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L IVING


Clean Up a


Messy Winter Tips for the Sludge and Mud and Mittens of it All


By Elisabeth Sharp McKetta


What we love in the winter when we are outside can make our lives difficult when we come back in. Snow! Snow! Epic ice, sleet, snow. Good squishy mud, and then the inevitable tracks into the previously clean house. I’ve trolled some wise websites for their best tips for cleaning up a messy winter, and here are the best of them:


Take shoes off at the door. There are clever and kind-spirited ways to do this without feeling like Queen Marm standing guard with her rule-book. A basket of clean slippers in different sizes, next to a mat for dirty shoes, is a welcoming way to invite guests in and shoes off. Or make a small sign with wrapping paper and tinsel that says “Shoe Party Right Here!” and points to a container where all of


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your shoes can mingle together until their wearers are heading home.


Spread a utility mat or runner rug at the door for sludge-catching. If you can’t bear the tyranny of a shoe-free house, this will catch at least some of the mud.


Create a bottom-shelf space near the fireplace for firewood. Ideally this should have a separate area for kindling and paper. A baking sheet or piece of cardboard is often enough to separate fire materials. If possible, keep several days’ worth of fire starters available within arm’s reach of the fire. Restock this area weekly or whenever it gets low. This eliminates the muddy walk to and from the woodpile.


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