Whether you’re Irish or just Irish for the day, the first step in celebrating St. Patrick’s Day is to wear something green. If you don’t have anything suitable already, look no further than the local secondhand or thrift store. Supplied by generous donations to ClothingDonations.org, they’re a great source of inexpensive, lightly used garments — including T-shirts that feature the Gaelic toast Sláinte (“Health”), sayings such as “Kiss me, I’m Irish,” or the Guinness harp logo for a visit the corner pub, for example, or more work-friendly kelly-green polo shirts and neckties.
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!
If you bought so much #Halloween candy that you only have a little money left to decorate, there are plenty of ways to make your home look #spooky for scary-cheap. Make tombstones out of cardboard to turn your yard into a creepy #cemetery, haunt the trees and porch with few DIY spider webs (and giant spiders to match), make felt bats, or ghost-light your walkway with haunted luminaria, Money Crashers suggests. And remember: You can find lots of spooky supplies (including lightly used clothing for creative costumes) at thrift stores supplied by generous donations to ClothingDonations.org.
One of the best things to do as fall begins is get ahead on upcoming events on the cheap. Thrift stores stocked with donations from ClothingDonations.org can be a valuable resource for many fall events. Need a vintage dress for homecoming? Thrift it. Building a scarecrow for your fall festival? There is no place better than the thrift to find colorful, inexpensive clothing that can be stuffed with straw. Need a creative Halloween costume, or some ideas for one? Go directly to the thrift! Your purchases will fund valuable programs that help thousands of the nation’s veterans and their families.
At the Organizing Blog, we’re all about doing more with less. But even the most minimalist homemaker occasionally hosts a get-together, and next week is the ultimate dinner party of the year. If you happen to be hosting the Thanksgiving feast, you may want to bring a few fall flourishes to the table — and you can do so inexpensively.
First, know that you don’t have to buy a lot of extra stuff to establish a Thanksgiving theme. You can harvest the decorations that suggest the season easily, and for not a lot of money. Pumpkins, gourds and apples aren’t expensive to buy at the local grocery store or farmstand, and leaves and pinecones are free to pick up and use.
Once you have some of these nature-made materials, get creative. Living Rich on Less suggests making do-it-yourself candleholders out of apples, pumpkins or a birch bough to make a rustic centerpiece for the Thanksgiving table. Most fall décor is based on harvest themes, and you can also use dried corn cobs, wheat, pears, berries, twigs and nuts to make a centerpiece, Good Housekeeping says. (Bonus: When you’re done with these all-natural accenst, you can put compost them.)
When it comes to making a serving the feast, there’s no better place to look for the stuff you need than the local thrift store. You can get mixing bowls, casseroles, pans, table settings, platters and small appliances for a fraction of what buying them new would cost, and since many thrift stores are supplied by donations to ClothingDonations.org, you’ll help veterans as you shop. Thrifts are also a great source for home accents, paper napkins, candles and other items that can make your fall feast shine.
There’s no reward for spending more than you need to get your house ready for guests. With your own resourcefulness and a few dollars, you can out-Martha Stewart Martha Stewart this Thanksgiving and wow the friends and family. Better still, you can put the money you save into the feast! Next week, the Organizing Blog will share a few money-saving tips for meal itself.