Every fall I always get the sense that I should be taking a class or bettering myself in some way – forget January resolutions, I am all about the eager ‘going back to school’ vibe when the temperatures start to drop in Ontario and the leaves start to turn. I love being outside when it’s warm in the sun but you still need a good wool sweater. Well folks, fall is here. So here is how to prepare your home for winter.
It is definitely my second favourite season after summer – I am a total summer baby. I love how hot it is. Sunshine. Hands down but fall isn’t too far behind. Now if I could just apply that motivation to my very real NEED to study for my professional exams that I have to write… But that’s another story (I have been authorized to write my exams for over 2 years now). Ek. The fall is an amazing time to hike as well – especially in Northern Ontario. The leaves are so beautiful and you get to see totally new perspectives in the bush. Lookout’s appear to be completely different, well beaten down paths are no longer hidden by leaves on the trees… Animals are more active… It’s great. Over Thanksgiving we got up north. No hiking but was still great to get outside.
Even though I am spending most of my time at the apartment decorating, I also decided to be a grown up and do some things to get the house ready for the winter. Mother Nature intends to absolutely terrorize us again this winter. As if last winter wasn’t bad enough. It seemed like it snowed every single day last winter. At that time, I was in my 3rd floor (top of a house) apartment so I was snug as a bug in a rug and didn’t have to worry too much about getting ready for the winter. This year is a different story. We now live in an older house typical of the Roncesvalles area – likely built around the turn of the century. Although it has been kept in pretty good condition, there are/were a few loose ends bugging me. First off – I should share that we pay our portion of the heating bill. So I am ever so aware of how an older house to lose heat. Thankfully, the landlord did some work on the caulking in the living room recently – a very easy way to increase energy efficiency. So that’s off the list. The mudroom is a bit of a nightmare, an ill-insulated addition on the house. Although it is lovely to have the extra space, I noticed the draft in there immediately. Even a slight wind just sails in around the door. Not good. The rubber lining around the doors (interior and exterior – we have two sets), shot.
So with my prize winnings from the Home Depot Holiday Preview/Reveal in August, I bought a few things to help get the house ready for the horrible weather. Funny coincidence? The folks over at Home Depot were also wanting me to get ready for the impending weather and sent over a Fall Prep kit to me over the Thanksgiving weekend! In there I found an awesome leaf blower, yard waste bags (plus the awesome attachment thing that helps keep them open – God bless the individual who invented those!) and a window ‘stop drafts’ insulation kit. Plus the things I had already picked up on my own, including: a door sweep rubber replacement, foam tape for around the door and an aluminum and vinyl door replacement set (that’s the rubber stuff around the door that helps seal it), we were ready to battle Polarvortex 2.0. I was hoping to help with the energy efficiency at the back of the house with my initial shopping trip and having the extra gifts really helped seal the deal. Hoping the investment now will save us the $$$ on the hydro bill. Everything was easy peasy to install in the mudroom with the exception of the exterior doors replacement ‘door set’.Now this wasn’t the products problem but mine. So annoying. The exterior door is smaller than most doors and requires a hack saw to cut it down to size. I don’t own a hack saw so that little update will have to wait. In the meantime, I replaced the door sweep on the exterior door and we placed the rubber form on the inside of the door.
Ignore the tore paint. That is getting a nice make over very shortly… Look at the beautiful new piece of rubber though!
All in all, it took us about an hour to get the mudroom ready for winter. Now we just have to paint the exterior door before it starts to get too wet out there. We still haven’t decided what window would be the best window for the insulating film – it’s a hard decision because once we put it up, we won’t be able to open that window. We don’t want to put it up in the mudroom in case that room gets used for indoor cycling/training. We talked about the bedroom…. But then again, what if it’s warm and we want to fresh air? Looks like it may go into the living room. It’s large enough for that space and will help keep our bills down – oddly, the only heating vent in the living room is under the window. Duh. Who designed that? Speaking of fall. Dahlias. Love. The colours make me melt and feel like a gushy 8th grader.
Dahlias at the Toronto Flower Market
Outside the house I have also been doing a few things. First off, I trimmed back and pulled most of my plants – I would rather deal with those now while I can then to leave it and have to deal with them after they rot in the snow. So gross. Pull ’em up now folks. Throw them in your yard waste bag and hopefully your local municipality will make sure they get turned back into something useful. I left the ivy and bright green potato vines as they seem hardy… I put my wooden patio furniture away and also cleaned up all the lilies in the alleyway. Well I can only take partial claim for that as the landlord also came and did a fair bit of work. She also turned off the water to the hoses and covered the A/C unit. Man, houses are a lot of work. The beautiful maple out front is stunning. It is bright red. Flaming red. I love it and can’t bring myself to clear the leaves quite yet but they will get done too. At least using the leaf blower will make that way more fun! Such a satisfying feeling to put out all my yard waste bags, recycling and compost out on ‘garbage day’. I feel like a good citizen who just did a proper purge. Anyone else love that feeling? Maybe I am just a weirdo. Honestly, the snow is way closer than we would like to believe. So best to get this stuff done now before it’s too late. As an aside, when I was buying lumber on Monday night at Home Depot, I noticed that they have many ‘fall prep’ materials on promotion right now – and because of that, I picked up an extra door insulating trim (just in case)! Always looking to save cash over here folks. Or maybe I am just cheap? Whatever, let’s not go down that road.
Next on my list for fall prep? Get a proper boot tray for the mudroom and get the storage in place so that once the snow hits, we have somewhere to store all our mits, hats and scarves. Snow accessories easily take over a home. Not letting that happen around here. Add in the cycling gear and it looks like a bomb has gone off.
Disclaimer: Some of the products mentioned in this blog post were gifted to me by Home Depot while some products were purchased with a gift card that I won in a contest. That said, all words and opinions are my own. All images are also my own.