Springtime is best known as the time we sweep out the winter dust to prepare for the incoming summer breeze. I find fall to be a great time to begin a few renovations to prepare for the winter -- the air is crisp and clean, and the temperatures are still manageable. Here are a few green renovations to get your home ready for the upcoming winter holidays, as well as next year:
1 - You Can Never Have Enough Candles
The quickest and easiest renovation you can make to your home entering the colder months is installing candleholders. These can be wall-mounted in hallways, on tables and desks in rooms, or on shelves and counters in the bathroom and kitchen. Even your porch and patio should be equipped with a few candles.
In colder states, access to candles becomes imperative in the event of a winter storm, blackout, or other such events, providing light, heat, and a cooking source in the event of an emergency. People living in areas with warmer winters (California, Arizona, Florida, etc), candles can still be used to conserve electricity or infuse a scent into specific rooms of the house, regardless of what power plan you're on.
2 - Build a Shed or Workshop
Fall is a great time to throw on a jean shirt or flannel and build something. Lumber and nails aren't as expensive as you'd think, and there are a lot of great instructional videos online. Within a couple of weekends, you can get a basic structure up that can be turned into a storage shed or workshop in order to free up some much needed space as the cold sets in and we need our personal spaces to be soothing.
3 - Switch to Artificial Turf
Summer is traditionally known for landscaping weather, but this is only because live plants need to be firmly rooted before the harsh winter cold arrives. If you've been considering switching to artificial turf, however, fall can be a slow season in that industry, so it's a great time to find a deal on synthetic grass.
Even though synthetic grass is known to be environmentally friendly, I used to be against the stuff back in the days when it felt like plastic carpet, but the synthetic grass we have out back looks and feels real, which helps perk up my mood during the grayer months of the year.
4 - Rearrange the Furniture
Nothing makes a house feel brand new again like a quick cleaning and furniture rearrangement. If you've been meaning to get unnecessary items stored away to open up space in your house, now is the time to do it. Family and friends may soon be coming to visit, and you're going to need to think about space in all common areas (including the kitchen, dining room, and bathrooms). Rearranging the furniture now gives you time to live in it a little before adding more people to the mix, and getting your house in order may be exactly what you need to combat holiday stress.
5 - Grow an Indoor Garden
Just because the sun is going down earlier doesn't mean you can't still grow a garden. Technological advances have created hydroponic and aeroponic indoor garden setups that make growing any type of plant possible year-round. Installing such fixtures in walls will allow easy flower growth, whereas you can fill counters and tables with living tomatoes, spices, and assorted foods. If you hurry, you can grow a living Christmas centerpiece in time.
Brian Penny is a former business analyst at Bank of America turned whistleblower, consultant, and freelance writer.