How to Shovel Snow Without Breaking the Bank (Or Your Back)

 

It’s the Midwest – snow is a fact of life. Sure, it has its perks. It’s fun to sled on. You can form it into a ball and fling at someone who can take a joke (and a shot to the arm). And boy does it look beautiful while falling slowly on Christmas morning.

But unless you are under the age of 10, dear Reader (and if so, go out and play!), snow can also be a major antagonist when it comes in a flash instead of a flurry. After all, at some point, you’ll need to get out of your driveway. Your pup will need a place to pee. And if you live in the city, there is little doubt you’ve dealt with the prospect of having to clear out a parking space on the street before someone tries to swipe it (DIBS!).

Shoveling snow is not only an inconvenient chore, it’s also a serious health hazard if done without proper care. According to the American Journal of Emergency Medicine, more than 11,500 adults and children are sent to the hospital across the country each year for snow shoveling-related injuries. These range from bad backs and broken bones, to more serious situations such as fatal heart attacks. Your best bet is to invest in a quality snow blower that will bear the burden for you. But for those battling blizzards on a budget, a little planning will go a long way.

 

So before you slip on your boots and head outside to start scooping, consider the following safety tips:

Choose Your Weapon: To battle the snow effectively, you need the right shovel. Yes, shovels can vary drastically in both quality and style, so be sure to pick the one that best suits your situation. Length can be key, depending on your height. If in doubt, go long to prevent excessive crouching or bending, and choose a shovel with a natural curve. A sharp metal edge at the end will also help you break through layers of ice without too much force. You can get your hands on a quality shovel for $25-50, depending on your needs.

Assume the Position: The best way to avoid painful back issues is to try and keep your head, neck, and tailbone lined up. Avoid arching your lower back, which naturally puts undo strain on your upper back and shoulders. Just like your personal trainer is always yelling – work that core! Take a deep breath, and do your best to tighten up your midsection with every scoop; this motion will keep your spine more stable and protect your vertebrae from getting in a twist.

Show a Little Patience: It’s easy to jump hastily into the shoveling process. Most people start right out of bed in order to make that morning meeting or get the kids to school on time. But attacking heavy snowfalls head first without prep or process can lead directly to injury. Do your best to shovel at least an hour after eating, and hold off on your morning coffee/caffeine until after you’ve finished. Instead, drink plenty of water to avoid dehydration. Make sure to stretch, and warm up a bit by walking in place. Wear multiple layers of clothing, including a warm hat, gloves, scarf, and boots (preferably with non-slip soles).

You’ve got this! With the right tools and approach, ridding your property of the season’s snowfall won’t put pressure on your spine, or your pocketbook. Before you know it, you’ll be back in the warmth and safety of your home, able to admire the winter season properly…through the window!

 


Oh, the Weather Outside is Frightful…

 

We live in the Midwest, and let’s face it – while the nation’s heartland boasts the best people and some truly breathtaking surroundings, the weather in winter months can be a bit… fickle. When you consider that we typically don’t thaw out until well into March or April, the kickoff to the real estate season often begins under a blanket of white.

You want to put your home on the market early, to maximize its selling potential. But by doing so, you may be presented with unique challenges brought on by the season. Cold temperatures can keep customers away from open houses. Shoppers are forced to remove their shoes, or subject themselves to the dreaded plastic ‘bootie’. Worst of all? That beautifully landscaped front yard, one of the key selling points to your property, may be buried under a foot of white powder.

So how can you be sure that people see the true beauty of your home, when all of its curb appeal has been greedily pocketed by Old Man Winter? You put your faith in your d’aprile realtor, that’s how! An experienced agent knows that first impressions can make or break a sale. It’s their responsibility to ensure that your potential buyers are WOWED by the interior of your home as soon as they step inside. 

 

 

Yes, your flashy contemporary kitchen or your enormous master bedroom closet may get mouths watering, but first you have to get people inside the door. Believe it or not, the entrance to your home can make or break a shopper’s opinion in the first few seconds. A bold splash of welcoming color or a strategically placed piece of artwork can be candy for the senses and will leave shoppers hungry to see more. 

By allowing your dedicated agent to help you stage a dynamic foyer, you’ll create the perfect way to greet your visitors by stimulating their senses and tapping into their emotions. Consider the following:

A Warm Invitation: What better way to make an impression in harsh winter than by making guests feel cozy the moment they enter? Consider defining the entryway with a bold color (such as rich red or mustard yellow) that will exude a warm welcome. From there, a nice runner just inside the doorway will draw individuals immediately in, then lead the way to all of your homes amazing interior amenities.

 

Photo Credit: Pinterest

Engage the Senses: Give your foyer’s wall space a bit of character by adding an eye-catching wall display, or position an ornamental mirror to catch the light and bring sunshine into an otherwise drab hallway. If seasonally appropriate, try sprucing up a stairway banister with garland or holiday lights. Blank spaces come off cold, but well-positioned points of interest will allow people to experience your house as a lived-in home.

Get Organized: Nothing will ruin the mood of an engaged and excited open house participant like a foyer cluttered with coats, or whose floor is lined with other people’s soaking shoes. Maintain order with a combination of hooks, racks, or bins to store all those coats, scarves, and boots. If you’re willing to go the extra mile, add a touch of simple hospitality with a small bench for people to sit on while they discard their winter layers.

 

Photo Credit: Let’s Move!

Most importantly, when it comes to make your entryway a scene-stealer, put your faith in your devoted d’aprile real estate expert. They have spent years training themselves to see homes without bias, through the eyes of a potential buyer. With their guidance, you can guarantee that buyers will come through your doorway wanting to see more, and leave it ready to make an offer.