That transition between summer and winter is always a toughie so we wanted to give you a few tips to make it just a bit easier.

1. Stock up on goodies from the hardware store

Nothing is worse than needing a shovel, rake, tarp, etc., and running to the hardware store just to find out you aren’t the only one who needed those things and now they’re sold out!  So what you should do, is now, in the autumn months, anticipate any needs you may have and purchase hardware supplies before they run out.  Our recommendations:

  • a rake for all those falling leaves
  • a tarp because it has so many purposes
  • a bucket in case there’s a leak during the stormy months
  • flashlight or at least new flashlight batteries
  • duct tape because if duct tape can’t fix it, nothing can 😉

These are just a few suggestions for hardware purchases, but everyone should be prepared if there is a power outage of some sort as well.  Have extra water for you, everyone in your family, and don’t forget the critters as well, have non-perishable food, energy bars, canned food, and a manual can opener, first-aid kit and extra blankets and warm clothes.  You could consider getting a back-up generator, which is pricey, but could save you from some cold nights.

2. Clean out gutters and replace shingles

This is an important preventative measure to take.  Leaks in a home can not only be a big pain in the behind, but could also cause a lot of damage.  So even if you’re a bit afraid of heights, it is a very good idea to get up on your roof to check on any loose, missing or damaged shingles.  Since you’re already up there, take this opportunity to clean out your gutters as well.  Clogged gutters can mess with the drainage system and during those story months, proper drainage is crucial.

 

3. Clear Vents and Chimneys

Another preventative measure that can be taken is clearing out vents and chimneys.  Here’s where we come in, we can clean out those vents to ensure there are no obstructions.  Any obstruction in an air vent can cause an exhaust build-up which leads to carbon monoxide poisoning.  It’s silently but deadly, so you want to be sure to prevent any exhaust from exiting.  Same thing can happen to your chimney so be sure that is cleaned out as well.  Shrubbery, vines, leaves, are just a few examples of what could be obstructing.  If you’re already making an attempt to prevent carbon monoxide poisoning, then this is also a good time to replace batteries in carbon monoxide detectors, you know, just in case!

 

4. Condition your home

I don’t mean air condition your home, I mean condition yourself to the new temperatures of your home.  Heating your home can be super costly so you should try to acclimate yourself to lower temperatures.  Let’s say you set your thermostat at 75 during the day and 72 in the evening, try lowering it by one degree each week.  This will slowly adjust you to the new temperatures and reduce energy costs.  You can also try things like sweatshirts, fuzzy socks, and heavy blankets to keep you warm in the cooler temps.  Hot cocoa, tea, soups and stews also help with getting to the comfy feeling.

 

5. Prevent pests

Pests are an issue all year long, whether it be flies, mosquitoes, spiders, or mice, but during the summer months, these critters tend to stay outdoors and enjoy the nice weather just like us!  But once things get cooler outside and they see how warm we are indoors, they want to join in on the fun.  Unfortunately for them, they are very unwelcomed guests, so take these steps in advance to prevent them from being a problem.

  • Put a screen in your chimney vent
  • Keep basements, attics, crawl spaces, ductwork, etc., well ventilated and dry
  • Moist areas are vulnerable to roaches. Eeek! So make sure all drainage and pipes are leak free, paying special attention to bathrooms and kitchens
  • Seal cracks and holes and weather strip basements and windows (Fun fact: Mice can fit through a hole the size of a dime!)
  • Another way to prevent mice is keep storage organized and preferably off the ground
  • Keep firewood more than 20 feet from your home.  Ants and mice make homes in wood, so the further the better

6. Get your flu shot

So pests in the home can be a huge issue but pests in your immune system can be worse! You can prevent getting sick by making an appointment with your doctor or going to the pharmacy to get your flu shot.  Even if you never get sick, get your flu shot for those who can’t.  Herd immunity is important because there are many people aren’t there who can’t get vaccines (infants, elderly, people with autoimmune diseases, etc.), so if everyone who is eligible for vaccinations participates, then it keeps the whole population healthier.

7. Stay happy

Lastly, winter months can be hard on our mental health.  With less light, cabin fever, cold temperatures, etc., we have to remember to keep ourselves cheerful.  Seasonal affective disorder, mentioned in The Office, may seem silly, but is actually a very serious issue.  It can lead to depression, so make sure you keep your spirits high through all the winter months.  Plan fun activities like movie nights, ice skating, ginger bread decorating, anything that puts a smile on your face 🙂

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