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4 Ways to Prepare Your Home For Summer

4 Ways to Prepare Your Home For Summer

February is just around the corner, and that means that winter is nearly over. For most people, the end of winter is a welcome relief. As with any change in season, there is always much to be done to prepare your home for a drastic change in temperature. While preparing for winter can be depressing for a lot of people, preparing for summer can be a very exciting time. Summer means barbecues, warm summer nights, and typically some sort of vacation.

Here are four ways to get your home and all those in it prepared so you can hit the ground running when summer finally arrives.

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Prepare your sprinklers

Most people do not fully understand how their sprinkler systems work. They simply set the timer, and the sprinklers come on at a specific time. Unfortunately, winter can be extremely hard on sprinkling systems, and often summer will arrive but sprinkling systems will not come on. A sprinkler system may appear pretty complicated to some people, but sprinklers are actually fairly basic things.

It may be a good time to start checking your sprinkler heads for any obstructions that may have arrived with the winter. If you live in a place where winter seems to last forever, February may be too early, but in many places February is just about the right time to start checking your sprinkler heads. You will also want to check the valves to make sure that they function properly. To do this, you simply need to turn on your sprinkler system and let it run through each station one time.

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Prepare for spring cleaning

For some people, spring cleaning is a dreaded moment. But for many other people, it is a welcome opportunity to air things out and get organized before summer arrives. Spring cleaning can be a long, drawn-out, awful process, or it can be a well-organized, single-day activity if everything is planned ahead.

Start planning your spring cleaning schedule now. If you have kids or other household members, it will be helpful to start making a schedule for each person’s tasks and getting everything worked out. Once the day arrives, everyone can hit the ground running, and the tasks can all be done before evening. You can then plan a fun activity to do at the end of the day so that everyone has something to look forward to. Here is a useful checklist for building your spring cleaning plan.

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Plumbing

Plumbing is something that most of us prefer to ignore. Unfortunately, if you ignore something like your water heater for too long, it will force you to pay attention to it with multiple expenses and perhaps even a disaster. To avoid this, it is important to do a visual inspection of your water heater at the end of each winter. You will want to look at your supply line and see if everything is running smoothly.

You will also want to check all of the other plumbing items in your home. This includes bathrooms, washing machines, dishwashers, sinks and tubs, and any outdoor hoses you may have. What you are looking for is any sign that the item is corroding or deteriorating quickly. You can find a fairly good list here of all of the plumbing fixtures to check and what to look for.

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Ceiling fan

This is an incredibly small step that almost everybody forgets to do at the end of winter and the end of summer. You need to change the direction of your ceiling fan at the end of every winter. In the summer, you want your ceiling fan to blow air down to make everyone feel cooler, but in the winter, you want just the opposite. Most ceiling fans have a small button on the top which allows you to change the direction. You may need a ladder, but this is still the easiest step.

It is never too early to start preparing. Don’t waste beautiful summer days doing cleaning work and stuff of that nature. Get it all done in the winter when you have to be indoors anyway, then spend your summer outside, enjoying the beautiful world.

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Spencer Mecham

Personal Finance Coach, Digital Marketer

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Last Updated on September 18, 2020

7 Simple Rules to Live by to Get in Shape in Two Weeks

7 Simple Rules to Live by to Get in Shape in Two Weeks

Learning how to get in shape and set goals is important if you’re looking to live a healthier lifestyle and get closer to your goal weight. While this does require changes to your daily routine, you’ll find that you are able to look and feel better in only two weeks.

Over the years, I’ve learned a lot about what it takes to get in shape. Although anyone can cover the basics (eat right and exercise), there are some things that I could only learn through trial and error. Let’s cover some of the most important points for how to get in shape in two weeks.

1. Exercise Daily

It is far easier to make exercise a habit if it is a daily one. If you aren’t exercising at all, I recommend starting by exercising a half hour every day. When you only exercise a couple times per week, it is much easier to turn one day off into three days off, a week off, or a month off.

If you are already used to exercising, switching to three or four times a week to fit your schedule may be preferable, but it is a lot harder to maintain a workout program you don’t do every day.

Be careful to not repeat the same exercise routine each day. If you do an intense ab workout one day, try switching it up to general cardio the next. You can also squeeze in a day of light walking to break up the intensity.

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If you’re a morning person, check out these morning exercises that will start your day off right.

2. Duration Doesn’t Substitute for Intensity

Once you get into the habit of regular exercise, where do you go if you still aren’t reaching your goals? Most people will solve the problem by exercising for longer periods of time, turning forty-minute workouts into two hour stretches. Not only does this drain your time, but it doesn’t work particularly well.

One study shows that “exercising for a whole hour instead of a half does not provide any additional loss in either body weight or fat”[1].

This is great news for both your schedule and your levels of motivation. You’ll likely find it much easier to exercise for 30 minutes a day instead of an hour. In those 30 minutes, do your best to up the intensity to your appropriate edge to get the most out of the time.

3. Acknowledge Your Limits

Many people get frustrated when they plateau in their weight loss or muscle gaining goals as they’re learning how to get in shape. Everyone has an equilibrium and genetic set point where their body wants to remain. This doesn’t mean that you can’t achieve your fitness goals, but don’t be too hard on yourself if you are struggling to lose weight or put on muscle.

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Acknowledging a set point doesn’t mean giving up, but it does mean realizing the obstacles you face.

Expect to hit a plateau in your own fitness results[2]. When you expect a plateau, you can manage around it so you can continue your progress at a more realistic rate. When expectations meet reality, you can avoid dietary crashes.

4. Eat Healthy, Not Just Food That Looks Healthy

Know what you eat. Don’t fuss over minutia like whether you’re getting enough Omega 3’s or tryptophan, but be aware of the big things. Look at the foods you eat regularly and figure out whether they are healthy or not. Don’t get fooled by the deceptively healthy snacks just pretending to be good for you.

The basic nutritional advice includes:

  • Eat unprocessed foods
  • Eat more veggies
  • Use meat as a side dish, not a main course
  • Eat whole grains, not refined grains[3]

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Eat whole grains when you want to learn how to get in shape.

    5. Watch Out for Travel

    Don’t let a four-day holiday interfere with your attempts when you’re learning how to get in shape. I don’t mean that you need to follow your diet and exercise plan without any excursion, but when you are in the first few weeks, still forming habits, be careful that a week long break doesn’t terminate your progress.

    This is also true of schedule changes that leave you suddenly busy or make it difficult to exercise. Have a backup plan so you can be consistent, at least for the first month when you are forming habits.

    If travel is on your schedule and can’t be avoided, make an exercise plan before you go[4], and make sure to pack exercise clothes and an exercise mat as motivation to keep you on track.

    6. Start Slow

    Ever start an exercise plan by running ten miles and then puking your guts out? Maybe you aren’t that extreme, but burnout is common early on when learning how to get in shape. You have a lifetime to be healthy, so don’t try to go from couch potato to athletic superstar in a week.

    If you are starting a running regime, for example, run less than you can to start. Starting strength training? Work with less weight than you could theoretically lift. Increasing intensity and pushing yourself can come later when your body becomes comfortable with regular exercise.

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    7. Be Careful When Choosing a Workout Partner

    Should you have a workout partner? That depends. Workout partners can help you stay motivated and make exercising more fun. But they can also stop you from reaching your goals.

    My suggestion would be to have a workout partner, but when you start to plateau (either in physical ability, weight loss/gain, or overall health) and you haven’t reached your goals, consider mixing things up a bit.

    If you plateau, you may need to make changes to continue improving. In this case it’s important to talk to your workout partner about the changes you want to make, and if they don’t seem motivated to continue, offer a thirty day break where you both try different activities.

    I notice that guys working out together tend to match strength after a brief adjustment phase. Even if both are trying to improve, something seems to stall improvement once they reach a certain point. I found that I was able to lift as much as 30-50% more after taking a short break from my regular workout partner.

    Final Thoughts

    Learning how to get in shape in as little as two weeks sounds daunting, but if you’re motivated and have the time and energy to devote to it, it’s certainly possible.

    Find an exercise routine that works for you, eat healthy, drink lots of water, and watch as the transformation begins.

    More Tips on Getting in Shape

    Featured photo credit: Alexander Redl via unsplash.com

    Reference

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