Monthly Archives: February 2016

6 Remedies that Beat Your Cabin Fever

window covered in snow creating cabin feverIs our endless winter weather starting to get you down? Is the endless fields of white and snow falls dampening your mood?  If so, you’re not alone—and you’re not a hopeless case. There are lots of ways to beat a case of the winter blues—without resorting to mindless snacking and tub after tub of ice cream.

Finish a get-away space…in your basement.

family with dog playing on carpetSometimes the best cure for cabin fever is to get away from the same space you spend the majority of your indoor time in (i.e. living room, bedroom, etc.) In many cases, you don’t have to look far for that new hang-out; an unfinished basement is an ideal area to turn into a man cave, game room, family room—whatever space you need or want. To prepare for your new space, make sure you’ve fixed any flooding, water, or humidity issues in your basement; you don’t want to build a beautiful space only to have it damaged by water. Some water is going to remain in your basement, as basement slabs are notoriously porous. Keep this in mind as you choose flooring for your new basement hangout. Not all flooring works in these conditions; we’ve compiled a list of excellent flooring options for basements in our recent blog post. Once you’ve narrowed down your options, visit a local flooring store to see your flooring options in person so you can get your get-away started—and finished.

Start your garden.

young plant on pot with trowel on soil as a cabin fever remedyBring a little green into your life. Get a head start on your spring gardens by starting your seedlings indoors. One clever idea we found was to use old egg cartons and eggs for your new garden. A few months before you’re ready to plant, start stashing your empty egg cartons and ask friends and family to do the same. Save the egg shells from your morning breakfasts and plant your seeds in a little bit of dirt inside the egg. In the spring, you’ll have a seedling that can be planted right into the ground—egg shell and all.

Organize.

Get a jump on your spring cleaning now by purging and organizing your closets, basements, and other storage areas. As you pull items off the shelves, or go through boxes, make piles of items that you want to store together, or of items that you want and don’t want. Donate anything you don’t need any time soon, and put everything back in labeled containers or in an easy-to-find system. A few hours of your time now means more time outside when the weather gets nice.

Plan a get-away.

If you feel like the walls are closing in, start planning an out: a mini-vacation or a few days away. Taking the time to plan a vacation gives you a goal to look forward to, and a project to plan when you’re feeling low. Can’t afford a cruise? Plan a series of short day trips or a day at a local pool or water park.

Tackle that home project you’ve always been meaning to start.

remodeled kitchen that adds valueDo you have an outdated bathroom that you can’t stand? A kitchen with cabinets that don’t close any more? Are you sick of that stained off-white carpet? Start planning your next project before you get the urge to go outside and enjoy the beautiful spring days. If you want to keep your budget low, visit the Y’s Way Flooring in Lake Mills for DIY flooring discounted for large square footage jobs.

Go sledding or skiing, or build a snowman, or…

Head outside and take a walk or find a fun winter activity to do. Time outdoors not only gets your body moving, but can also do wonders to help you overcome your bout of cabin fever.

6 Tile Floor Cleaning Tips That Keep Your Tile Looking Great

tile flooringCeramic, porcelain, marble, and slate tiles are a popular choice for homeowners. And why shouldn’t they be? Tile floors are incredibly durable, water proof, and look great. These floors are also low maintenance—notice “low” not no-maintenance—especially if you want to keep them looking their best. The good news is that maintaining your ceramic, porcelain, marble, or slate tiles is pretty simple, if you follow these easy tile floor cleaning tips.

Don’t forget to seal your grout (if needed)

Some grout products need to be sealed on a regular basis. Know the schedule for sealing your grout—if your grout needs it—and follow the schedule, or hire a professional to seal it. Properly sealed grout is a lot easier to clean and keep clean.

Use rugs to your advantage

Keep rugs by all exterior doors for guests and family to clean off rocks, stones, and dirt off before they get trekked into the house. If you have pets, clean off all paws when they come in. Vacuum all your rugs often to make sure the dirt stays off your tile floors.

Sweep or vacuum regularly

The everyday grime that accumulates on tile floors also can scratch and damage your tile. Use a dust mop or broom to keep your tile clean in between deep cleanings.

Clean up spills ASAP

Juice spills and other puddles can stain grout, and standing puddles of water can also do damage. Wipe up spills as soon as you can.

Mop your floors

A good mopping extends the life of your floors and keeps them looking great. As soon as you are done, dry your floor to avoid sitting water on your tile.

Know what works on your tile floor, and what doesn’t

Be cautious when using cleaners on your floor for spot-cleaning or mopping. If you are trying a new cleaner, test clean an area that is not visible, such as behind an appliance. Check with Y’s Way Flooring or your flooring manufacturer to determine what works best, especially if the flooring is new and under warranty. If you’re looking for a tile cleaner you can make with household products, mix together vinegar and warm water (but remember to test it before applying to the whole floor!).

5 Tips to Keep Your Winter Indoor Allergies at Bay

Woman With Allergy sneezing From Flowers and winter indoor allergiesDid you feel a sense of relief after the first winter freeze? Were you sure the sneezing, runny nose, and itchy eyes were finally going to go away? If those symptoms haven’t let up, you may be one of the millions of Americans suffering from winter indoor allergies. The bad news is that those symptoms are not going to get any better during the winter months when Midwesterners are trapped inside because of cold weather and snow storms. The good news is that there are steps you can take that can alleviate the nasty symptoms of your winter indoor allergy.

Choose your vacuum carefully.

We’ve talked in a past blog post about choosing the vacuum for your carpet that won’t void the warranty. If you’re an allergy sufferer, add another deciding factor into your vacuum purchase: an allergy sensitive vacuum. For best allergy results, choose a vacuum with a HEPA filter or double bag to ensure that you can vacuum the allergens away—without having an allergy attack.

Clean your ducts.

Indoor allergy symptoms are often caused and exacerbated by the most common indoor allergens: dust mites, pet dander, mold. All of those allergens re-circulate though our air ducts every time you turn on your heat or air conditioner. The remedy? Contact a professional duct cleaning company to rid your ducts, and your indoor air, of all those annoyingly common indoor allergens.

Get a furnace filter with a high MERV.

Filters with a high Minimum Efficiency Reporting Values (MERV) do not allow finer particles to pass, effectively removing allergens from the air. There is a “buyer beware” clause that goes with purchasing the right furnace filter though. Filters with high MERVs (the max is 16) can put too much pressure on your furnace fan and possibly damage your furnace. If you are considering a filter with a high MERV, make sure to consult a HVAC technician to make adjustments that can accommodate a high MERV filter.

Schedule an annual or biannual carpet cleaning.

carpet clean from carpet cleaningA professional carpet cleaning goes above and beyond a regular vacuum or a rental carpet cleaner at your local hardware store. A professional carpet cleaning removes allergens and dirt from your carpets. To make sure you’re regularly removing the allergens, set a regular carpet cleaning schedule with a good company—an annual or biannual—that not only removes the allergens but keeps them out all year long.

Control your home’s humidity.

To be clear: you don’t have to keep your indoor air humidity in static electricity mode, but you should know the level of moisture in your air and control it with a dehumidifier or humidifier (depending on the humidity level). Rooms with humidity above 50 percent can breed mold, mildew and dust mites, stirring up allergy symptoms and respiratory problems—exactly what you don’t need when you’re trapped inside during the winter months.