08 February 2017

Final Winter Chores Before the Thaw


By this time of year, it's easy to see the promise of spring before us. We've done it! Got through the cold winter months, struggled with the lack of daylight, and not being able to set foot outside the house without being wrapped in 15 layers of clothing. Yes, it's still cold right now, but spring is on its way. You can smell it in the air, see it in how the sun lingers that little bit longer every day - and you bask in the promise of warmth to come.

You'll see a lot of advice around this time of year about getting your home and garden ready for summer. It's a natural aspect to want to focus on, too. As you anticipate the brighter seasons, you want to revel in that feeling and focus on making your house the best it can be. Now is the time for plotting fruit and vegetables you might want to plant; for making changes to your decor or planning even bigger changes to your home structure.

All of the above is to be encouraged. Of course you should be prepared for what's to come, and of course you're all too keen to brush aside the memory of winter and focus on spring.

However...

Yes, it's going to have to be one of those warnings. The ghost of winter past. It's not done with you yet, and it's not going to let go until it has to. Imagine the icy grip of its claws, holding you back from stepping into the sunlight of the seasons to come.

While you may be looking forward to spring and pushing winter to the back of your mind, it's always going to be there. It'll be back - and quicker than you're anticipating, too. The time will fly, and suddenly it will be fall, staring down the barrel of another winter you don't want to have to suffer through.

Here's the thing: you can spare yourself some of the misery of the onset of next winter by ensuring you close this one down correctly. Yes, it might be difficult to convince yourself to drag away from plotting your springtime activities - but you're storing up goodwill. If you do this right, then come next fall, you will be able to relax and let winter happen to you - save in the knowledge you're already prepared.

Wrap seasonal decor and store it--


Seasonal decor doesn't just apply to Christmas decorations. Think of items like throws, extra cushions, lanterns, and candles. Wrap them in bubble wrap and store them in some far-away, waterproof corner.

This has the benefit of preserving the items for when they're most needed and also giving you a fresh palette to work from. Now you have space, you can fill your home with fresh flowers and the pastel colors so synonymous with springtime.

Check your heating supply--


While the hotter days might be on the horizon, now is a good time to check how well you can heat your home.

Check your insulation for holes and patch where necessary, adding extra layers if you have the inclination. Doing this ensures any heat that you generate within your home is going to stay there.

As for the heat generation itself, time to give it the once over before you anticipate turning it off for the year. A gas engineer can give your boiler a safety check to ensure it's running exactly as it should. If it's not behaving as efficiently as it should, then consider replacement. The same applies to other heating sources. For furnaces, the likes of  http://www.advantageairllc.com/residential/replace/furnace-replacement/ can assist further, while even a fireplace can be made more efficient with an upgrade.

Why bite this cost now when you're anticipating not needing your heating for months on end? This way you can spread the cost and have everything in place by the time the weather begins to cool. Expenses are generally higher during fall and winter (Christmas; heating bills...) so taking this cost on board means you save yourself hassle in the fall.

Start saving for next Christmas--


It's a well-established fact that the cost of Christmas can hit you like a ton of bricks. While you may currently be enjoying the freedom from this burden and wanting to forget about the issue for the foreseeable future, now is not the time to forget about it.

If you start saving now, you can contribute a small amount on a weekly basis. It can be so small that you barely notice it's gone. By the time shopping needs roll around in October, those tiny amounts will have built into a large amount for you to use.

This might sound like madness if you're still reeling from the cost of last Christmas - but this is all about breaking the cycle. Do it right, and this time next year, there won't be anything for you to be left reeling from. You'll have it all taken care of well before, so you can just focus on the moment. If you need a few extra tips for saving for Christmas, http://www.cbsnews.com/news/10-easy-tips-to-save-money-this-christmas/ is a great resource.

Assess all of your winter gear--


Coats, shoes, hats, gloves, scarves, boots - all the winter-friendly items that clutter up your home when not in use. While chances are you're still using some of these, it's a great time to assess each of them on their merits.

If you try and do this kind of decluttering in summer, you can overestimate what you need. With the heat of the sun beating down on you, you guess that sure, maybe you do need four pairs of gloves per person in the house. Instead of falling into that trap, right now you can make the decision: what has been useful? What hasn't?

Discard the items that haven't been used immediately. For those still in use until spring really dawns, assess if they are in good enough condition to see through another a winter. If they are, store them when you no longer need them for this season - if not, dispose.

So while spring is shooting through the earth, there are a few tendrils left from winter you need to tidy away. With that done, you can throw yourself into the warmer months, safe in the knowledge that you've got everything ready for when the weather cools again.

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