I don't know about where you live, but winter in South Dakota is LONG & COLD. Which means we spend a lot of time indoors. So we figure, if we're going to be stuck indoors for 5-6 months out of the year, let's make the space as cozy & enjoyable as possible. So today we're sharing a few easy ways to make your home a more relaxing and cozy place for friends & family to gather this winter!

1. Pick up

We're going to start with the least fun to get it over with, but I promise this doesn't have to be as overwhelming as it sounds! Also, the remaining tips involve way less work. ;)

First, I want you to picture the friend or family member with the coziest house you can think of. You know the one, where you walk in & think "oh this is such a relaxing space, I could hang out here all day." I would be willing to bet a lot of money that the space you're picturing doesn't have piles of papers covering the table & toys scattered all over the floor. I'm not saying your house has to be immaculately clean with not one thing out of place, not at all! I'm simply making the case that a picked up house is much cozier.

It feels like constant work sometimes to pick up after everyone, especially with kids in the house, but if you make a few small additions to your daily routine it doesn't have to be!

Make every trip count!

Growing up my mom would always say "make every trip count!" Meaning, if you're going upstairs anyway, grab the couple random things in the living room that belong up there. Or if you're heading to the kitchen, take the empty water glass on the coffee table with you. This helps so much more than you think!

If it takes less than 1 minute to put it away, DO IT!

I read somewhere once that if it takes less than 1 minute to put it away, then put it away, it will save so much time later when you're cleaning the house. This has proven to be so true in my own home, and again, it helps so much more than you think!

These small adjustments in your day can make a world of difference when trying to keep your house more picked up. And at the end of the day, you will feel SO MUCH MORE relaxed when you sit down with that glass of wine & Netflix and the house isn't in complete chaos.

2. Light a candle

They say that your sense of smell is your strongest sense for recalling a memory. Every time I smell anything with sandalwood I'm immediately transported to my mom's kitchen where she would always have a sandalwood candle burning to rid the house of whatever smell was left from the meal we just ate. No one wants to come over & smell the garlicky supper you had last night, but a home that smells like vanilla or lavender, or sandalwood? Mmm....those are some places I can relax.

Whether your preference is candles, wax melts, or oil diffusers, filling your home with a lovely subtle scent is oh so cozy. We may be a little bias, but our favorite candles are our hand-poured wood wick candles that crackle like a campfire when you burn them...ahhh, so relaxing....

3. Have snacks

I grew up in a family where all of our gatherings were planned around food. Food was an excuse to come together & have good conversation. Having snacks out & readily available is going to make your guests feel right at home. And I don't mean planning a huge spread of food or crafting the perfect charcuterie board (though those are fun ideas too)! Simply having a small jar of candy or a bowl fruit sitting out is great. And if you have a CUTE jar or fruit bowl even better because it can also serve as decor.

Like this wood & marble fruit bowl from Crate & Barrel.

Or this 10" concrete bowl from Etsy is super fun too!

4. Make it comfortable

This one probably seems obvious, but when the house is finally clean, picked up, and smelling good, it's natural to not want it messed up again! A house is only a home when you & your guests can freely & comfortably LIVE in it. Put some comfy pillows on the couch, have a basket with throw blankets to grab, and add a good picture book or two on your coffee table. All of these things are little invitations for your guests to get comfortable.

So go get that house lightly picked up, light a candle, bust out some snacks & invite your people. Good conversation & laughter are so good for the soul, don't let your home hold you back from enjoying them!

Comments, thoughts or questions? Contact us at hello@harmonyhousellc.com. We just love hearing from you! Be sure to follow us here on Facebook or Instagram @harmonyhouse_ 

January 20, 2020 — Sarah Storm

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