The yearly tradition of making resolutions is upon us, as the prior year’s ending is usually a time for reflection and review of the year just completed. With the chaos of the Christmas season concluded, it is the natural time for a pause to contemplate areas of improvement and things neglected. While much of this reflection is often directed inwards towards self-improvement and personal goals, it is also a perfect time to review improvement of our physical surroundings and environment.

A custom built home is the embodiment the homeowner’s desired living environment, a welcome and nurtured sanctuary. As with our self, care and attention is a year-round endeavor, requiring more than bursts of mandatory maintenance. The start of the New Year merits reflection on the living environment created, to embrace what is loved and address areas that can be improved. Wisconsin winters generally equate to more times spent indoors and ample opportunities to work on enhancing the living space.

De-cluttering is often the first task at hand following the Christmas season, as accumulation from the celebrations and new presents have need for a “place”. It is the perfect time to throw out or give away those tucked away items never used. Think games with missing pieces, toys that have long been outgrown, or appliances gathering dust. Old electronic equipment that has been replaced by newer technology can be recycled and utilized by schools or other organizations.

Organizing storage spaces is the next logical step as holiday decorations are being put away for the following year. As those boxes are packed up and ready to return to their storage home in basements, attics and closets, take stock of what else occupies those spaces. Consider eliminating any decorations that have spent the past few seasons unused and hold no sentimental value. Housewares or furniture that may be wedged into closets and corners, forgotten and unused, could be a valuable resource for another home or family.

It may also be time to invest in new storage containers and systems. As families grow and change, along with their activities, so do their storage needs. New and improved storage systems are often sport-specific, making access that much easier. Replace cracked or broken containers and eliminate cardboard boxes to ensure neither moisture or critters will compromise the contents, also allowing for streamlined stacking. Label boxes and group them according to season and/or content theme for added ease.

Another great resolution is to repair and/ or restore the household items saved for later. The list tends to grow long throughout the year, encompassing lamps, furniture legs and arms, upholstery, hardware, leaky faucets and just about any household appliance. The cold air outside also makes it easy to identify any cracks and leaks around windows and doors that are causing the heating bill to rise and could become larger repair issues. Making a list and checking it off throughout the long winter months provides a rewarding sense of pride and accomplishment for any homeowner.

A final worthy resolution this year is to make your dream home a winter sanctuary, an inviting reprieve from the outdoor elements. Drawing from the Danish art of hygge, create multiple areas of warmth and coziness, using candles, plush pillows and throws. Create cozy corners for quiet retreats and communal spaces for relaxation, such as in front of the fireplace, with books and games within reach. Warm, comfortable gathering spaces are what make a custom-built home a dream home for the winter months.