Column: What to do for February

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Inside: Clean one messy closet each weekend. If necessary, purchase new organizing bins. Donate clean, gently used clothing.

Throw open your curtains and let the sun in. It is especially import for houseplants. For uniform growth, rotate pots a quarter turn each week. If the air is dry, try setting pots on saucers filled with pebbles (or marbles) and water.

Buy seed packets now for best selection. Start a wish list file from all the garden catalogs you’ve been receiving.

Arrange linen closets. Group often-used items — bedding, towels and table linens — by room and size. Leave some space between stacks so air circulates. Place laundered items at the bottom of stacks so everything gets equal use over time.

Clean and organize bookshelves. Dust shelves and organize books by subject, so you can quickly find what you are seeking.

Set time aside to do small mending repairs, such as replacing buttons, fixing hems or patching holes.

Outside: Continue cleaning garden tools if you forgot last fall. On a bright, sunny day clean a few windows and do some winter watering. Water trees and shrubs that were planted within the last two years.

Do a little clean up. Pile up all the limbs and twigs and other debris that has blown down so far.

Whittle down that energy bill

By now you may have gotten over the shock of January’s energy bills. Here are a few ideas that may help with future energy needs and future bills.

• Sealing air leaks around the house may shrink your energy bill by 15-20 percent. On a windy day, hold a lighted incense stick up to a common leak area, such as window and door frame, air ducts and water and furnace flues. If the smoke blows horizontally, you may have a leak that needs weather stripping or caulking. You can find weather sealing foam and tapes to stop drafts at hardware and home-supply stores.

• Install a programmable thermostat. If your thermostat is typically set at 72 degrees, program it to drop to 65 degrees while you are at work, and you will save about 10 percent on your bill.

Susan Woody has been a home and garden writer for more than 20 years and is a master gardener.

By |February 3rd, 2017|

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