Getting winter ready can be overwhelming when you start to think of all the different moving parts. House, clothes, car, personal care, well care etc... all can use a little prep work to make it through the winter months without a bump. A simple check list for getting winter ready in every area of your home and life will make sure you don't miss a thing.
It may be obvious to change out winter clothes for the summer ones and be sure you have gloves in hand and hats for everyone, but this list will help make sure you are on track and getting winter ready in your wardrobe.
- Decide when you will be getting winter ready with the clothing swap. It may be a gradual process where you begin to put away a few lighter wear outfits before pulling out the boxes of winter wear.
- Before storing summer/lighter clothes, dispose or donate anything that no longer fits, is too stained or threadbare or is just past it's life.
- Wash EVERYTHING before storing it. It may be tempted to store clothes as is because you are inclined to wash them AGAIN before wearing in the summer but dirty clothes attract pests.
- Store in plastic bins. Getting winter ready means using the best storage systems for the task. cardboard is cheap and easy to acquire but plastic bins will keep out moisture and pests far better than cardboard. And plastic bags are just too easy for mice to eat through compared to the hard plastic of a bin.
- Avoid storing on hangers. Clothes stored on hangers will begin to lose their shape. Be sure to carefully fold items before putting them away.
- Store with pest deterrents. Cedar blocks or moth balls are a great way to keep your clothes pest free over the holidays. Just remember that they may stain your clothes so don't put them in direct contact.
You depend on your home to keep you warm and healthy throughout the winter months. Getting ready for winter means making sure everything is in shape to do just that.
- Change any air filters that may be dirty to provide the cleanest air possible.
- Get the chimney inspected before lighting that first fire.
- Getting winter ready also means getting your heating system checked to be sure it is running at peak efficiency.
- Give it space. Heaters and radiators need at least 3 feet of space to avoid any fire hazards and to offer the best possible heating. Make sure summer projects or plants haven't taken up homes where they will interfere with this operation.
- Cover the vents. If you have forced air, look for ducts that do not serve as heating ducts and be sure to cover these. This will help eliminate drafts and inefficient use of your heating system.
The garage is an extension of your home and there are many things you can do to help get it winter ready.
- Wrap the water heater. Wrapping your water heater will help lower your energy bills by helping the unit retain more of the heat and have to run less often.
- Swap out tires. If you have winter tires, put those on your car. Alternatively, check your winter chains to be sure they are still in good working order and store those in the trunk.
- Drain the mower. Any lawn equipment that will not be used during the winter should be drained of excess gas and stored away.
Getting winter ready on the outside of your home is another important project. Use these tips to cover all the bases.
- Bring in plants. Many plants can't weather the drops in temperatures and can be brought in the home.
- Cover patio furniture. Clean and cover or store your outdoor furniture so that they aren't exposed to the elements.
- Drain any water fountains and unplug and pumps.
- Roof check. Check your roof for any missing or damaged tiles or shingles. Replace these. While you are up there, be sure to clean out the gutters.
- Insulate water pipes. Wherever pipes may be exposed to the cold weather, be sure to wrap them with insulation.
- Cover air conditioning units. Covering AC units helps to prevent drafts and protects the parts from excess moisture.
Winter weather takes its toll on us physically both inside and out. Use these tips to get winter ready so that you and your family stay in peak condition throughout the winter months.
- Moisturize! While it might seem odd with all the snow that comes with winter, the cold months are very dry. And dry air takes a toll on skin, hair and immune systems. Be sure to apply extra moisture to your skin, extra conditioner to your hair and consume extra water all winter long.
- Reduce stress. Stress is one of the number one reasons we get sick during the holiday months. Stress taxes your immune system and makes it harder to fight infections. Plan to reduce your stress levels by minimizing the extra work load, making choices about what WON'T get done and delegating some tasks to others.
- Avoid getting sick. Getting winter ready means giving your immune system an extra boost so that you can avoid catching all the nasty bugs. Reduce sugar and alcohol intake, increase water intake, get plenty of exercise and increase vitamins like C and D that are known to boost immune system response.
Invest some time each week to getting winter ready. The investment will allow you and your home to always be at peak efficiency, save the most money and prevent any unnecessary concerns that may come up.
What are your favorite tips for getting winter ready?