As the summer draws to a close and the first chilly winds of autumn blow through, it’s time to think through the way you’ll clean up, fix up, and maintain your home for fall. By keeping up with your home’s maintenance, you can ensure both a cozier winter and long-term protection for your investment.
Closing Out Summer
- The first thing you’ll need to do is put away the outdoor toys and furniture left over from this summer. Check for items that need to be repaired or discarded, and clean them before you put them in storage.
- Clean your grill and either cover it or put it into storage in a sheltered spot like a shed or garage.
- If you have a pool, talk to your service provider about winterizing and closing the pool for the year. Determine whether you need a cover, and remove any floats, toys, ladders, or other temporary elements from the pool.
- Check with your pest control service and determine whether you need to get a handle on ant nests or other late summer creepy crawlies.
- Switch over your mudroom from a storage spot for flip flops and pool towels to one for backpacks and sweaters. Put down weatherproof mats and boot scrapers before the first snow falls.
You may think of leaf raking as an easy task, but it can become overwhelming if you put it off too long. Here are some tips to make this quintessential fall activity a little easier.
- Consider raking for an hour or two each weekend in order to stay ahead of the task and keep it from becoming a huge chore.
- Explore hacks for leaf raking like lawn vacuums and sweepers, tarps, and claws to make clearing your lawn a little easier and more efficient.
- Check with your utility provider and find out what the rules are for the disposal of leaves and other yard waste in your area. Some places require them to be bagged, while others only require them to be stacked at the curbside.
- Check with a local lawn service and find out what they will charge to remove leaves from your yard. It may be worth it to pay for one or two cleanups each season, especially if you live in a home with a large number of trees.
Besides leaf raking, there are a number of other things that you need to consider in terms of exterior maintenance.
- This is a good time to power wash your home’s exterior, windows, and hardscapes. in addition, once most of the leaves have fallen it will be time for you to clean the gutters and downspouts and clear away any wet leaves from your home’s foundation.
- Consider covering planting beds with hay or pine straw in order to provide an extra layer of protection for bulbs or dormant perennials. Alternatively, you may want to plant a cold-weather grass to preserve the bed over the winter.
- If you have potted plants, consider which ones need to be thrown away and which ones may be brought inside for the winter.
- If you have an in-ground irrigation system, all of the water needs to be blown out and exterior water lines need to be shut off for the season. This will help to prevent exterior pipes from freezing.
- While we often talk about spring cleaning, fall is a great time to give your home another good airing. The mild temperatures allow you to throw open the windows and let in some fresh air.
- The coming months may involve holiday guests, meals, and baking, so be sure to give your guest room and kitchen a thorough cleaning and make any needed repairs.
- As school begins, it may be a good time for you to do a deep cleaning of your children’s room and playroom. Store or donate outgrown clothes and toys that they no longer play with.
- Clean out your closets in preparation for the months ahead, and clean out storage areas like the attic, basement, and garage so that you’ll have an easier time finding all of your holiday decorations.
- Since you’ll power wash the exterior windows, this is a good time to clean the inside of your windows as well as window frames and blinds.
Preparing for Winter
It’s important for you to get ready now for the cold months ahead. Use this fall to have your systems checked so that they are operating at peak efficiency.
- Contact your HVAC provider and have them conduct a fall check-up of your heating system. Be sure that you are changing your filters consistently.
- Check the air vents for excessive dust or lint in order to determine whether your ductwork needs to be cleaned. If so, have this done as soon as possible
- Check around window and door frames and determine whether you need to add additional insulation or seal cracks and crevices. Add weather stripping around doors to keep cold winds out.
- Have your fireplace and chimney cleaned and inspected in order to ensure that they are in good working order.
- Lay in a supply of firewood, snowmelt, and windshield fluid, and check to ensure that your snow shovels are in good repair. Have your cars winterized as well and add a blanket to each trunk in case of a breakdown in cold weather.
- Cozy up your home by putting away lightweight summer throws, cushions, and other items. Replace them with heavier blankets and more substantial linens. If you have lightweight summer curtains, you may want to replace them with heavier drapes for added insulation.
Remember, fall cleaning and maintenance isn’t just about appearances. It saves you money by helping your systems run more efficiently and it can help you avoid costs associated with deferred maintenance. You’ll preserve the value of your home when you take care of it properly through every season of the year.