When the weather cools and evenings come earlier, the energy changes and we have a need to be cozy. In the warmer months there’s an urge to go out, to be active, explore and conquer things outside the home, but when the leaves fall, we’re called to be indoors again. To make your home inviting and comfy for the winter months ahead, you need to create an environment that is warm and relaxing. Here are some ideas to support your version of this haven.

Starting with the entrance to your home, discard your outdoor potted plants and store the pots. If you have a fall wreath for the door, now’s the time to hang it. Do what you can to enhance the charm of coming home and a cheerful seasonal wreath does this nicely. Simplicity is the key to ease.

Inside the house remove the clutter, especially near the front door. If you have piles of shoes there- find a way to store them out of sight, even if it’s just a basket by the door or at the bottom of the coat closet. In the family room, remove the old piles of magazines, books, paperwork and laundry. It’s easier to relax when the piles are not screaming for your attention. Understandably, laundry can be an unending chore, but try to limit where it gets done or only deal with it one basket at a time.

Remove the cobwebs, dust bunnies and general debris that has crept in from the outdoors- you will not be sharing your abode with any creepy critters this winter. Even if you have the pleasure of regular housekeeping, do check for cobwebs- they can show up in surprising places like between the spindles on the stairs.  I saw this just yesterday in a well-kept home. Also if you haven’t done this in a while, make sure your throw pillows on the couch have been washed as well as the couch throws you use in the winter.

Add simple, ready to make meals to your weekly plan. This will save on last minute anxiety about what’s for dinner and of course, we always love pizza on Friday, if possible! If this is in your repertoire, plan on a crockpot meal or pot of soup once a week. This can be simple to execute and can be served at two meals. Of course there’s always the option the pick up an entrée from a local store and then build a meal around that. Remember, there’s something very cozy about that bit of chocolate you know you’re going to want after dinner- so stock up your chocolate stash. In my household, we’re big fans of chocolate covered nuts or raisins- WAY more satisfying, than the plain stuff.

Without getting too cluttery, think about adding the charm of certain home accents like candles at this time of year. Nothing says cozy like a candle in the evening- it’s so simple and yet effective, especially in the family room where you gather at night. I also like to light candles at dinner; it creates a warm atmosphere that relaxes everyone and draws them together.

Bottom line to creating a cozy home is removing those things that cause stress and prevent you from feeling comfortable. Cozy means creating an environment where love and connection can happen. On a regular basis, consider trimming the clutter and enhance the charm of your home so that it feels welcoming at the end of your day. Enjoy!