By mid-February, many of us are "thinking Spring" even if snow continues to fall. Why not turn this longing for new beginnings into action nowand turn Spring into a joyfully carefree season? This is time management on steroids - using winter doldrums to your best advantage and freeing up time to enjoy Spring when the great weather arrives.
# 1. Damage Prevention & Protection Strategies
Spring floods: "Floods are the most common natural disaster in the United States and all 50 states have experienced floods or flash floods in the past five years," according to Pennsylvania Insurance Commissioner Teresa D. Miller, who chairs the NAIC Property and Casualty Insurance Committee of the National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC). "State insurance regulators are keenly aware of the devastating effects floods have on constituents in our states and believe it is critical that flood insurance is available and affordable to protect homes, businesses, and personal property, providing peace of mind."
During a January Congressional hearing on Housing and Insurance, Miller testified to confirm NAIC support for "the development of a state regulated private flood insurance market." The new Flood Insurance Market Parity and Modernization Act is intended to "ensure that state insurance regulators have the flexibility to approve private flood insurance coverage that is responsive to the needs of their states and constituents."
Water-damage prevention also includes storing expensive or treasured items, like family photos, on upper floors. Keep as much up off the floor as possible in the basement, even in finished areas. When renovating, use damp-proof and waterproof materials and techniques. Have a sump pump or, to prevent sewer backup during storms, a backwater valve professionally installed. Check with the state insurance department or state department of emergency management to learn about mitigation plans that will lessen damage to your property during natural disasters. Real estate professionals usually track programs like these.
#2. Plan Ahead To Finish Early
Book renovation and modernization projects with contractors before the Spring Rush. If you're planning a new roof, deck, or central air system, contact suppliers now to learn details while they have time to talk to you. Book now, so you'll be first in line when the weather breaks. Check the age of water heaters and other equipment and appliances to see what's ready for replacement. Shop end-of-winter and spring's-coming sales for great prices.
#3. Time Management: From "Spring Cleaning" to "Winter Cleaning"
If you're spending more time in than out, step away from the screen and use this time to move your goals forward. De-clutter room by room, drawer by drawer, while you're home bound. This way the house will be clean and you'll be house free when you'd rather be gardening. While you declutter, create a home inventory, which will be useful for insurance. Also, gather important papers, the home inventory, emergency information, and copies of vital prescriptions in a waterproof box. Leave originals off-site in a safety deposit box and send an electronic copy somewhere safe just in case.
All this activity will also help you prepare your home for sale as soon as the "Spring Market" heats up. If you'll be buying this Spring, moving just got easier. You will also have a clearer picture of exactly how much space you really need.
#4. Get Ahead of Deadlines
Make 2016 the year you start tax preparation early and finish ahead of the deadline and without stress. While decluttering, collect receipts and other documents necessary for filing. This is a great house-bound project. You'll be ready to spend your refund money when the nice weather appears.
#5. Plant Bulbs for Early Show
With all that satisfying work behind you, it's time for fun. If planting spring flower bulbs outside is out of the question, trick tulips, daffodils, or crocus into blooming now and have Spring early.