Winter Home Projects to Tackle Now
February 1, 2022
You don’t need a groundhog to predict winter’s end. Whether or not the chubby rodent sees his shadow, winter will end on March 20, leaving you roughly six more weeks to tackle winter home projects. Need inspiration? Here’s a quick winter to-do list that will make your home safer and more organized.
Inspect and Repair
While the temps are freezing outside, stay cozy inside by checking frequently used areas for needed repairs and replacements. House Logic suggests making a punch list ahead of time and using the list to shop for hardware and parts.
Start in the bathroom by inspecting hardware that gets loose over time: towel bars, tissue holders, toilet seats and bolts. Most of these can be made like new with a simple fix such as a sturdier fastener or tightening a bolt or screw. Be sure to also check bathtubs and showers for loose faucets and paint repairs.
In the kitchen, check for loose drawer and cabinet pulls, cabinet hinges, towel holders and leaky pipes. Tightening screws may do the trick. If not, try a larger screw or one of these kitchen hardware repair methods. While checking the under-sink cabinet, inspect drains, water supply lines and shut-off valves. Supply lines and drains should be dry with no visible cracks and shut-off valves should be free of rust and turn easily. A little household lubricant, like WD-40, should loosen hard-to-turn valves. Don’t forget to check the same on your washing machine, dishwasher and ice maker. A leak from any of these water sources can cause a lot of misery.
Inspect and Clean
No need to wait for spring to clean a few areas that will pay off in better efficiency and safety. First, take a look at your stove’s exhaust filter. A quick scrub will have it working better and decrease the chances of flames spreading if a stovetop fire breaks out.
A leading cause of household fires is the dryer vent. Use a vacuum to clean the vent tubing by disconnecting the tubing from where it connects to the dryer. A short venture outside is necessary to clean the surface of the vent’s exterior opening but if disconnecting a vent hose is intimidating, a professional vent cleaning is an affordable solution. Either way, you’ll be pleased to find that your clothes will also dry faster with a clean dryer vent.
Inspect and Replace
Life gets busy in the fall, so if you missed the end-of-daylight-saving-time battery check back in November, you have a second chance. The U.S. Fire Administration (USFA) recommends testing smoke and carbon monoxide detectors every month by pressing the “test” button and replacing batteries at least once a year. Remember, a dead alarm battery is like having no alarm at all.
While replacing batteries, check the manufacture date on the back of the detector. USFA says smoke and carbon monoxide detectors should be replaced 10 years after their date of manufacture. It’s also a good idea to wipe off the detectors to prevent any dust or dirt from inhibiting performance.
Ground-fault circuit interrupter outlets (GFCIs), electrical outlets, and cords are easy checks to manage and are essential to ensuring the safety of your home. GFCIs should be tested monthly like this. Be sure to also inspect regular outlets and electrical cords on lamps and appliances and replace any that appear broken, frayed or worn.
Inspect and Organize
A sure way to chase away the winter blues is reorganizing and decluttering the kitchen pantry, closets and cabinets. Save the cold garage or storage room for warmer days.
Pantry organization starts with measuring shelves and scoping out appropriately sized bins, baskets, canisters and jars for easy storage. With containers that fit your space and style, the fun begins by removing everything – yes, every single thing – from the pantry, checking for expiration dates and sorting items into categories. You’ll find great pantry organization tips here and here.
Winter can also be the perfect time to identify and donate unused winter and spring clothing. Local thrift shops and ministries will appreciate your generosity and warm clothing will still be welcome to those in need for weeks to come. Don’t forget to get a receipt for your donations; those add up at tax time. To keep your closet organized you can follow the “one thing in, one thing out” rule or consider these closet tips.
Cabinets easily become hiding places as dishes, pots and pans are moved about every day. Luckily, there are a wide array of handy slide outs and organizers to keep your favorites front and center, and others in easy reach. HGTV offers some great ideas here.
Enjoy the Rewards
Who doesn’t love the look and feel of a clean, organized home? Enjoy the satisfaction of knowing your home not only looks good but is safe when warmer spring weather arrives!