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Outsmart winter

Time-tested solutions to melt cold-weather mishaps

Created date

January 25th, 2011

Honey, you re tracking the outside in, I say to my husband as he leaves a trail of wintery slush and mud in the doorway. You can just picture it: melting snow, muddy boots, messy floor. We ve all been there. From chilling cold to chapped lips to icy sidewalks, winter blows in a whole bag of bothers. It s not that we dislike our homes; it s the weather that brings us down. This year, outsmart winter with these tried-and-true tips from those who ve discovered the ultimate winter relief: people who live at Erickson Living s Cedar Crest and Seabrook, in Pompton Plains and Tinton Falls, N.J., respectively. Without fleeing for Florida, they enjoy glass-enclosed walkways connecting every building, 24/7 home maintenance, a variety of restaurants, on-site fitness and medical facilities, and a consistent monthly service charge that eliminates exorbitant heating bills. Before moving, they all lived in traditional houses, developing time-tested solutions for winter s taxing troubles.

1. Floor savers

Double doormats. To limit the foyer slush trail, use two doormats a tough rubber or bristle mat for your outside doorstep and a carpet or cloth mat for just inside your entryway. Tidy up. Shoes track in nearly 60% of household dust and dirt. Place a shoe rack just inside your foyer to keep muddy boots and shoes tidy and off your indoor carpet.

2. Mood savers

Get moving. The folks at Cedar Crest and Seabrook stay active year-round. During extremely cold (and hot) months, walking groups stay indoors and cruise the hallways and glass-enclosed walkways that connect every building, and others use the fitness and aquatics centers on campus to boost their mood when cold weather strikes and days shorten. Stay social. In his book, Happiness: Unlocking the Mysteries of Psychological Wealth, Ed Diener, Ph.D., of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, says learning new things, improving your skills, and nurturing fulfilling relationships are the keys to life enjoyment and psychological well-being. The folks at Cedar Crest and Seabrook know this firsthand. They have more than 100 activity groups and clubs, educational classes, and hundreds of peer neighbors at their fingertips. Tap into the healing touch. Researchers at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center found Swedish massage long strokes of kneading with deep pressure on the muscles may aid immune cells, helping to fight colds and flu. Anyone who lives at Cedar Crest may schedule a massage, manicure, or pedicure in the community s salon-spa to get a dose of the healing touch.

3. Energy savers

Bundle up. Many electric companies now offer a bundle option you pay the same monthly amount for electric, regardless of usage. They base your payment on your average usage and adjust it at the end of the year. You may owe more or receive a refund, but it helps with monthly budgeting. Erickson Living residents pay a consistent monthly service fee, which encompasses all utilities except telephone and cable TV, use of all amenities and facilities, one meal a day in the on-campus restaurants, 24/7 home maintenance, and campus and scheduled local transportation by shuttle bus. Clear clutter. Whether it s a small project like organizing the junk drawer, a medium project like clearing out closets, or a huge project like downsizing from a house to a homey apartment, an organized life contributes to an efficient life, say the experts at Good Housekeeping, including best-selling author of The Happiness Project, Gretchen Rubin. Good advice from Rubin: Keep one thing, frame one wonderful picture because if everything s precious, nothing s precious, she says in an interview for the magazine. People who live at Cedar Crest and Seabrook have taken clutter clearing to the nth degree, relieving themselves of unused items and rooms and simplifying their lives and they couldn t be happier about it. Rightsizing, they say, was the right move.