Wintertime is the ideal time for getting your homestead in shape. The insects have gone away, and plants have died, making landscaping chores a breeze. Frigid temperatures drive you indoors, where you naturally want to create a more pleasing environment.
What can you do to fix up your home if you're on a tight budget? Quite a lot, as it turns out. From increasing your energy efficiency to upgrading your home's look, you can make yourself say, "there's no place like home" at the end of each day.
1. Caulk and Weather Stripping
Do you feel a chill when you sit near a window? If so, it's time to do some work on improving your energy efficiency. You do have to spend a small amount to purchase supplies, but you'll reap the rewards in terms of lower utility bills. Begin by doing an audit. Walk the perimeter of your home, stopping at each door and window. If you feel a chill, you need to invest in weather stripping and caulk.
Caulk plasters over gaps in immovable objects like stationary windows, while weatherstripping protects moving parts. Both keep cold air from entering through the cracks. Put a cover over your kitchen exhaust vent to prevent leaks, and add a strip of caulk anywhere plumbing or ducts come through your walls.
2. Clean Your Windows and Let the Sunshine in
If your windows are filthy, your home looks dingier inside and out. Now that it's easier to get behind shrubbery, etc., use this time to give all your windows a thorough cleaning. You don't have to invest in expensive cleaning products. Distilled white vinegar is cheap and readily available, and it does the job as effectively as commercial sprays.
While you're scrubbing your windows, consider updating your coverings. Heavy curtains come in handy in urban areas, but they can give your home a gloomy appearance. Choose lighter, gauzy curtains for living areas, or apply privacy film that lets you see out without allowing passers-by to view your home's interior.
3. Clear Your Gardens and Compost
Do you want a glorious spring garden? Now is the time to start preparing. Trimming your bushes back to heights of no more than 2-3 feet deters thieves who seek cover to commit crimes. You can also rake out beds if the snow isn't too deep.
Improve your eco-friendliness and save money by constructing an inexpensive compost bin, too. By collecting food scraps now, you can avoid buying fertilizer in the spring.
4. Upgrade Your Lighting
If you're still using incandescent light bulbs, you're throwing money away on electricity. Instead, invest in compact fluorescent or LED bulbs, which save considerable energy over older models. Does the harsh, overhead light in your kitchen bother you? You can find inexpensive LED stick-on lights to place under cabinets. These gently illuminate cookbooks, etc., while saving electricity.
5. Insulate Your Attic and Garage
Many people think of their attics when they plan to insulate their homes. Heat does rise, and placing a new layer here can save you considerable money.
However, many people overlook their garage. If your space is uninsulated, you make your home's HVAC system work harder every time you walk out to your car. Plus, cold temperatures can damage your vehicle, leading to costly repairs. Take the time to insulate your garage, as well.
Finally, painting costs relatively little, and you can complete the majority of projects in a single weekend. If you don't want to paint an entire room, designing an accent wall can give your living area or bedroom an inexpensive upgrade. If you're planning outdoor paint jobs, check the temperature. While overly hot conditions make paint run, it can get lumpy when it's too cold outside. Select a mild day for such endeavors.
Spruce Up Your Homestead Without Spending a Ton
You don't have to drop a bankroll to improve the look and comfort of your home. Take these tips to save money and increase your enjoyment of your living space today!