June in the country household – preparing for winter

June in the southern hemisphere is the beginning of our winter.  I know we refer to the Solstice that will take place on the shortest day as Mid-Winter – but don’t be fooled! It’s only the kick off to our 3 months of winter and our coldest days.   Of course if you are in the northern hemisphere, it’s the complete opposite and you are coming into your summer season.  Wherever you are – take a moment to be thankful for seasons – both in the world around us and in our lives.   We need them.

In winter we are forced to slow down a bit – the days are shorter, the weather keeps us indoors and we can take some time for self-care and contemplation. Even though this may sound a little frivolous and perhaps unnecessary as we go through difficult times in the world, I consider it even more important to our mental health and wellbeing to keep our own personal spaces as places of beauty, comfort and refuge.  Choosing to live beautifully is a great antidote to stress and chaos. Time to nourish and rebuild for the times to come.

Once I was in a café in Dunedin and I overheard a conversation at a table close by (as you do!) where a woman about my age was having coffee with her mum, who would have been about my mum’s age.  She noticed her mother’s handbag and said with a slight note of outrage in her voice – “Mother! You haven’t changed over to your winter handbag!”.  I hadn’t realised that was a thing up to that point but I do know that it is a great idea to change your household over to be prepared for the winter months.

Its nice to adapt to the seasons in your household – give you the excuse to get out those beautiful warm throws, plump up the cushions on the couch and maybe add a few more in some more earthy colours.  Rearrange the furniture in your living room – move the couches and armchairs closer together and make the focal point your fireplace rather than the great outdoors.   Create spaces for the family to curl up together on a stormy day when you are all inside; candles, books to read, board games to hand. 

My mother (who has so many handbags she needs more seasons to go with them) is a great china collector and if you are the same, why not use some of your vintage china with those more autumn/winter patterns for a family dinner?

Winter flower arrangements can be just as beautiful as summer ones – branches, berries and hips replace the fresh flowers that are putting themselves to bed for the winter.  It won’t be long until the winter bulbs will come into flower and it is possible to pot some into a beautiful pot and bring inside to flower a little earlier under warmer condition.  If you haven’t done so already finish planting any bulbs you have yet to go in the ground so that you will have those little bright spots of joy to look forward to as the winter gets darker.

Credit: Karen Cauthen Ellsworth at Flowermag.com

Unstuff your wardrobe from its summer frocks and tops, and swap over to winter clothes.  Check your jerseys for any repairs and if they need cleaning, gently wash with a suitable wool soap.  Delegate any that are past their useby date to outdoor work use, and pass any surplus onto someone else who may need it.  Enjoy looking in the catalogues or in the shops for a new one in this season’s colours to keep your look fresh. Of course it won’t be just your wardrobe you will need to do this with if you have family – depending on age, train them up to do this as well.

Now to your linen cupboard. Bring those warm winter sheets into easy reach and put your clean summer sheets on another shelf liberally laced with lavender sachets.  I always layer mine with some of those beautiful scented soaps that are so beautiful I hardly want to use in the bath but get great enjoyment out of seeing them passing on their fragrance in the linen cupboard. A warm cosy bed in winter is such an luxury and within reach of any budget. So enjoy taking some time to create beautiful indoor spaces for yourself and your family – and use the time for a little bit of soul restoration.

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