16 Ways to Stay Busy this Winter

When the amount of sunlight is at its lowest, motivation can be difficult to come by, but there are plenty of tasks, activities, and projects to keep you busy, productive, and healthy until spring arrives.

1. Write out a meal plan.
Make use of those recipes you’ve saved and come up with a delicious dinner menu. Meal plans can help you get in the kitchen and be more creative. Make a weekly shopping list based on the recipes you’ve chosen so you’ll have everything you need on hand. When your family asks, “What’s for dinner?” you’ll feel organised, prepared, and confident.

2. Declutter and organize.
With the hustle and bustle of the holidays and the start of the new year, chances are you still have some cleaning and organising to do around your house. Clutter and chaos cause stress, so getting rid of old or unwanted items can help you relax by clearing your space. Save any old toys or books in a box. Toss out any socks that have holes in them. Anything in good working order that is no longer needed in your home can be donated to a local Goodwill, shelter, food bank, or other community outreach programme. You’ll be astounded at how much lighter and happier you feel!

3. Paint a wall.
After months of staring at the same four walls, it’s time for a change of scenery, so why not spice things up with a can of paint? Paint a dark space white to brighten it up. By going dark, you can add drama to a room. Make a statement in your living room with a vibrant feature wall. A simple can of paint is a cost-effective and simple way to transform your space.

4. Plant an indoor herb garden.
There’s nothing like fresh herbs to boost flavour, add colour, and provide a variety of nutrients to your meals. Planting a herb garden is a great way to ensure that you have fresh herbs all year. So toss out those store-bought herbs and pick up an indoor growing kit to get started on your countertop garden today.

5. Enjoy an at-home spa day.
For an at-home spa day, gather the bubble bath, candles, mud masks, and soothing music. Allow yourself a few hours to unwind and pamper yourself. Give yourself a facial, manicure, or pedicure, or engage in any other form of self-care you’ve been putting off. This one small act of self-care can have a big payoff.6. Try a small DIY.
Why not try one of the many simple and quick DIY projects available on the internet? Experiment with a variety of small DIY projects, from terracotta paint to shibori, to find one that you enjoy.

7. Swap your lightbulbs.
Did you know that new, energy-efficient LEDs use only 20%–25% of the energy used by traditional incandescent bulbs and can last 15–25 times longer? Making the switch is well worth the investment, as it will save you hundreds of dollars over the life of the bulbs.8. Redecorate for winter.
The harsh winter weather can make you crave warmth, cosiness, and comfort; adding these five must-have décor items to your space will transform it and give it that desired cosy vibe.

9. Stay active.
With winter in full swing and snow up to your knees, getting outside for the recommended 30 minutes of physical activity each day can be difficult. Setting up a small work-out area in your home can help you stay motivated and on track with your objectives. If you’re looking for workout inspiration or ideas, there are thousands of free and paid workout videos available online.

10. Have a movie night.
It’s movie night, so grab some snacks, pop some popcorn, and gather the family! Put everyone’s choice in a hat and draw a title if your family is having trouble deciding on a movie. It keeps things fair and square!

11. Do some good for others.
February, we can all agree, is a difficult month for everyone. An act of kindness can bring a smile to someone’s face. Paying for the person behind you in line at the drive-through or shovelling your neighbor’s driveway are both examples of simple acts of kindness. You’ll feel good, and they’ll feel good, too–a it’s win-win situation!

12. Make a reno list.
Do you have a mental list of all the home improvements you want to make? Get all of your thoughts out of your head and onto paper. Budget, timeline, and materials are all details that can help you prioritise and plan your attack.

13. Plan something to look forward to.While a trip to a tropical island may be out of the question for the time being, planning a trip, event, or special activity will give you something to anticipate.

14. Deep clean.
While a trip to a tropical island is unlikely for the time being, planning a trip, event, or special activity will provide you with something to look forward to.

15. Mend your clothes. Sew the button back on your blouse or hem those too-long pants. You’ll be glad you did it later. We’re confident that these 16 activities will help you beat the winter blues and live a happier life. How do you keep yourself occupied during the dreary winter months?

16. Binge-watch a new show.
If you subscribe to a streaming service like Netflix or Amazon Prime, you’ll have access to thousands of new (or old) shows waiting to be binge-watched. There are plenty of options to keep you occupied, ranging from home décor before-and-after shows to classics like Friends.

Do Yesterday’s Trends Hold Up Today?

To say that 2020 was a tough year is like saying that in the winter, Canada is a bit cold. The thing we might remember most from a design point of view is simply keeping the coffee table clear.Let’s take a light-hearted look at some of the more questionable design choices of days past, to take a break from the seriousness of the modern day. Knowing what goes around, we’re going to do it carefully, just in case the shag carpet starts trending in 2021!

The 1950s
Mid-Century Modern is fantastic in the mid-century. For the 1950s, there’s just one little question we have. What about the pink one? Sure, a makeover was necessary for the drab khaki years, but the influx of pink tiles and sinks in later decades sparked many renovation counterattacks. There is absolutely nothing wrong with the colour pink, to be clear, but it could have pushed some limits to use it in these amounts.

The 1960s
Shag’s carpet may have kept our feet warm, but it’s a bit of an eyesore of the decade from a visual standpoint. In the 60s, Shag’s carpeting was all the rage, and for that you can thank Brady Bunch. Their house featured many colours of wall-to-wall carpeting, prompting a fresh trend across households everywhere. Anyone who bought a house after the Shag era ended, however, will tell you that when doing renovations, it was the first thing to go. Shag carpeting is still around these days, but instead of wall-to-wall decor, it’s cleverly used for smaller area rugs.

The 1970s
It’s not that much that wood doesn’t have a place on walls. It does, and a design feature that goes back centuries has been panelling. Even today, it’s a stylish and practical alternative. What, then, happened in the 1970s to wood panels? We got glorified cardboard instead of tasteful, upscale presentations. It was affordable and lined a lot of a basement much faster than conventional construction of drywall, but perhaps this was where the “wreck room” mispelling originated.

The 1980s
Harvesting gold, particularly in the form of appliance colours, could be the biggest stain in the 80s, as pink defined the worst of the 50s. That says a lot when you consider the floral or pastel-related offences committed in the Miami Vice Decade by Laura Ashley. In earlier decades, Harvest gold appliances existed, but in the 80s they reached epic proportions. Luckily, the move to energy-efficient appliances hastened this unflattering retro shade’s turnover.

The 1990s
The design disasters of this decade seem somehow less dramatic, since we are more than two decades away from the 90s. Though Monica Gellar’s eclectic apartment in Friends probably sparked some failed imitations, the period may be too close for a horrified perspective to fully develop. The decorative wallpaper border trend, though, is not one that is gracefully ageing. It may remain a valid choice when used with restraint, but the ethos of the 90s had a definite “border for every room.” It was often overdone, giving a two-dimensional impression that was as flat as the borders themselves, even though the appeal was a quick and affordable way to perk up a tired room.

Although they may not be “trendy” anymore, in these design trends there is some definite comfort, bringing us back to a time that seemed a bit more simple. History suggests that even now, even though we sit comfortably in the midst of these future horrors, we’re committing design faux-pas that will horrify our children and grandchildren. There is some comfort in knowing that there is a chance, however small, that one of our descendants may choose a gold refrigerator or pink bathroom tile for harvesting. As they say, what goes around comes around.

Remote Work is Changing Homebuyer Needs

With more companies figuring out how to efficiently and effectively enable their employees to work remotely (and for longer than most of us initially expected), homeowners throughout the country are re-evaluating their needs. Do I still need to live close to my company’s office building? Do I need a larger home with more office space? Would making a move to the suburbs make more sense for my family? All of these questions are on the table for many people as we ride the wave of the current health crisis and consider evolving homeownership needs.

According to George Ratiu, Senior Economist for realtor.com:

“The ability to work remotely is expanding home shoppers’ geographic options and driving their motivation to buy, even if it means a longer commute, at least in the short term…Although it’s too early to tell what long-term impact the COVID-era of remote work will have on housing, it’s clear that the pandemic is shaping how people live and work under the same roof.” 

Working remotely is definitely changing how people spend their time at home, and also how they use their available square footage. Homeowners aren’t just looking for a room for a home office, either. The desire to have a home gym, an updated kitchen, and more space in general – indoor and outdoor – are all key factors motivating some buyers to change their home search parameters.

A recent realtor.com-HarrisX survey indicates:

“In a June poll of 2,000 potential home shoppers who indicated plans to make a purchase in the next year, 63% of those currently working from home stated their potential purchase as a result of their ability to work remotely, while nearly 40% [of] that number expected to purchase a home within four to six months and 13% said changes related to pandemic fueled their interest in buying a new home.

Clearly, people are thinking differently about homeownership today, and through a new lens. The National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) notes:

“New single-family home sales jumped in June, as housing demand was supported by low-interest rates, a renewed consumer focus on the importance of housing, and rising demand in lower-density markets like suburbs and exurbs.”

Through these challenging times, you may have found your home becoming your office, your children’s classroom, your workout facility, and your family’s safe haven. This has quickly shifted what home truly means to many families. More than ever, having a place to focus on professional productivity while many competing priorities (and distractions!) are knocking on your door is challenging homeowners to get creative, use space wisely, and ultimately find a place where all of these essential needs can realistically be met. In many cases, a new home is the best option.

In today’s real estate market, making a move while mortgage rates are hovering at historic lows may enable you to purchase more home for your money, just when you and your family need it most.

If you are interested in buying or selling a home, call Bill & Start Packing at 705-238-6001. Making a move into a larger home may be exactly what you need to set your family up for optimal long-term success.

Things You Need to know To Pass Your Home Inspection

What to do during a home inspection

What is a home inspection?

Home inspection is a report on the overall condition of the home. As per the state’s guidelines, the home should recognize well-being, security, or major mechanical issues.

How do you Choose your Home Inspector?

Most home purchasers decide to make the close depending upon the consequence of the home review.

It is helpful that you discover a list of inspectors in your state or zone that has a place with the nonprofit professional organization

It is best to look for Home Advisors and Yelp Reviews.

What Do Home Inspectors Look For?

Try not to be worried about the number of imperfections recorded on your report. The same number will be so minor you won’t have trouble to fix them. Rather, focus on the reality of the home’s issues.

By having an understanding of these 11 problem areas as you walk through your home, you’ll be arming yourself against future disappointment

  1. Defective Plumbing – Plumbing and water-sealing imperfections can be notorious causes behind the debasement of auxiliary quality and respectability of a structure.
  2. Damp or Wet Basement – Most storm cellars present at any rate the likelihood that wetness will intrude, basically by the fact of the way that they’re incorporated with the ground.
  3. Inadequate Wiring & Electrical – An electrical risk exists when the wire is too little a measure for the flow it will convey
  4. Poor Heating & Cooling Systems – Insufficient insulation, and an inadequate or a poorly functioning heating system, are the most common causes of poor heating
  5. Roofing Problems – Address any bugs with a spray or professional exterminator. Any indication of an infestation will alarm an inspector.
  6. Damp Attic Spaces –
  7. Rotting Wood – The building inspector will now and again test the wood to check whether this is available – particularly when the wood has been newly painted.
  8. Masonry Work – Brickwork requires tools for different purposes, for example for the handling of mortar, for the dressing of stone, for cutting of blocks to get required shape
  9. Unsafe or Overfused Electrical Circuit – With regards to your home’s electrical framework, well-being and security are foremost. A little issue with the wiring can cause a fire. It can even form into a shock hazard making the property dangerous for your family.
  10. Adequate Security Features – Installing a home security system intends to ensure your home and resources and to keep your family protected from potential break-ins by criminals.
  11. Structural/Foundation Problems – Your home’s basic structure relies upon the quality of your foundation. It supports everything else – dividers, windows, floors, entryways, rooftop – so when your establishment is harmed, it can cause significant issues all through your home


  • Keep your receipts of any services you’ve at any point had on your home or its parts.
  • Put away the messiness in spaces like storm cellar, storage room, carport, and slither spaces.
  • Be certain that the examiner has access to the electrical panel, heater, and water heater.
  • Lock up your pets to avoid your pets from running around the house.
  • You will have to ensure that the lights are working and not worn out. If the lights aren’t working, it could be an indication of electrical issues.
  • Run water in every sink and bath to check for clogs as this could signify a plumbing issue in the report.
  • Replace filters in the HVAC system. Filthy air channels bargain the air quality in the home and will raise a warning for the assessor
  • Remove soil away from the exterior on the outside to stay away from storm cellar water issues, which is a top thing inspector search for
  • Fix any split windows or broken screens