If you are like most of my northern friends you are trying to get as long as possible into the season before you crank up the heat. fall and winter heating bills are never on the top of our list of things we love. This recent cold front is giving us a taste of cold weather and giving us an opportunity to see what parts of the house need to be winterized this year. With the kids, it is important to me to keep the house safe and warm. The good news is with a little work it is pretty simple to keep the house warm without turning on the heat.
Close up the house.
One of the most important things to keep your house warm all winter and help you put off turning the heater on is to close up the house really well. For us that means weather-stripping doors and the vents on the glass block windows. Those are one of my favorite features of the house. I love that we can leave the plastic off of them and open them when the weather does get nice to let air flow from one end of the house to the next but a few needed a bit of weather stripping to truly keep the cold out. The doors to the outside got a refresh on the weather stripping as well.
After I sealed gaps with weather stripping all of the regular windows got plastic sheeting put up. I found some really big plastic on Amazon to help cover my really LARGE windows that traditional kids just won’t work on. We have a few windows upstairs that have not been replaced yet. I made a point to add the storm windows found in the attic and a layer of bubble wrap to them once I discovered they were single pane glass.
Pull out the rugs.
Most of the house is a nice warm plush carpet. I never liked carpet till we got our Shark vacuum and now it is my best friend as we prepare for winter. We need fewer rugs with only the kitchen, dining, and bathrooms being hard floors. Rugs help keep the ground from feeling cold for members of our family that cannot handle socks or slippers ahmmm…. me and my son. They add a layer of insulation to the ground helping keep your family warm as well.
This time of year is when I go in the attic and drag out the footie PJs, slippers, and zip up jacket the kids love to lounge around in. As much as I hate warm clothing it is kind of nice to pull out the cozy stuff for chilly fall nights.
Warm your body not the house
When chill sets in a cup of coffee or hot cocoa can warm you from the inside out. This time of year I love to have soups and chili going in the crockpot to help warm anyone up with a hot meal all afternoon. At night I take homemade heating packs with rice and pop in the microwave. We place them at the foot of the beds under the covers to help keep us warm all night long.
Warm the house in practical ways.
While we do pull out a small space heater for the bathroom in the mornings because well cold bathrooms are no fun at all I prefer to warm the house in more practical ways in the morning. The house holds onto heat well but it, in turn, holds onto the cold. Mornings are the perfect time to make bread or a treat for later in the day. Once you are done baking leave the oven open after turning off so the heat can escape into the house.
Section the house off.
We have a huge arch between the front room with the door and large bay windows and the family room where everyone hangs out during the day. As pretty as the front room is it can get pretty cold seeing no one is in it. By hanging thermal blackout curtains on a wire curtain rod over the archway between the rooms we were able to keep the rest of the house significantly warmer.
Gather with family and friends
Something about gathering around the fire out back in the cool weather months makes a chilly weekend all that much better. Gather around the fire with friends and family to enjoy what is left of nights out before the snow comes. Take children in while they are toasty warm and sleepy for bed while another responsible adult takes over shutting the fire down for the night.
When friends come around in the cooler months I love to have hot cocoa and coffee ready for some time to warm up and relax together. Something about a hot drink and enjoying quality company that makes everything feel all that more warm and cozy.