Time to Winterize Your Home

 

You are likely to be hosting your family and friends for an event or two during this holiday season. Maximize your time and energy with your loved ones by preparing and winterizing your home now. Here are a few ideas on how to get your home ready for the winter.

Let’s begin with your home’s exterior as well as your plants, shrubs, and flowers:

  • Move the outdoor furniture, equipment (trampolines, eg.) into the garage or basement
  • Make sure all the outdoor stairs and railings are safe, sturdy and in good shape
  • Check your roof to make sure all the shingles are in place
  • Clean the roof gutters and downspouts so rainwater (fingers crossed) can flow off and away, preferably 3-4 feet away, from the house
  • Inspect the exterior siding and foundation for any gaps or cracks. Seal/repair any gaps/cracks before they become larger
  • Cover any exterior vents with hardware cloth so mice can’t sneak through the slats
  • Seal/weather strip any gaps in the windows and doors
  • Plant your winter lawn now so the seeds have time to germinate
  • Remove any door screens, clean them and store them in the garage or basement
  • Hire a professional to spot signs of a tree in poor health to avoid tree loss. The pro can trim the dead out of tree and can prune any trees or shrubs to avoid falling limbs due to wind and rains. Keep the limbs at least three feet away from the house
  • Give plants and shrubs mulch at their base to keep them healthy and warm
  • Buy bird seed to fill the feeders for non-migrating birds. Give them fresh water daily to help keep the bugs/mosquitoes down
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Now, let’s go inside:    

  • Launder and iron your favorite, fancy, and guest sheets and linens so they’re ready for you family and friends whenever they arrive to stay with you. Roll them around a wrapping paper tube so they don’t wrinkle
  • Polish your silver
  • Professionally sharpen your knives
  • Deep clean all the bathrooms now so all you have to do is a simple wipe down just before your guests arrive
  • Make sure your hardwood floors are clean, polished, and in good shape. Same for your rugs and carpeting
  • Clean your windows and sliding glass doors so more sunlight and warmth comes through
  • Consider hanging extra window treatments to keep warm air inside and cold air outside at night  
  • Change the furnace filters monthly
  • Consider purchasing a programmable thermostat -if you don’t already have one- to make sure the heat turns on only when you need it
  • Check your heating system. Better yet, hire an HVAC pro to make sure your system meets safety standards and to prevent high levels of carbon monoxide emission. Again, change the filters monthly
  • Attach door sweeps to the bottom of your exterior doors to prevent mice and other crawlers from coming inside
  • If you have a sump pump to prevent flooding, make sure it works
  • Clean your fireplace/chimney and buy some firewood
  • Clean your dryer vent
  • Test all safety devices like fire alarms, and check expiration dates on fire extinguishers
  • Change the direction of your ceiling fans to create an upward draft to redistribute the warm air from the ceiling
  • Check your home insurance coverage
  • Last but not least, restock your emergency kits for your home and car(s)

This all sounds and looks like more than it is. Whatever time and effort it takes to go through this inside/outside checklist, you’ll be glad as well as relieved that you did before your loved ones arrive. No last minute frenetics. Just a relaxed and well rested hostess/host and your sparkling, safe home outside and in.