Winter is approaching and I hate it, everything about the winter-other than the valid excuse to lay under a pile of blankets and read-stinks. Short days, rain, gray skies, germs, the holidays-all just a pile of stress and blah. So, instead of focusing on that, I am focusing on ways to be better prepared for winter for under $20, because with a broken retainer, 2 bad tires, 2 bad brake pads, 2 cavities and 2 birthdays distributed among the family to pay for in the next 3 weeks-I don't have a lot of flash cash.
I am starting with the house, because I am housecentric all season, I only go out if it's over 50 and sunny.
The best way to spend $20 and have a MUCH more cozy house is to buy 3 $5 tubes of 100% silicone caulk and attack your windows and doors from the outside. Latex is cheaper and it will also fail when it's wet. Get right next to the frame all the way around, fill in any soft spots and make a note of those to be repaired in the spring. Fill in carpenter bee holes, tiny gaps-those tiny gaps let in COLD air and let your heat leak out. If you have ladybugs (or other bugs/mice) IN your house, you have a gap that needs attention. Spend the last $5 on that gap foam that expands and fill in every single one of those vent holes in the foundation, you know the ones if you have an older house. The foundation is cement blocks and every so often one is flipped to expose the holes. Fill those in. Then open your kitchen sink cabinet and see if you can see daylight anywhere around the pipes. Fill that gap up. That's a mousey gateway and cold air. UGH. We are avoiding that. If you have any sealant of either type left, go in your bathrooms and lift up that little metal ring around the water line where it goes into the floor and fill that up, too. Then put the ring back in place.
This will save you more than you spent, silicone lasts and last-but you can't paint over it. So choose clear or white and when you use it, use it neatly. Any smears will show up when you repaint.
One year, I am sure I have told this one before, but when I was 15 I moved in with my father. We were completely unprepared for life as bachelors and winged practically everything via best-guess scenario. I never had a house key, so I came and went through the kitchen window. When my bedroom window frame rotted, Daddy had it replaced with sheet glass (MUCH cheaper!) and hung a hammer next to it in case of fire.
With no adult females around to hassle us, we managed with a single working stove eye and a microwave, I did laundry twice a month and mowed twice a month-not on the same weekend because that would be insane amounts of work. ha!
The first winter in the house, a possum chewed open the area around the pipes and climbed in to live under the sink. Daddy simply tied the knobs together with a rope and when the temps would drop, he angled a space heater at the doors so it would not freeze. I occasionally cracked the doors and sprayed inside the crack with Lysol, eliciting a horrible hissing that to this day I can still hear when I spray the toilet, imagining the horrific death of so many germs. It sounds like a gaspy 'heeeeeeeeeeeeee'. You can sometimes make your cat make the same noise if you annoy it.