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10 Free (or nearly free) Things You Can Do To Refresh Your Home Right Now.

January 9, 2018  —  Written by Julia Marcum 

We believe we should all love where we live.

We’re a couple of homebodies, working to uncover the home our home wants to be. And we’re so happy to have you here. 

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It’s a new year and, if you’re like me, as soon as all the holiday decor comes down and gets put away you feel an itch to clean, organize and refresh every inch of your house! But in my own rush to redo, I’ve learned it doesn’t have to cost a dime! Here are 10 small things I’ve done in the last couple weeks that really helped refresh our home, and more importantly, refresh the way I feel about our home.

1. Rearrange furniture.

Rearranging furniture has to be classified as some sort of legit therapy, because its an immediate boost for me every time. And bonus, it’s free to do! I love trying furniture in different configurations or even moving pieces from room to room. Most recently, I moved our coffee table from the family room up to our study. And I love it in here! (Disclaimer: I loved it downstairs, too, and I’m pretty sure it would look good wherever it landed.) This rearrangement was not just for looks though. The girls are really starting to use the playroom to its fullest now, inviting friends over, and because this coffee table was not inexpensive–I wanted to set them up for success (aka not get in trouble for hurting furniture that I put in their play path), so I moved it up here.

Coffee Table (similar for less) | Rug | Vase | Sofa | Shelves | Art | Faux Eucalyptus | Floor Lamp

2. Clean out your junk drawer. 

It’s time. Clean out all those expired coupons, junk mail and worn out pens and markers. You’ll feel loads lighter.

3. Print off some new family pictures (or printable art)! 

File this under the “almost free” projects that’s absolutely worth it. While I love seeing my little babies all over the house, it was time to make room for updated pictures, too! I’m printing off Polly and Willow photos for the gallery wall in the dining room and gearing up to add Polly to the large, black and white portraits in the Family Room, which means new pictures of all three girls! (See how to make your own large portraits–I had them printed for under $5!–right here.)

Or! If family pictures aren’t your thing, check out digital art sources on Etsy, or my favorite–Jenny’s Print Shop–that allow you to print out art for a lot cheaper than purchasing a print to refresh those frames on the cheap!

4. Wash your windows.

I couldn’t believe how squeaky clean my whole house looked after I washed the inside and outside of the windows! Every room looks brighter!

5. Clip Branches from Outside.

Filling a vase with some clippings from outside is an instant way to add life to any room or centerpiece, or even your nightstand! For free!

Nightstand | Lamp | Frames | Headboard 

6. Purge your closet. 

I love a good closet clean out at the beginning of the year. We’re now a decent way into winter and if I haven’t worn it yet–I probably never will. A few other questions I ask myself while trying to decide whether something stays or goes, “Would I buy it again right now?”  “Do I LOVE the way it looks on me?” and “Does it fit me?” This is a hard one coming off of being pregnant, but I’ve decided, I don’t need those size 2 jeans taunting me anymore. Anything damaged–goes! I have enough “paint clothes.”


(pretty closet via)

7. Sell something you no longer use or love.

I’ve had an upholstered blue bench sitting in our bedroom for, at least, 7 months. It was once in our entry, and in great condition, but I just didn’t have the space or use for it anymore. If you have something similar–that’s more of a dust or clothes collector now, or you’ve had it in storage for way too long just waiting to find the perfect spot for it–let go! Cash in! I love selling these types of things on our neighborhood Facebook page. The extra room to breathe is so much more valuable.

8. Restyle open shelves.

When you’re itching for change, that doesn’t always mean you have to redo the entire living room–although it might for sure feel that way. Instead, try switching up something on a smaller scale. I added some holiday vibes to the shelves in our kitchen last month, so when I was switching things back, I mixed in a few new pieces and it feels so fresh!

9. Switch your light bulbs.

Maybe mismatched light bulbs, or harsh colors could fly in 2017. But in 2018, your home’s lighting is going to be on point. Check out this post for our bulb recommendations (including watt and kelvin color!)–I 100% guarantee your whole house will feel better.

10. Make a new evening playlist and light a candle that doesn’t smell like a Christmas Tree farm. 

It’s been Christmas music and holly berry non-stop for 6 weeks. But it’s a new year now. New year. New You House. Sounds and smells can effect the way your home feels in a big way, so instead of going back to the way things were in November, why not put on a new playlist (Can I recommend this acoustic one for evenings?) and light a fresh candle–that isn’t gingerbread, balsam, or insert anything related to the holidays here.  This Fig & Jasmine one is off the charts for me right now!

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What do you think?

  1. Patricia says:

    You nailed me on the light builbs. I have one that annoys the crap out of me; why haven’t I changed it?

  2. Lindsay says:

    I’m getting a fatal error when I try to go to the lighting post. Can you double check the link?

  3. Lindsay says:

    I am new to your blog and am typically a blog-lurker and non-commenter but I feel compelled to tell you how your lighting post about bulbs literally has changed my house. I replaced two bulbs (just TWO!) and to say it has made all the difference in those two rooms is an understatement. So thank you for “enlightening” me about kelvins!

  4. JLeal says:

    Hello!

    Where is your bedside table lamp from? ive been looking for one like this!

  5. Stephanie says:

    I think when you originally posted this there was a different picture with picture ledges and white frames but now I don’t see it. Can you let me know the source for that photo? I want to copy the look in my living room! Thanks! Love your blog :)

  6. Katie says:

    My husband and I were rolling in the new year by painting our downstairs living room! IT has made such a difference! I moved furniture around the house and decided to get rid of things i don’t love anymore! It felt so freeing! My husband and I have always been the people family members give their no longer wanted stuff too. We are making 2018 our year of being more intentional of what we bring into our house. No accepting things we don’t need, want or love or wouldn’t buy!

    This was such a great reminder to clean out my junk drawers… i have a few – eek!

  7. Julie says:

    This is a great post and feels so relevant for me right now. It is amazing how much our surroundings impact our mindset. Good perspective!

  8. Kim says:

    Those eucalyptus branches are no longer available and my heart is hurting…

    Great post btw!

  9. Dani says:

    It’s funny you mention “paint clothes” because that’s totally what I call mine! But I still can’t part with them for some reason… maybe it’s because my fashion sense is terrible. If only there was a CLJ fashion blog… then my clothes would look as good as my house.

    • Julia says:

      It was getting to the point where any clothes I didn’t want or were damaged became paint clothes and then I never tossed anything. In reality, I need one or two sets of paint clothes max! I’m letting everything else go.

  10. Amanda says:

    Love all of these tips – my favorite way to make the house feel cozy in the evenings is to light a few candles and play my Nickle Creek Pandora station – it’s perfect calming background music that makes the whole house feel so welcoming! I’m also big on cleaning out the closet this time of year – it feels so good to purge!

  11. I never think about lighting! I am going to do that for sure. I love your thoughts about cleaning out your closet. I am trying to get through The Life Changing Magic Of Tidying Up so I can make a lasting change. What are your thoughts on Marie Kondo’s book?

  12. Karen says:

    Great post! This weekend I went though several closets and drawers, and gave away some stuff. It felt good! I’m sure I’m not alone, but the laundry room always seems to collect piles of clothes and items that don’t belong there, so that was cleaned up too. I like moving stuff around, purging as I go. We’re wrapping up our master bath/bedroom reno (contractor says end of this month!) and I’m so ready to move back into the space – we’ve been without it since JULY! Long story – as they were preparing to lay hardwood in the master bedroom as part of our big 5 month reno, they found a leak from the master shower/tub (other side of the wall). Well, when your shower is a 1978 tile monstrosity, there’s no removing a few tiles to see what’s going on, I cheered “Demo away!” However, I quickly realized I was NO where near mentally nor design-ready to jump into the master bath reno (not a saved pinterest board in sight!)! So we ended up taking it slow – contractor fit it in among other jobs (cut us a little discount for that), and I was able to get into that project. I LOVE how it’s turning out – mix of antique and modern, it’s incredible…….

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