Even though February is the month with the fewest number of days, it does include one very romantic one: Valentine's Day! So show your house some love this month. Change your furnace filters, restore your tired kitchen cabinets, and add some architectural detail—and passion—to a bland room in need of character.
Change Those Filters!
Now that the heating season is in full swing—even in parts of the country not accustomed to (or prepared for) near-freezing temperatures—be sure to clean or change your furnace filters regularly. Why? Most of the air in your house circulates through your HVAC system, so furnace filters are your first line of defense against dust and airborne allergens.
Clean or Replace Grout
Regardless of how well you try to keep it clean, grout is one of those things destined to stain, crack, chip, and attract mildew. Inspect grout and caulk around tubs. If there are areas where grout is missing, remove it and replace it. If the grout is fine but covered with soap scum, simply sprinkle baking soda on a damp sponge, wipe down the grout and tile, and rinse with water.
popularmechanics.com / Philip Friedman
Stow Your Boots
Along with the cold weather come wet clothes and soggy winter gear. If you are not lucky enough to have a mudroom, look for practical solutions for storing boots, clothes, scarves, and coats. You'll be surprised how easy it is to corral everything with some DIY boot storage and a coat rack.
Seal Up Drafts
Just as we lose body heat through our heads, our houses lose warmth through pesky drafts that sneak in through doors and windows. While it lacks the romance of a toasty fire in the hearth, stopping up those drafts can go a long way in preserving the heat generated by your radiator or heater.
Related: Winterize Your Home on a Budget
Do Some Early Garden Planning
While it is too early to think about planting a garden, it's not too early to start planning for one. This is the perfect month to order seed catalogs and visit online sites to start choosing the flowers and vegetables that will fill your summer beds and gardens. Starting seeds indoors in February will give them just enough time to sprout and mature for transplanting come the thaw.
Related: Bob Vila Radio—Starting Seeds
Give Kitchen Cabinets Some TLC
Your kitchen gets a lot of use, so it doesn’t take long before you start seeing signs of wear and tear on wood cabinets. Before you decide to invest in replacements, consider a more budget-friendly solution: DIY restoration. If the wood stain on your cabinets is worn, try cleaning with a mix of TSP and water, sand lightly, and apply a tinted polyurethane varnish.
Related: How to Paint Kitchen Cabinets
Put Some Organization Into Play
Since you are stuck indoors, take the time to organize a closet or two—or be really ambitious and tackle a room that's in desperate need of some order. If you're trying to organize a child's room, check out these DIY storage ideas to help control the clutter.
Get Ready for Tax Time
While you're in an organizing frame of mind, be sure to start collecting bank and investment statements, charitable contribution receipts, and everything else you or your accountant will need to prepare your taxes. This is particularly important if you sold or purchased a home last year, or if you made a retrofit that entitles you to an energy credit.
Related: Tax Tips for Home Sellers
Just as the right tie can really make a suit, or a well-chosen accessory can add some pop to an outfit, molding can turn a plain square room into a true showpiece. And remember: When you're considering how best to add trim to a room, don’t just think ceilings and floors. Looking for inspiration? Check out: Get Trim! 9 Ways to Dress Up a Room with Molding.
Show Some Passion
One way to add some punch to any room is with a bold color. Although choosing the best color for a room can be daunting, you can take the risk out of making a full color commitment by opting to paint an accent wall. If the color is red—all the better!
Ralph Lauren Paint
If you have the money to hire a handyman for every household woe, go ahead. But if you want to hang on to your cash and exercise some self-sufficiency, check out these clever products that solve a million and one little problems around the house. Go now!