6 Tips to Save Money on Winter Heating Bills

Brace yourselves, winter is coming. As such, it is never too early to start planning ahead for the annual rise in winter heating costs.

A common misconception is that the most effective ways to decrease energy costs is by resorting to expensive, large-scale solutions such as installing new insulation throughout your home. Sure, that will definitely work at keeping you warm, but it will also cost you an arm and a leg to do so. The truth is that there are a number of small things you can do right now to help chip away at the overall amount of energy you use this winter. If done correctly, these small changes will lead to big savings. The key is taking the time to assess your needs and choosing the approach which best matches your goals while limiting your expenses.

Stay warm with these six tips to saving money on your winter heating bills.
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4 Simple Space-Saving Tips for Organizing a Cluttered Closet

It is a tale as old as time — the older you get, the more clothes you buy, and the harder it is to part with beloved fabrics and well-worn shoes. Eventually, these nostalgic lifestyle habits come back to haunt you when you run out of room in your closet. Without taking proper actions, it’s bound to happen to all of us at some point. To help you prevent this from happening, here are our four favorite space-saving tips for a cluttered closet.

Purge the Unnecessary & Old Clothes

The first space-saving tip for decluttering your closet is to purge all the unnecessary clothes you no longer need. Begin with the two-year rule to purge outdated or garments that no longer fit. If you have not used it or worn it in two years, it is safe to assume that you no longer need to keep it.

Once you’ve gone through and analyzed what you’ve worn in the last two years, going forward a good way to keep track of what you want to keep is to start with your hangers facing one way. Each time you take out an item of clothing and return it, turn the hanger around and face it in the direction of your preference. At the end of one or two years (depending on your available space), get rid of all the clothes that you have not turned around.

Remove Non-Essential Items From the Closet

Now that you’ve gone through all your clothes and decided what should go and what should stay, it’s now time to relocate anything else that does not belong in the closet. If it is not clothes or shoes, try to find it a new place to store it.

Have you been using the closet as a storage area for books, boxes, suitcases and other random household items? You are not alone, but it is time for a new solution. Move these things to another area of the home, such as a linen closet, basement or garage. If you have an extra room or closet elsewhere, consider sorting your clothes by season and moving the off-season clothes into a separate area to be switched out. Relocate items that you use frequently to an easy-to-reach area.

Instead of sending everything to a landfill, consider donating or selling items that you no longer use. There are many options should you find yourself willing and able to part with the clutter. Goodwill, the Salvation Army and other thrift shops willingly take gently worn items, and your donations help others in need. Some stores allow trade-ins for store credit or cash rewards for accepted clothing. If you have taken great care of your clothes, bags and shoes, this is a good way to update your wardrobe and save some space. If your friends are similarly struggling, a clothes swap could get rid of your clutter and score you a few useful things in return. Even a garage sale would be a great option if you find the rest of your home suffering from the same cramped quarters as your closet.

Utilize the Space You Have

Even if you live in the smallest, compact living area, there are still ways to take advantage of the space you do have. For example, the walls and floors and the back of a closet and closet door can be huge space savers. Attach hooks on the backs of doors to hang shoes, belts, bags, jewelry and other accessories that would otherwise take up space where you could store your clothes.

Built-in or add-on shelves can also help save space for stackable items. Take advantage of all vertical space by stacking sweaters, shoes and handbags on shelves. Use compressed bags, boxes or clear containers to stack and store items that you do not frequently use, such as out-of-season clothing. You can also employ stacking drawers or shelves to help prevent items from toppling over. Buying and installing space-saving shelves is somewhat simple, assuming that you have the time, space, and are DIY-savvy.

In addition, space-saving hangers and rods are available for your closet needs. If most of your clothes are short-hanging, add an extra closet rod above or below the first to instantly double the amount of hanging space. Use add-on hangers, which take up as much space as a single hanger and store four times the amount of clothing.

Fix That Shoe Problem

Since shoes are less versatile than clothing, they can be harder to store and take up more space in your already cluttered closet. Luckily, you have some space-saving options if you have nowhere else to store your shoes.

Use a hanging shoe rack for the back of your door to keep shoes organized, easy to reach and out of the way. Another great way to store shoes is on DIY shoe hangers. Cut the bottom rod of a wire hanger in the middle and twist up both ends, creating dual hooks on which to hang your shoes. Hang these next to your clothes, and save the floor space of your closet for stacks of sweaters, linen or other items. While this isn’t the prettiest option, it’s cheap and it saves a ton of space.

If you have the space, opt for a decorative shoe storing solution to de-clutter your closet. Options include a wall-hanging rack or a pretty cabinet that serves dual functions for shoes and accessories. Tubs and baskets keep footwear together and can be stored on shelves or floors. Consider sorting shoes and boots by seasonal use or style, so you always know where to look for the footwear that you need.

Cluttered Closets: More Common Than You Think

Closet clutter is a common issue that affects us all, no matter how big or small our closets are. The shortage of space is especially a problem for those that live in small homes and apartments. By following the space-saving tips above, you’ll be able to fully utilize the amount of space you have in your closet and organize your clothes in a way that works best for you.

Surely, there are more tips out there. What space-saving tips would you recommend?

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Beat the Heat: Choosing the Right Portable Air Conditioner For You

If you’re struggling to stay cool through the summer heat, there are plenty of air conditioning options that can meet your individual needs. If you’re sweating it out in a small enclosed space, portable air conditioners are going to be your best option.

Developed to make the small areas you inhabit cool and comfortable, portable air coolers are designed with either a single hose or a dual hose system. Let’s take a look at the differences between the two types of cooling systems.

Single-Hose Systems

Single-Hose Portable Air Conditioners

The single hose air conditioning system is the most fundamental option available to you. It works by using a compressor to suck air in, and then expels hot air and moisture out of the room. Because the warm air continually tries to seep back into the room to replace the negative air pressure, the single-hose air conditioners have to work harder to keep the room cool.

Depending on your living situation, the single-hose air conditioners are sufficient enough for cooling a small area and may the best option for you. However, the dual-hose system is usually the most efficient cooling system, thus it’s preferred by most people.

Dual-Hose Systems

Dual-Hose Portable Air Conditioners

As suggested by the name, the dual-hose air conditioning system implements two hoses. One hose pulls the hot air from the room, cools it within the unit, and then expels it back into the immediate area. Just like the single-hose design, a dual-hose portable air conditioner labors to perform its cooling function, creating heat inside the cooler. However, the difference with this type of system, the second hose pulls the cooled air from the room and uses it to cool the compressor and condenser coils. This allows your air conditioner to work more efficiently, providing better cooling in your small living or working space. While the price may be slightly higher than a single-hose cooling unit, the efficiency it provides is well worth the money.

Tips For Using Your Portable Air Conditioner

No matter which type of portable air conditioner you choose, here’s a few tips to get the most use out of your cooling system. Whether you’re cooling a bedroom or apartment, your air conditioner will work more effectively when you close all your doors and windows to the area you are cooling. It’s also a good idea to limit the overall amount of heat-producing sources, like electronic equipment and lights.

For optimal performance, turn your portable air cooler on early in the day when it’s still relatively cool. It’s far easier for your air conditioner to maintain a comfortable temperature, than to cool down a room that’s already reached high temperatures. Turning on a ceiling or rotating fan will also help boost the overall effectiveness of your air conditioner.

If you’re looking for a way to keep a small living or working area cool, a portable air cooler is an effective and economical way to do so. Review the pros and cons of the single-hose and dual-hose systems to select the unit that best meets your needs and budget. Follow the tips and recommendations to keep your unit operating at peak efficiency. You’ll soon see that portable air coolers are a great way to stay cool, even in small spaces.

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Summer Road Trips: Keeping Your RV Cool

Summer travel in your RV is a fun way to vacation. When taking to the road, stay cool and comfortable to ensure your overall enjoyment from start to finish. While using window air conditioners make for an efficient, quiet and cost-effective solution, there are still other things you can do to beat the heat.

From window air conditioners to tarps, here’s our favorite tricks for keeping your RV cool, giving you the relief you need on a hot summer day.

Know Where The Sun Is

Knowing exactly when the sun is at its hottest and making decisions based on these facts is your first line of defense to beat the heat. The sun rises in the east, so parking your RV to avoid the early morning light is a great way to keep you cool during breakfast. The ideal combination of avoiding direct sunlight and finding adequate shade is a great defense against heat in your RV.

Create Your Own Shade

When adequate shade is at a minimum, you can always create your own shade with a simple addition of a tarp. Available at a very cheap price, tarps can stretch between your RV and the ground to provide much needed shade. Tarps are also easy to clean and store rather easily, making them a great solution for that much-desired shade on a summer day.

Open Your Awnings

In addition to shade, be sure to open up all of your awnings when you park your RV. While the open awnings provide a bit of shade, they also give air circulation and encourage cooler air to pass through your RV. For the best cooling effects, make sure your largest awning is in the direction that avoids the sun. This will ensure that the coolest air makes it way through your RV.

Tips for Buying the Right Window AC

Window Air Conditioner

Unfortunately, you cannot avoid sunlight completely in your RV. Which is precisely why window air conditioners are one of the most effective solutions to keeping your vehicle cool. When shopping for a window AC, know the dimensions of your space to ensure you get the correct amount of cooling action. There are many brands, sizes and BTU differences in window air conditioners. The big box stores carry a wide variety and often run specials throughout the summer months. They are priced competitively so shop around to get the best deal. Aside from the price, it would be wise to consider its noise, ease of installation, weight and settings.

With summer underway, the success of your RV road trip is dependent on how you handle the boiling temperatures outside. With a little bit of research and some good features on your air conditioner, you will be ready to hit the open road in cool comfort.

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