Romancing the home includes fresh air, fresh flowers and fresh supplies - and taking timeless sickness prevention tips to heart.
Stay toasty warm at home while saving energy, enjoy the light of lengthening days streaming through your freshly cleaned windows and take a break to plan next season's garden over a cup of tea. From preventive (dealing with flu-season germs) to the purely fun (give your house a valentine), this checklist is filled with helpful tips to keep your home running smoothly all month long.
Keep warm at home
You can stay toasty and conserve energy with a few simple actions:
- Close doors to unused rooms
- Move furniture away from heating vents
- Be sure the chimney flue is closed when it's not in use
- Use door snakes and door sweeps to stop drafts
Keep your thermostat set to a reasonable level and set out plenty of warm quilts and throws to snuggle under.
Clean the air
Refresh your home with green plants or even grass planted in wooden or zinc trays. Also be sure to crack a window or two each morning, if only for a few minutes (even when it's cold). Getting fresh air into your home is especially important in winter, when closed environments tend to increase allergens and illness.
Pay special attention to places where germs tend to congregate. Desks, phones, doorknobs, handles and remote controls top the list. And if anyone in your household is sick, be especially vigilant in trying to prevent it from spreading to everyone in the house.
Touch up walls and make windows shine
With lengthening days bringing a bit more light into our homes, now is a great time to polish up the windows and walls. Fill small holes in walls and touch up the areas with paint, use your vacuum attachment to clear dust from high corners, and wipe down baseboards and windows.
Protect bathrooms from moisture, mildew and mold
It can be hard to give bathrooms enough ventilation at this time of year, and unfortunately that can lead to mildew or even harmful molds. Now is a good time to give the bathroom a thorough cleaning, paying special attention to grout, the ceiling and any other areas showing signs of excess moisture or mildew.
Clear out the pantry and upgrade your emergency kit
Midway through winter is a great time to give your pantry a thorough sorting. Toss the forgotten tins of Christmas cookies, consolidate bulk items into airtight containers and wipe down shelves. While you are in there, be sure you have enough emergency supplies on hand - visit the American Red Cross website for a complete list of recommended supplies.
Start a project file
Take advantage of winter downtime to daydream about home and garden plans. Keeping your ideas organized will help you stay on track to complete your projects, so start by storing everything in one place. A paper file or bulletin board is great for tear sheets, but a basket or box is better for storing bulky samples. You can even create your to-do list in an ideabook. Choose what will work best for you.
Treat your house to fresh flowers
Give your house a special valentine by bringing home cut flowers every week this month. In February most markets have great deals on cut blooms, so scoop up an armful of whatever is on sale. Experiment with new ways of arranging your flowers once your bring them home - cut them short, divide them up into bud vases of different heights, plunk them in pitchers or teapots... get creative!