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by Erin Weaver

There’s a lot to be said for spring cleaning. It feels good to brush away the cobwebs and bring some life back into your home, but you don’t need to wait until the flowers are blooming to do it. Winter is the perfect time to get organizing, particularly on farms and homesteads. Things are generally winding down as the cold weather sweeps in, which means less time outdoors and more opportunities to focus on your home.

Some home organization activities are perfect for the winter, so why not tackle them before the spring rolls around?

Make A Charity Donation Box

Winter is usually the season when you’re at home the most, so it’s all too easy to recognize excess clutter in your house during these months. Instead of sitting around and bemoaning all the stuff you’ve accumulated, sift through your belongings and make a box of items that you can donate to charity.

Get Rid of Old Kitchen Utensils

You’re probably gathering with family and friends more often during the winter, which means one thing – food! In the run-up to all that winter cooking, take stock of your kitchen cupboards and sell, donate, or throw out any utensils that you no longer use or have room for.

Look Through Your Pantry

The same thing goes for your pantry too. Really get in there and figure out which items are out of date, which are never going to get eaten, or which you could start using more often. This will give you more space, neater cupboards, and new meal ideas too.

Sort Out Your Calendar

Winter is a good time to plan out your calendar for the months ahead. This gives you a chance to plan out farming activities, make necessary appointments with doctors, dentists, vets, and whoever else, and figure out potential rest periods.

Pile Up Unworn Winter Gear

Winter clothes, shoes, and bedding take up so much more space than flimsy summer-wear. If you’ve realized that there are certain items that simply aren’t getting used, don’t wait until next winter to expunge them. Put them in a pile and pledge to donate them or toss them out if they haven’t been used by the end of the season.

Deep-Clean Your Bathroom

Your bathroom can get particularly mucky during the winter – everyone’s getting mud-coated and rain-slicked out on the farm, and the cold weather makes you want to hole up in the shower for longer than usual. Take this chance to do a proper deep-clean of your bathroom to make it a shining sanctuary during this chilly time.

Don’t let your home become a pit of disorganization during the winter months. Use this time to work on the tasks that you’ll inevitably put off for the rest of the year, and feel bright and organized by the time spring arrives.

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The Top Five At-Home Hair Color Tips

At-home hair coloring saves money and increases in popularity as products continually improve. In order to obtain the best results, whether you’ve been doing this for a while or are new to coloring, you should know these five important at-home hair color tips.

Know What You’re Getting

Going darker than your natural color is always easier and fairly straightforward. If you want to lighten your hair, enlist professional help, unless you’re only lifting hair a maximum of three shades. Keep in mind that going red equals lightening your hair, unless your hair is naturally blonde and lighter than the shade of red you have in mind. You should also consult a professional when you already have colored your hair and want to change the shade.

You will not get the exact color that’s pictured on a box, unless you start with a blank slate. This means the result on the box only applies when you add the product to hair that has been stripped of its natural color (pre-lightened). To find the approximate shade the dye will give you, consult the chart that’s usually listed on the side or back of the box. This will also tell you if the product will work with the natural color of your hair.

Perform the Allergy Test

Many people fail to perform the allergy test because they’ve colored their hair for years. However, even if you’ve been using the same product for a long time, you have to test for allergies every time you use it because adverse reactions can develop at any time. To test for sensitivities, apply a small amount of the product on a patch of skin and wait at least 24 hours.

Perform a Strand Test

To avoid disappointment, color a small piece of hair that’s not visible beforehand. You can do this at the same time as the allergy test. However, don’t leave hair color on for longer than 40 minutes because it loses its effectiveness after this time frame.

Don’t Apply Hair Color to Freshly Washed Hair

You should wait at least 24 hours after shampooing before applying hair color. While you might think that clean hair would easily absorb color, the opposite is true. Hair color will hold better on unwashed hair. However, the main reason for not washing it right before coloring is that you’re more likely to cause irritation because your scalp will lack the protective natural oils. This especially applies to products that bleach hair.

Protect Your Skin and Clothing

Protection is key when working with hair dye. Use gloves during the coloring process, and apply petroleum jelly to the skin around the hairline before coloring to avoid staining. Wearing old clothes or a smock is always a good idea as well.

When asking around, you’re likely to get contradicting advice such as that it’s OK to forego the allergy and strand test when you’re used to a product. However, spending the time to do things right will give you peace of mind and help avoid potential disaster.

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