17 November 2011

Are You Ready for Old Man Winter?

This week I unilaterally decided it was time for A. to start wearing her winter coat to school every day, much to her annoyance and general dismay.  She argued that it wasn't nearly cold enough, being only mid-November (she's a true Canadian ... it's not cold until it's frozen!) and that the other kids would laugh at her since they're all still running around mostly coatless.  And while I assured her that it would be only funny until they all came down with bronchitis (and then who'd be the one laughing?) she's still feeling more than a little put out.

This morning, however, I opened my Outlook to find Style at Home's most recent e-newsletter,
35+ Cost Efficient Ways to Prepare for Winter.  Vindication!  Baby, it's [getting] cold outside, and here are some of my favourite ideas to prep your home and yourself for the season of holiday and hibernation:

Preparing your home for winter

Seal Your Windows
Seal drafty windows to keep heat in and energy bills low with one (or both) of these two simple tasks. First, caulk the cracks. Sold in temporary or permanent form, caulking is inexpensive and easy to apply. Second, cover your windows in a thin plastic film (available at any hardware store) and tape it down with waterproof double-sided tape, heating the edges with a hair dryer and pressing the protective layer into place. When it gets warmer outside, simply peel the film off, open the window, and let the sun shine in.

Don't Forget About Heating Maintenance
Is your heating system ready to weather the winter? Have a professional check your heating system and ensure it's in good working order before you turn it on. Schedule checks for your furnace, venting system and chimney. Don't forget to replace the batteries on smoke and carbon monoxide detectors, in case any of your heating systems are overworking.

Prepare Your Hearth for a Fire
Before getting chestnuts ready for the roasting, get your fireplace set for the fire. Grab a flashlight and look inside for build-up, bird's nests or obvious cracks. From the outside, check for broken bricks and crumbling mortar. Ensure that your damper opens and closes and seals tightly. Clean out the ashes and remember that in addition to these steps, you should have your chimney professionally cleaned every other year (more often if you burn a lot of fires). Stock up on wood and kindling, and you're ready for a comfy, cosy season by the fire.

10 Things To Do in November

Stock Up On Wine
Whether it's for serving to your guests or bringing to parties, you're sure to go through lots of wine this holiday season. Make a serious trip to the liquor store now and you won't have to go again until the New Year.

Add Flowers to Your Decor
Forced bulbs are a wonderful way to brighten up a
 colourless winter vista; not only do they look beautiful on the windowsill, but the lower temperatures near the glass will help them stay in bloom longer. To make things easier, you can buy pretreated bulbs that don't require special treatment -- just pot them up, water and wait for them to grow.

Get Started on Greeting Cards
If, like many Canadians, you have friends or relatives abroad, it's likely you need to start mailing cards at the beginning of December to guarantee that they'll make it to their destination by Christmas. Make things easy by purchasing cards and stamps and organizing your list of recipients ahead of time. Address and stamp all your envelopes first, so you can whip off a card in any spare moment.

Colin and Justin's 5 Winter Makeover Tips

Add Warmth With Light
Proper lighting can really cosy up a space. As the months roll forward, it's best to avoid harsh lighting. Instead, favour warm glows created by lights like the Mini Table Lamp in hot red from EQ3. Or invest in an affordable dimmer switch like Lutron's Maestro Preset 600W in white from The Home Depot, and you'll be changing your mood on a whim. Even easier, opt for the simple, natural glow of flickering scented candles. Bliss!

Update your home with fresh flowers, candles, cushions and throws. Accessories can change the mood and dynamic of a space. For colour, choose pieces in warm hues like rich red and deep orange, and you'll be sure to raise your room's temperature.

These are just a few tips and tricks that caught my eye, but there are many more: check out the whole helpful list here.  What are your traditions and habits getting ready for winter?  Do you do anything special?

1. Seal Your Windows image via here
2. Don't Forget About Heating Maintenance image via here
3. Prepare Your Hearth for a Fire image via here
4. Stock Up On Wine image via here
5. Add Flowers to Your Decor image via here
6. Get Started on Greeting Cards image via here
7. Add Warmth With Light image via here
8. Accessorize! image via here