I could hardly wait for the rain; I’d imagined the coziness, the fire in the hearth, the enormous amounts of reading I would do, the candles I would light. But, as happens every winter, there’s muddy floors, wet pant cuffs and early nightfall, all of which diminish the coziness. It can be hard to stay upbeat, let alone tackle organizing projects, when it’s damp, cold and dark.

Organizing is a lot more fun with a friend (aka spouse or roommate), especially in the winter. Also, since daylight hours are short, the work will go faster with two people (more than two is tough to coordinate and can add to the disorganization). On my personal projects, if my husband is unable or unwilling to co-pilot, I put on the news or some music to keep me company. For projects that don’t require much concentration, such as garages, kitchen drawers and bathrooms, some background noise can be energizing.

Also, anticipate winter irritants that can throw you off your game. Own more than one umbrella and keep one in the car. Wear waterproof shoes or boots when rain is forecast; almost all my winter shoes are waterproof now and I’ve noticed what a difference this makes in my peace of mind. A misstep into a puddle doesn’t phase me in the slightest. Sorel and Aquitalia are two of my favorite brands that make fashionable waterproof shoes.

If you will be going from house to car to office with books and papers, be sure to have water resistant tote bags at the ready to keep everything dry and orderly. Plastic envelopes or slip covers for important documents (available at office supply stores) can also prevent rain drop-smeared ink and damp weather wrinkling.

Set up a spot in the office and in the house where dripping hats, umbrellas, shoes and coats are welcome. Maybe it’s a freestanding coat rack that you can position by the door or in the garage in the winter. If you know, as I do, that tracked in mud will be a fact of life for the next few months, keep extra towels and rags handy for wipe ups. Implement a “no shoes indoors” policy for the winter. I haven’t been able to enforce such a policy, but maybe you’ll have better luck. Martha Stewart suggests a basket of slippers by the door to invite wet shoes to come off. A bench or chair would be encouraging also.

Stock up on stuff. Most of us hate to venture out when it’s raining, so having the ingredients you need for at least a few days’ worth of meals can be a real game changer. Don’t rely on memory when going to the grocery (or any) store—make a list of what you need to be sure you don’t forget that one key item. If you can’t find an exotic ingredient, for example, quince membrillo paste (which I needed recently for an apple tart—damn you, Martha!) order it online rather than search store to store.

Make sure you have your favorite cough drops and cold remedies in the medicine chest before you need them. A good supply of immune boosters—whatever is tried and true for you—will not only keep you productive at home and work but will prevent you missing any ho

liday festivities. Vitamin C, zinc and doTerra On Guard essential oil seem to keep me cold-free.
Adding some aroma is a spirit lifter too. Whole Foods has bags of cinnamon-scented pinecones hanging alongside their selection of Christmas trees and wreaths and the smell never fails to get me into a holiday mood. Bringing a pine tree or pine boughs in to decorate, putting mulling spices on the stove or baking something yummy will make your space inviting even on the most gloomy of days.

Pine and peppermint scents are especially invigorating and might even motivate you to clean out your closet. Or you could just take a deep, delicious breath and curl up with a good book. After all, January and New Year’s resolutions are right around the corner.