8 Ways to Winter-Proof Your Cottage, Mobile Home or Trailer

It’s that time again"the cold weather is here. For those who own recreational properties like cottages, mobile homes or trailers, that means it’s also a time to get them ready for the winter.

Good winter proofing can go a long way to ensuring your summer place is safe and secure from the elements since Mother Nature can dish out some wicked winter weather. You might want to keep these eight tips in mind as you batten down the hatches.

Shut off the water. Turning off the water supply is one of the first things you should do. Cottages, mobile homes and trailers have plumbing that are very susceptible to extreme temperatures. You wouldn’t want any trapped water to freeze in the pipes causing them to burst, so shut the water off at the main valve, the water heater and the pump, and make sure to drain the pipes.

Insulate the pipes. Some people continue to use their recreational properties into the colder months. The last thing you want is for the pipes to freeze, so be sure to add insulation sleeves to the pipes to keep them toasty warm. While you’re at it, check for gaps to make sure no cold air can get in.

Weather stripping and caulking. Check these things out and replace them where needed. Weather stripping and caulking helps to keep the cold out and the heat in, which can also be beneficial for the pipes. You might even consider adding some heat tape.

Clean the eavestroughs. When eaves get clogged with leaves, branches and other debris, they can’t do the job they were meant to do. Plus, clogged eaves entice pests that look upon them as perfect places to shelter over the winter.

Cover stove pipes and chimneys. If you’re completely closing up for the winter, covering the stove pipe and chimney openings is a wise idea. It will keep critters out and stop cold air from coming in.

See to the septic tank. This is a must-do on your winterizing list. Now is the time to drain the tank and add a bacteria solution which will do its work over the winter to get rid of any additional waste in the tank.

Protect windows. Many cottage owners board up the windows for the season, especially since many of these places don’t have storm windows. Covering the windows with plywood will also help to keep animals out.

Other things. Also be sure to switch off and unplug appliances, bring outdoor furniture inside, clean the air conditioner and remove any food items.

Published with permission from RISMedia.

4 Tricks for Better Sleep Habits

Getting at least seven hours of sleep a night is imperative, yet many of us get much less and never feel truly rested. There are a few ways to help ensure you fall and stay asleep each night, and theyre not hard to implement either.

Keep the bedroom dark and cool. Humans sleep best when the room temperature is around 60 to 67 degrees Fahrenheit, according to sleep.org, so this is the temperature you should aim to set your A/C to in the summer and your heat to in the winter. A dark room also ensures your melatonin kicks in right away so blackout curtains or an eye mask can ensure there is nothing disturbing your sleep rhythms.

Limit screen time before bed. As noted above, the key to quality sleep is darkness before bed"allowing melatonin to kick in and do its job. If you spend your time on the computer, watching TV or on your phone before bed, youre going to have a harder time falling asleep. The bright light tricks your brain into believing it is still daytime, suppressing the release of melatonin and keeping you up. Try to establish a bedtime routine at least an hour before bed that includes activities that avoid the screen, like taking a bath or reading a book.

Be aware of what you eat and drink. Eating a big meal too late will disrupt your sleep later in the night; so, if you feel hungry before bed, keep it to a light snack. Certain foods are also helpful for sleep, including nuts, milk, rice, cherries, bananas, oats and yogurt. Fatty, unhealthy foods have the opposite effect.

Drink-wise, caffeine will keep you up if you drink it later in the day. Alcohol might initially make you sleepy, but it will inevitably interrupt your quality REM sleep later in the night, so its best to avoid it closer to bedtime. Its always best to stay hydrated, but avoid drinking too much water right before bed so a full bladder doesnt wake you up in the middle of the night.

Exercise early in the day. Just like what we eat and drink can affect our sleep, so does exercise. While exercise is great for physically tiring you out and maintaining a healthy body and regular sleep schedule, intense exercise right before bed will re-energize you. The more energized you are before bed, the harder it will be to fall asleep.

Published with permission from RISMedia.

4 Tips to Keep in Mind When Downsizing

While downsizing is a wise move as you get older and need less space, it can also create a lot of additional stress. Suddenly you have to fit a lifetime’s worth of things into a much smaller space. Picking and choosing what to keep and what to get rid of is a challenge, but it will be worth it when you’re comfortable in your new home.

Figure out what you really use daily. Many of us fall into the trap of holding onto items we only use on special occasions. When it comes to downsizing, there just won’t be as much storage room for items that are only used once in a blue moon. It’s better to choose the items you love most and use them all the time instead of saving them.

Sell and donate as much as you can. You are probably downsizing to save money, and this presents an opportunity to sell off items that are still valuable, but you never use anymore. Not only will you be giving something a second life, you’ll be adding more money to the pocketbook. It’s also the best time to donate items that aren’t particularly worth much but can still be used by someone in need.

Take measurements. When it comes to keeping large items of furniture in your new smaller home, first you need to make sure they will actually fit. Take measurements of the door frame and all the rooms so you know just how much space you’re actually working with. It’s much easier to let go of something now than to try and move it in on moving day only to find out it’s not going to work in the new space.

Ask for help. While you might not want to inconvenience your friends and family with a big move, the reality is that most of them will be more than happy to help. And if they live in a different city, you can still make your big move easier by hiring help.

Published with permission from RISMedia.

3 Financial Tips to Keep You in the Black

Every month you swear youre going to do better, and yet when the last day rolls around youve barely got anything in your chequing account, and you dont know where it went. It can be exhausting to try and keep on top of your finances, and no amount of budgeting apps seem to help.

Want to take control of your spending and start to build your savings? Its more of an achievable goal than you think, but you have to be strategic about it.

Here are three tips that will keep you in the black this month:

Think about whats making you happy, and whats not. Take your bank and credit card statements from last month, and make a mark next to each item"did it meaningfully contribute to your happiness, or do you barely remember spending money on it? Chances are you made a few meaningful purchases, and then a bunch of take-out orders that you probably regret. Identify the things that were worth spending money on, and the things youd like to cut back on. Then create an achievable and measurable goal for yourself for the coming month"for example, youre going to cut back on eating out by 15 per cent.

Find someone to make you accountable. Given how many social activities involve spending money, it can be easy to justify your bad financial habits as part of maintaining your social life. But there are plenty of things you can do with friends that cost little to no money. Reach out to someone in your life that you know wants to cut back on their spending as well. The two of you can keep each other in check, and maybe start an at-home dinner series (you cook, they bring the wine.)

Think in terms of percentage, not dollars. It can seem like a good idea to decide on a dollar figure for your savings, but a percentage is actually best. That way, if you have more money coming in that month, youre still saving in line with your income. Saving 10 per cent of your income is a good starting point, whenever possible.

Published with permission from RISMedia.

6 Colours That Can Impact the Sale of Your Home

Colour psychology can play a role when it comes to selling your home. Canadian designers and therapists have proved that colour has a big impact on emotions and may actually change the way a buyer sees different spaces.

So, with that in mind, have a look at these six dcor colours that are popular in Canada and how they might play a part in marketing your home:

Purest whites. White is clean and crisp and you can never go wrong with it since you can always add an accent colour. It tricks the eye into making rooms seem larger. White actually comes in many hues. Its a colour associated with cleanliness and minimalism.

Shades of the earth. These are muted colours like green, brown, blue and some reds that are readily found in nature. They are calming and relaxing and complement elements like wood, stone, metal and glass. How about walls the colour of cappuccino and a white trim in the living room?…So inviting.

Nonchalant neutrals. These are creams, tans, taupes and different hues of beige. They pretty much go with any accent colour and wont overwhelm the senses. They are subtle and marry well with any dcor.

Shades of gray. This unobtrusive colour has really gained in popularity over the years. It can give a space an air of sophistication. A darker shade of gray paired with bright white trim can be really chic. Gray sizzles with metallics is the perfect colour to incorporate into a trendy abode like an urban loft.

The blues. Rooms for quiet time, relaxation and contemplation beckon to be swathed in blue. If the room has a lot of natural light, blue could evoke happy memories of the seaside. Its cool and calming. Its also a brilliant choice for a childs room or bathroom.

Greige. Yes, greige. Theres a new colour in town and its the love child of gray and beige. Greige provides variations of both colours and comes in many delicious hues. Most of them are likely to easily coordinate with a buyers furniture. The shades are sedate and will appeal to most purchasers.

Published with permission from RISMedia.

The 42nd Annual Vancouver International Wine Festival

Do you have plans from February 22 to March 1? If not, here's a treat if you're a wine lover!

With all the various events happening this love month, it’s a shame if you can’t attend one! You know how much I love wine! So, why not go out and join in on one of Canada’s oldest events of its kind in the world.

2020 marks the 42nd year of the Annual Vancouver International Wine Festival. Can you believe it? The wine selection is fantastic and the participants have been carefully chosen. With over 775+ wines available for sampling, you won’t go out empty-handed! Get to understand different cultures by the flavour of their wine. Move from one country/region simply by moving from one tasting room to another.

Oh and if you don't have a date for Valentine’s Day, this may be a chance to meet someone special over a glass of wine! Don’t wait any longer! Visit www.VanWineFest.ca and grab a ticket.

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