It’s the season of snow, ice and mud in most of the country, and that means it’s more difficult to keep the home #clean. To keep the outside out, use two doormats with every exterior door — a bristly one for the outside and a more absorbent one inside. To keep floors completely clean of dirt and salt residues, establish a station just inside the door where family members and guests can take off their shoes and leave them off until they exit again. No matter how strict you make the rule, however, some dirt will find its way in, so put a deep cleaning of carpets and furniture on the agenda for the end of the season. #WinterCleaning
A Shoes-Off Policy Helps Keep the Home Clean
It’s a challenge to keep a home #clean when winter storms hits and people start to track in snow, ice, dirt and salt. To keep your floors pristine, institute a shoes-off policy inside the home an designate a basket to hold them when not in use, Real Simple suggests. Throw rugs, doormats and runners can help keep wetness and dirt confined to specific locations. If all else fails, create a makeshift mudroom by your home’s garage or backdoor entrance and equip it with hooks, bins, shelves and lockers for temporary clothing storage. The idea is to keep the #mess confined to an easily cleaned space.
The Hidden Dangers of a Winter Storm
Winter storm Isaiah hit hit multiple areas of the country with snow and ice over the weekend. The National Weather Service calls storms like this “deceptive killers” because most deaths are related indirectly to the storm itself. If your area is under a winter storm watch or warning, Weather Underground says, make sure you have rock salt or deicer, snow shovels, heating fuel, and adequate clothing and blankets. If signs of frostbite (loss of feeling and pale appearance in extremities) or hypothermia (shivering, memory loss, drowsiness and exhaustion) are apparent, seek medical help immediately. #WinterTips
Winter Came Early. Are You Ready?
Many areas across the country are experiencing a fast end to the manageably crisp fall temperatures they usually enjoy, going from jacket weather to parka-and-longjohns overnight. Many areas that could expect highs to hover in the 50s are experiencing record-breaking lows; some already have a blanket of snow on the ground and below-zero wind chills.
The abrupt transition from seasonably cool to fantastically frigid likely took many readers (and this author) by surprise. Their best winter garments are probably still in storage or at the cleaners, leaving them to cobble together layered outfits to brave the cold or simply huddle indoors until the sudden cold snap passes.
If you haven’t yet bundled up, now’s a good time to start. Many retailers have announced Black Friday deals well ahead of the actual day, so you can buy yourself that new coat, sweater or blanket at a discount. Better still, you can find lightly used garments at area thrift stores supplied by ClothingDonations.org a fraction of their original retail prices.
Once you’ve got yourself covered, you’ll want to prepare for the worst. Winter storms could trap you inside for days, so make sure you have a good snow shovel and plenty of food and drinking water on hand, Simple Family Preparedness says. Stock up on wood for the fireplace and salt or sand for the sidewalks.
If an extended deep freeze is on the way, fill your gas tank to prevent fuel line freezes. Charge cell phones and fuel backup generators. Weather-strip drafty windows and doors. And refamiliarize yourself with the location of your home’s main water valve in case the pipes freeze and burst.
Most home winterization tasks are a matter of keeping snow, ice and prolonged below-zero temperatures from ruining the equipment that keeps your home climate-controlled in the first place. “Proper winterization involves a systematic review of your home’s HVAC equipment, as well as the critical structural and mechanical systems,” The Spruce says.
Check the furnace and replace filters. Cover your central air conditioning unit to prevent debris from getting in it. Inspect and clean the chimney and insulate exposed pipes against freezes. It’s a lot to get done — but once you do, you can ride out the cold winter months in calm and comfort. Get started before it’s too late!
There’s No Dirt Like Winter Dirt
Many parts of the country that don’t get a lot of snow and ice did earlier this month, and it looks like there’s more to come. Readers who live in the North know how easy it is to bring mud, moisture and salt into the house, and have strategies to keep tracked-in dirt at bay. But some of these strategies bear repeating.
First, encourage everyone who enters your home to remove their shoes. This is the No. 1 way for winter dirt to enter your living space, and even the freshest, whitest snow likely contains salt, sand and other contaminants that will dirty the floors. Place trays or washable throw rugs by all exterior doors to catch the muck melting from footwear.
Throw rugs are often the best defense for high-traffic areas; they catch winter dirt and can be shaken out or thrown into the wash easily. Use them even on top of wall-to-wall carpet, since it’s difficult to get carpeting to look clean and bright again once people track dirty snow onto it.
Leave a towel by the door to wipe down your pets following a walk or romp in the snow, says the Vivint Smart Home blog. Many dogs and cats also develop thicker coats in cold weather, and ultimately shed more. Brush and groom them regularly to prevent that fur from flying everywhere and attaching itself to furniture and clothing.
If you haven’t already, change out the furnace filters, dust the ceiling fan blades, and vacuum refrigerator coils and blinds to keep allergens to a minimum while the house is closed up against the cold, House Logic says. Sheets, blankets and comforters also catch a lot of dust and dirt, so be sure to so wash them frequently.
Be vigilant. You can’t keep every speck of dust and dirt out of your house in winter, but you can keep it from building up, aggravating allergies and causing permanent damage to floors, carpets and other surfaces. Sweep, vacuum and mop frequently to get any dirt that’s brought into the house out quickly.
If the weather forecasts are correct, you’ll be spending lots of time indoors for a few more weeks, so take the appropriate steps to make sure your environment is clean and healthy. Then, count down the days until spring!