day of January often brings a sense of relief: you’ve gotten all of your vacationing out of your system, and now you’re ready to roll up your sleeves and dive back into your daily life.
The first weeks of a new year are also a great time to spruce up your house. After all, you’re already taking down the Christmas decorations , so you might as well redecorate  a little bit while you’re at it. Here are a few suggestions to get you started.
Get crafty. Are you snowed in with nothing to do? Why not get out those crafty projects you’ve been meaning to tackle? This is a great time of year to repaint an old lamp, make a collage for your bedroom wall or sew a new pair of curtains. Start the year with a little bit of artistic inspiration, and set a trend for the rest of the year.
Bring the outdoors in. Sometimes winter can make a house feel drab and glum. If you’re really longing for spring, stop by your local nursery or florist and pick up a few forced bulbs. You can also perk up your home by taking a cue from the Japanese, who change the artwork on their walls in response to the seasons around them. This winter, why not pick up an inexpensive poster that reminds you of warmth and sunshine?
Do a thorough housecleaning. A chilly day is ideal for cleaning your home  from top-to-bottom, because household chores give you a little exercise without actually forcing you to go outside. Now is the time to dust the chandelier, clean the lint out of the laundry room, shake the breadcrumbs out of the toaster and re-fold all of the sheets in the linen closet.
Update your light bulbs. Especially if you have high ceilings that put your light fixtures out of reach, it’s easy to put off changing your light bulbs. You need all of the bright light that you can get in winter, so make sure that all of the bulbs in your house are working. While you’re at it, dust off any glass shades, and give the fabric ones a good scrub in the sink (or at least spot-clean them).
Get ready for spring. Speaking of warmth and sunshine, winter won’t last forever. Now is the time to plan next year’s garden. Even a small apartment  balcony has room for a few planters. Use them as an excuse to page through gardening  catalogs and dream of summer flowers.
Give to charity. This winter, take a few minutes to sort through your stack of canned goods and other dry food. Food pantries often get lots of donations before Christmas, only to fall short later in the season. Why not give those dusty tins to someone who will appreciate them?
Don’t forget your clothes closets. This is a great time of year to sort through your bedroom closets  and get rid of any summer clothes that you’ll never wear again. (Hint: if you didn’t wear it last summer, you probably don’t need it.)
Patch it up. Need a little coziness on a cold afternoon? Try an old-fashioned remedy: mend your clothes and other household items. This is a great time to sit in a comfortable chair in the warmest part of the house and sew patches onto old bed sheets or fix a tear in your favorite skirt. A cup of tea and an audio book can round out the picture and turn an otherwise dull chore into a pleasant refuge from your worries.
Paint the town—or just the house. If you manage to catch a few days of winter thaw so that you can open your windows for ventilation, now is a great time to repaint your walls. Pale, warm colors are an excellent choice in winter, because they reflect more of that scarce sunlight. Even if you can’t get a warm enough day to repaint a whole room, get out your cans of touch-up paint and freshen up the spots where the kids have been leaving hand prints.
Having a home that’s bright and clean is a great way to beat the winter blues. As you while away the days until spring, get ready for the new year by cleaning house and freshening up your surroundings. It will keep you feeling energized and uplifted all season long.