Ready your home for winter

Although the weather has been cold for awhile now, the first official day of winter is Friday, December 22nd. This is the last chance to prepare your home to handle this snowy season. Here are eight must-have tips to transform your home indoors and out for a calm and cozy winter.

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Outdoor:

Prevent ice dams from forming. When ice piles on your roof, gutters or tree branches, it can mean a disaster for you and your family. Oftentimes it will become too heavy and cause branches to snap and siding to crack. Invest in a high-quality roof rake and conduct maintenance as needed to stay ahead of the game.

Keep exterior paths clear. The last thing you want this holiday season is a car accident or trip to the hospital caused by slippery black ice. Use a shovel or snow blower regularly to remove ice from walkways and driveways, install caution flags in precarious areas and lay down pet- and plant-safe, non-slip ice melt for particularly slippery areas.

Spot check and repair. Before the frost settles in, protect your home from the blistering cold weather outdoors. Check doors and windows and seal cracks with weatherstripping to keep the cold air out. Make sure plumbing pipes are well insulated to prevent freezing, bursting and costly plumbing repairs.

Indoor:

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Carve out cozy spots. Since you’ll be spending most of your time indoors this season, warm it up with the right hideaways for you and your family. Dedicate a cozy corner or a spot under the stairs for reading or napping. In the family room, set up a special table for holiday crafts and games with loved ones. Customize it to your own needs by hanging string lights above or putting on your favorite tunes and snuggle away.

Layer away. Beyond your personal retreat spots, be sure to warm up all the other rooms in the house with piles of blankets and pillows. You can experiment with different textures and colors, such as Ultra Violet purple which has been crowned Pantone’s 2018 color of the year or sheepskin which always a classic winter favorite. Place them in the bedroom, bathroom and lounge areas and add long fabric drapes for extra flair.

Light it up. With longer nights upon us, ensure you have the right lighting to warm and brighten your interiors. Layer multiple light sources, such as ceiling lights and table lamps, and shop for seasonal scents or flameless LED candles. If you have a fireplace, now’s the time to get it going, load up on firewood and conduct a certified chimney sweep. Additionally, run necessary checks on your home’s heating system, smoke and carbon monoxide detectors.

Protect your entryway. Transition your mudroom to handle wet snow boots and thick winter jackets this season. Lay down a waterproof shoe rack to prevent your floor from water damage, add extra coat hangers as needed and keep towels nearby to clean up spills. If you have upcoming holiday hosting duties, repurpose a nook or empty an extra closet to hold your guests’ belongings.

Stock essentials. In preparation for snowbound days, make sure your home is well-stocked on basic necessities. Simple and often overlooked things such as batteries, lightbulbs and toilet paper are lifesavers during power outages. Check your pantry too and replenish your supply of nonperishable goods.