Winter is, without a doubt, one of the most beautiful times of the year. The holiday season is in full effect, winter sports are happening, we spend a lot of time with loved ones, and our wardrobes transform. Not to mention the weather changes.
However, all the changes that come with winter make it that much more important to prepare your home for this season. Need practical advice on how to do this effectively? Start with these six things when preparing your home for the winter.
Organize and Declutter
As important as it is to tend to your home’s exterior, it’s just as crucial to organize and declutter the inside of your home as winter approaches. Go through each room one by one, figuring out what you want to keep and what you can donate, recycle, give away, or need to dispose of.
After that, organize each room. Put away spring clothes in vacuum-sealed bags and bring out your winter wear. Incorporate organizational tools like bins, shelves, and containers so that it’ll be easy to find what you need this winter.
Then, design each room to accommodate what you do in the winter. For example, let's say you have pets that typically play outside but can’t during the winter because of the cold weather.
In that case, you can create a safe space for your pets to play and exercise inside, full of interactive toys like puzzles and tug-of-war ropes, so they can continue enjoying themselves in the winter months.
Make necessary adjustments to the lighting in your home as well.
Pay Special Attention to the Lighting
The lack of daylight during winter can make the season tough to get through. Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD), in particular, is a type of seasonal depression that usually comes about during the darker days of winter and lifts during spring and summer.
Light is one of the main reasons why medical professionals think SAD goes away during the spring and summer. Changing the lighting in your home and opening it up to more natural light during the winter months can positively affect SAD symptoms.
Also, consider investing in SAD lamps and other lighting options to help you feel better physically and emotionally.
Inspect Your Heat Sources
Staying warm in the winter is the most important task during this time. The last thing you want is a home that lets all your warmth out while welcoming cold air in. Therefore, inspecting your heat sources, as well as your doors and windows, is critical.
Seal off your doors and windows to ensure they’re as energy-efficient as possible. Seal any gaps in the siding outside your home as well.
Check your fireplace, furnace, heat pump, space, and built-in room heaters to see if they work correctly. If they aren’t, ask a professional to inspect them and give you an estimate. Also, consider installing insulation in your home if it’s financially feasible to ensure heat doesn’t escape your home as often.
Check your Smoke and Carbon Monoxide Alarms
With winter comes more time inside, huddled around the fireplace, using space heaters, stoves, and other fuel-burning appliances. Ensuring your smoke and carbon monoxide alarms are working correctly is essential.
High smoke and carbon monoxide levels can cause severe illness and sometimes death. Functioning smoke and carbon monoxide alarms can save your life should a fire happen or the stove top is left on. So, check each one for functionality and replace batteries where needed.
Focus on Weatherproofing
Weather changes in the winter can be unpredictable. For example, it may be cold and sunny one day, rain heavily over the next month, and then start snowing.
Understanding how the weather changes in the winter in your area and weatherproofing your house for those changes is a critical step. Here are some ideas for weatherproofing your home:
- Install storm windows
- Put in-door draft stoppers
- Check and clean your gutters
- Ensure pipes are well insulated
- Fix any leaks in your home’s exterior
- Make sure your roof is in good shape
- Seal off your windows and doors to reduce cold air intake
- Shut off the water to outdoor faucets and sprinkler systems
- Consider installing a sump pump in your basement if your area is prone to flooding
Tend to Your Yard and Garden
Unfortunately, your yard and garden won’t make it through the winter healthily without preparation. For your plants, fruits, vegetables, shrubbery, trees, and lawn to survive the unrelenting winter weather, you need to winterproof them.
Prune the plants and flowers that are best pruned right before winter. Pull out dead and declining plants. Remove weeds and other unwanted species. Harvest everything above ground in your garden, get rid of lingering yard waste, and give your garden tools and outdoor items a good clean.
It’s also essential to plant your fall plants, flowers, trees, and shrubbery before the ground freezes. Dig up your tender bulbs and store them somewhere safe during the winter. Prepare your planting beds for the spring with fall compost, and be sure to label any new additions to your garden, so you know what’s coming in the spring.
As great as it would be for homes to automatically ready themselves for winter, this isn’t reality. The responsibility is ours, and we need to take pride in it. Start with the tasks above to prepare your house for winter most efficiently.