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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 September 16, 2019

        How to Stop Procrastinating: 11 Practical Ways for Procrastinators

        How to Stop Procrastinating: 11 Practical Ways for Procrastinators

        You have a deadline looming. However, instead of doing your work, you are fiddling with miscellaneous things like checking email, social media, watching videos, surfing blogs and forums. You know you should be working, but you just don’t feel like doing anything.

        We are all familiar with the procrastination phenomenon. When we procrastinate, we squander away our free time and put off important tasks we should be doing them till it’s too late. And when it is indeed too late, we panic and wish we got started earlier.

        The chronic procrastinators I know have spent years of their life looped in this cycle. Delaying, putting off things, slacking, hiding from work, facing work only when it’s unavoidable, then repeating this loop all over again. It’s a bad habit that eats us away and prevents us from achieving greater results in life.

        Don’t let procrastination take over your life. Here, I will share my personal steps on how to stop procrastinating. These 11 steps will definitely apply to you too:

        1. Break Your Work into Little Steps

        Part of the reason why we procrastinate is because subconsciously, we find the work too overwhelming for us. Break it down into little parts, then focus on one part at the time. If you still procrastinate on the task after breaking it down, then break it down even further. Soon, your task will be so simple that you will be thinking “gee, this is so simple that I might as well just do it now!”.

        For example, I’m currently writing a new book (on How to achieve anything in life). Book writing at its full scale is an enormous project and can be overwhelming. However, when I break it down into phases such as –

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        • (1) Research
        • (2) Deciding the topic
        • (3) Creating the outline
        • (4) Drafting the content
        • (5) Writing Chapters #1 to #10,
        • (6) Revision
        • (7) etc.

        Suddenly it seems very manageable. What I do then is to focus on the immediate phase and get it done to my best ability, without thinking about the other phases. When it’s done, I move on to the next.

        2. Change Your Environment

        Different environments have different impact on our productivity. Look at your work desk and your room. Do they make you want to work or do they make you want to snuggle and sleep? If it’s the latter, you should look into changing your workspace.

        One thing to note is that an environment that makes us feel inspired before may lose its effect after a period of time. If that’s the case, then it’s time to change things around. Refer to Steps #2 and #3 of 13 Strategies To Jumpstart Your Productivity, which talks about revamping your environment and workspace.

        3. Create a Detailed Timeline with Specific Deadlines

        Having just 1 deadline for your work is like an invitation to procrastinate. That’s because we get the impression that we have time and keep pushing everything back, until it’s too late.

        Break down your project (see tip #1), then create an overall timeline with specific deadlines for each small task. This way, you know you have to finish each task by a certain date. Your timelines must be robust, too – i.e. if you don’t finish this by today, it’s going to jeopardize everything else you have planned after that. This way it creates the urgency to act.

        My goals are broken down into monthly, weekly, right down to the daily task lists, and the list is a call to action that I must accomplish this by the specified date, else my goals will be put off.

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        Here’re more tips on setting deadlines: 22 Tips for Effective Deadlines

        4. Eliminate Your Procrastination Pit-Stops

        If you are procrastinating a little too much, maybe that’s because you make it easy to procrastinate.

        Identify your browser bookmarks that take up a lot of your time and shift them into a separate folder that is less accessible. Disable the automatic notification option in your email client. Get rid of the distractions around you.

        I know some people will out of the way and delete or deactivate their facebook accounts. I think it’s a little drastic and extreme as addressing procrastination is more about being conscious of our actions than counteracting via self-binding methods, but if you feel that’s what’s needed, go for it.

        5. Hang out with People Who Inspire You to Take Action

        I’m pretty sure if you spend just 10 minutes talking to Steve Jobs or Bill Gates, you’ll be more inspired to act than if you spent the 10 minutes doing nothing. The people we are with influence our behaviors. Of course spending time with Steve Jobs or Bill Gates every day is probably not a feasible method, but the principle applies — The Hidden Power of Every Single Person Around You

        Identify the people, friends or colleagues who trigger you – most likely the go-getters and hard workers – and hang out with them more often. Soon you will inculcate their drive and spirit too.

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        As a personal development blogger, I “hang out” with inspiring personal development experts by reading their blogs and corresponding with them regularly via email and social media. It’s communication via new media and it works all the same.

        6. Get a Buddy

        Having a companion makes the whole process much more fun. Ideally, your buddy should be someone who has his/her own set of goals. Both of you will hold each other accountable to your goals and plans. While it’s not necessary for both of you to have the same goals, it’ll be even better if that’s the case, so you can learn from each other.

        I have a good friend whom I talk to regularly, and we always ask each other about our goals and progress in achieving those goals. Needless to say, it spurs us to keep taking action.

        7. Tell Others About Your Goals

        This serves the same function as #6, on a larger scale. Tell all your friends, colleagues, acquaintances and family about your projects. Now whenever you see them, they are bound to ask you about your status on those projects.

        For example, sometimes I announce my projects on The Personal Excellence Blog, Twitter and Facebook, and my readers will ask me about them on an ongoing basis. It’s a great way to keep myself accountable to my plans.

        8. Seek out Someone Who Has Already Achieved the Outcome

        What is it you want to accomplish here, and who are the people who have accomplished this already? Go seek them out and connect with them. Seeing living proof that your goals are very well achievable if you take action is one of the best triggers for action.

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        9. Re-Clarify Your Goals

        If you have been procrastinating for an extended period of time, it might reflect a misalignment between what you want and what you are currently doing. Often times, we outgrow our goals as we discover more about ourselves, but we don’t change our goals to reflect that.

        Get away from your work (a short vacation will be good, else just a weekend break or staycation will do too) and take some time to regroup yourself. What exactly do you want to achieve? What should you do to get there? What are the steps to take? Does your current work align with that? If not, what can you do about it?

        10. Stop Over-Complicating Things

        Are you waiting for a perfect time to do this? That maybe now is not the best time because of X, Y, Z reasons? Ditch that thought because there’s never a perfect time. If you keep waiting for one, you are never going to accomplish anything.

        Perfectionism is one of the biggest reasons for procrastination. Read more about why perfectionist tendencies can be a bane than a boon: Why Being A Perfectionist May Not Be So Perfect.

        11. Get a Grip and Just Do It

        At the end, it boils down to taking action. You can do all the strategizing, planning and hypothesizing, but if you don’t take action, nothing’s going to happen. Occasionally, I get readers and clients who keep complaining about their situations but they still refuse to take action at the end of the day.

        Reality check:

        I have never heard anyone procrastinate their way to success before and I doubt it’s going to change in the near future.  Whatever it is you are procrastinating on, if you want to get it done, you need to get a grip on yourself and do it.

        More About Procrastination

        Featured photo credit: Malvestida Magazine via unsplash.com

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