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10 Home Hacks to Prepare your House for Winter

10 Home Hacks to Prepare your House for Winter

As the leaves begin to change colors and the air becomes brisker, it reminds us that winter is on the near horizon. In addition to bringing out the winter clothes and making sure the heat is working, it’s worthwhile to keep in mind these 10 home hacks below, which will help prepare your house for winter so you can fully enjoy the coldest months of the year:

1. De-Icing Roof Cables

Frozen ice forming on shingles or gutters can result in costly damage. To prevent this, it’s recommended to use a de-icing roof cable or heat tape, which you can turn on before a storm hits and be assured that the cable will prevent ice from forming under the edge of shingles or along the gutter.

2. Sealing Air Leaks

To get the most out of your heating system, ensure that your windows are sealed and not letting warm air escape in exchange for cold air. Test for air leaks by placing candles around locations in your house on a windy day with the windows shut; if the flame moves, there is an air leak nearby. If this is the case, make sure to caulk and seal all air leaks, primarily by caulking and weatherstripping doors and windows. Don’t have time to caulk, just place bubble wrap between the window and the screen to keep out that cold draft.

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fire place hacks

    3. Tin Foil: Fireplace Cleaner

    An unlikely fireplace cleaner is tin foil, which can be used by placing a double layer of it across the bottom of a fireplace or wood grate before lighting a fire. When the fire is finished the next day, simply fold the tin foil – which will contain ashes – up and throw it away. Just be sure the fire is completely out when cleaning up.

    4. Stove Pot Humidifier

    Using a stove pot humidifier is a nice and cost-effective way to keep your house warmer for longer. Plus, using lemon juice or cinnamon sticks with the humidifier will give your home a fresh and clean-smell.

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    keep the bed warm during winter

      5. Warm Water Bottles

      Since as early as the 16th century, containers with warm water have been used to provide warmth while in bed. The electric blanket is essentially a contemporary version of what hot water containers did in the past. You can use several warm water bottles and lay them on a bed several minutes before climbing in to ensure it’s nice and toasty.

      6. Pebble Boot Tray

      If you’re tired of the wet snow remnants from boots and shoes when people enter the house, consider using a pebble boot tray; when wet shoes or boots sit on these, the snow and ice will drain through the rocks to the bottom of the tray so the footwear will dry quicker and more efficiently. Plus, most of the moisture tends to evaporate under the rocks so only occasional cleaning is necessary. This works for all types of residences, from small apartments to large multi-family homes.

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      7. Rubbing Alcohol and Dishwashing Liquid: Salt Alternatives

      If you run out of salt but need to urgently de-freeze your steps or driveway outside, consider using rubbing alcohol and dishwashing liquid. By mixing together one teaspoon of dishwashing liquid, one tablespoon of rubbing alcohol, and half a gallon of hot water, you’ll create a concoction that you can pour over sidewalks and driveways to melt ice. Plus, it’s better for a sidewalk or driveway than salt, which can eat away at concrete.

      8. Desiccant Air Dryers

      If you have a basement that has a tendency to get wet, consider purchasing a regenerative desiccant compressed air dryer, which uses pressure swing adsorption to efficiently dry wet rooms or areas. They come in various sizes to fit all types of residences. Sustained wetness can cause mold growth, so an air dryer is recommended if there is an issue, especially during breakup season.

      9. Orange Peel as a Fire Starter

      One can use orange peels as fire starters due to the oil in the orange’s skin, which can fuel fires while releasing less creosote than paper. To use the orange as a fire starter, dry its peels on a sheet pan and toss them in a paper bag, with a silica packet to maintain freshness. It’s easy to make and will have your fireplace room smelling like delicious oranges!

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      fire starters

        10. Programmable Thermostat

        You can save money and energy with programmable thermostats, which can adjust to a user-set temperature program with flexible time-of-day and seasonal adjustments. They also look sleek in their digital presentation, compared to the old-fashion drabness of traditional thermostats.

        With the ten home hacks above, your winter should become more stress-free due to less work and repair issues arising at home. It makes enjoying winter that much easier.

        Featured photo credit: Hollin Elizabeth via flickr.com

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        Last Updated on March 13, 2019

        How to Get out of a Rut: 12 Useful Ways to Get Unstuck

        How to Get out of a Rut: 12 Useful Ways to Get Unstuck

        Have you gotten into a rut before? Or are you in a rut right now?

        You know you’re in a rut when you run out of ideas and inspiration. I personally see a rut as a productivity vacuum. It might very well be a reason why you aren’t getting results. Even as you spend more time on your work, you can’t seem to get anything constructive done. While I’m normally productive, I get into occasional ruts (especially when I’ve been working back-to-back without rest). During those times, I can spend an entire day in front of the computer and get nothing done. It can be quite frustrating.

        Over time, I have tried and found several methods that are helpful to pull me out of a rut. If you experience ruts too, whether as a working professional, a writer, a blogger, a student or other work, you will find these useful. Here are 12 of my personal tips to get out of ruts:

        1. Work on the small tasks.

        When you are in a rut, tackle it by starting small. Clear away your smaller tasks which have been piling up. Reply to your emails, organize your documents, declutter your work space, and reply to private messages.

        Whenever I finish doing that, I generate a positive momentum which I bring forward to my work.

        2. Take a break from your work desk.

        Get yourself away from your desk and go take a walk. Go to the washroom, walk around the office, go out and get a snack.

        Your mind is too bogged down and needs some airing. Sometimes I get new ideas right after I walk away from my computer.

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        3. Upgrade yourself

        Take the down time to upgrade yourself. Go to a seminar. Read up on new materials (#7). Pick up a new language. Or any of the 42 ways here to improve yourself.

        The modern computer uses different typefaces because Steve Jobs dropped in on a calligraphy class back in college. How’s that for inspiration?

        4. Talk to a friend.

        Talk to someone and get your mind off work for a while.

        Talk about anything, from casual chatting to a deep conversation about something you really care about. You will be surprised at how the short encounter can be rejuvenating in its own way.

        5. Forget about trying to be perfect.

        If you are in a rut, the last thing you want to do is step on your own toes with perfectionist tendencies.

        Just start small. Do what you can, at your own pace. Let yourself make mistakes.

        Soon, a little trickle of inspiration will come. And then it’ll build up with more trickles. Before you know it, you have a whole stream of ideas.

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        6. Paint a vision to work towards.

        If you are continuously getting in a rut with your work, maybe there’s no vision inspiring you to move forward.

        Think about why you are doing this, and what you are doing it for. What is the end vision in mind?

        Make it as vivid as possible. Make sure it’s a vision that inspires you and use that to trigger you to action.

        7. Read a book (or blog).

        The things we read are like food to our brain. If you are out of ideas, it’s time to feed your brain with great materials.

        Here’s a list of 40 books you can start off with. Stock your browser with only the feeds of high quality blogs, such as Lifehack.org, DumbLittleMan, Seth Godin’s Blog, Tim Ferris’ Blog, Zen Habits or The Personal Excellence Blog.

        Check out the best selling books; those are generally packed with great wisdom.

        8. Have a quick nap.

        If you are at home, take a quick nap for about 20-30 minutes. This clears up your mind and gives you a quick boost. Nothing quite like starting off on a fresh start after catching up on sleep.

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        9. Remember why you are doing this.

        Sometimes we lose sight of why we do what we do, and after a while we become jaded. A quick refresher on why you even started on this project will help.

        What were you thinking when you thought of doing this? Retrace your thoughts back to that moment. Recall why you are doing this. Then reconnect with your muse.

        10. Find some competition.

        Nothing quite like healthy competition to spur us forward. If you are out of ideas, then check up on what people are doing in your space.

        Colleagues at work, competitors in the industry, competitors’ products and websites, networking conventions.. you get the drill.

        11. Go exercise.

        Since you are not making headway at work, might as well spend the time shaping yourself up.

        Sometimes we work so much that we neglect our health and fitness. Go jog, swim, cycle, whichever exercise you prefer.

        As you improve your physical health, your mental health will improve, too. The different facets of ourselves are all interlinked.

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        Here’re 15 Tips to Restart the Exercise Habit (and How to Keep It).

        12. Take a good break.

        Ruts are usually signs that you have been working too long and too hard. It’s time to get a break.

        Beyond the quick tips above, arrange for a 1-day or 2-days of break from your work. Don’t check your (work) emails or do anything work-related. Relax and do your favorite activities. You will return to your work recharged and ready to start.

        Contrary to popular belief, the world will not end from taking a break from your work. In fact, you will be much more ready to make an impact after proper rest. My best ideas and inspiration always hit me whenever I’m away from my work.

        Take a look at this to learn the importance of rest: The Importance of Scheduling Downtime

        More Resources About Getting out of a Rut

        Featured photo credit: Joshua Earle via unsplash.com

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