February 6th, 2013 1:36 PM by Kathy McDevitt
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 the 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:
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 illnesses.
Disinfect. 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.