By Mary Beth Gibson
If any of you are like me, you’re getting excited about the presence of pumpkins and fall decorations in your local stores. Summer has been great. You played hard, you stayed up late, you traveled, and you enjoyed the various fairs in your area. But now it’s September. School has started. Cooler temperatures are (hopefully) just around the corner, too, and with those come some important tasks to undertake around your home.
- Clean out your gutters. Plenty of leaves are about to fall into your gutters, so you might wonder why this is a suggestion. Starting with a clean slate will prevent clogging as Fall begins and precipitation increases. While you’re up there do a quick visual inspection of your roof to make sure none of your shingles are missing or damaged. If you’re the Christmas light type of person, kill two birds with one stone and hang your lights now. That way you won’t have to do anything after Thanksgiving except flip a switch!
- Clean out your fireplace and have your chimney inspected if you haven’t done so recently. If you’re lucky enough to have a wood burning fireplace, remove all the old ash and soot from your fireplace so your first fire of the fall is as bright and clean as possible. Make sure your chimney and flue are in good working order to ensure proper ventilation. Nothing can ruin a cozy evening with hot chocolate in front of the fire than a massive back draft of smoke.
- Give your vents and window sills a good cleaning. Fall means open windows at the beginning and turning on the heat as winter begins. Reduce the amount of dust and debris that makes its way into your air by giving these places a thorough cleaning. Even better, change the air filter on you heater to ensure you start the cold season with the best quality air possible.
- Clean up your garden. Add mulch to bare areas, assess which plants need to be removed, replace summer annuals with beautiful cool weather blooms, prepare your grass for the winter months, harvest the last of your edible produce, and plant some cool weather produce in your food garden. Cleaning and prepping your garden in the fall is an onerous task, but doing so will preserve the health of your plants and soil.
- Put away summer supplies. Drain your garden hoses and disconnect them from outdoor spigots. Empty, deflate, and put away kiddie pools and swimming accessories. Clean and store away your seasonal furniture. Make sure your grill has an adequate cover or an indoor storage spot once it becomes too cold to cook out—although I know many die-hard grill lovers would say fall is the perfect grilling season!
- Service and prepare your winter equipment. Do you have a snow blower? Make sure it’s serviced and in good working order before winter arrives. Are any of your shovels or ice chippers broken or warped? Replace them now. Make sure your car has the proper tools for a frosty morning. We always seem taken aback by that first glaze over our car windows on a fall morning, so ensure you don’t run late by having an ice scraper handy in your vehicle.
- Do fall cleaning. Most people do spring cleaning in their homes. Some even look forward to it! Fall cleaning is less popular, but no less important. Fall ushers in harvest and the busy holiday season, which means more foot traffic through your home, more messes made in the kitchen, more furniture moved around, and more decorative items going up and down. Sweep up all those dust bunnies, polish the grime off your oven and stove, purge the clutter from your drawers and cabinets, and make your home a “blank slate.” The less you have out and about at the beginning of fall, the less your home will feel crowded and cluttered at the end of the holiday season.
- Replace your candles and fragrances around your home. Whether you use soy candles, wax melts, air freshener, or essential oils, one of the most exciting things about fall is the return of some favorite fragrances. All things spice, evergreen, cedar, citrus, and cinnamon are back! Pull out your favorite oils or take a special trip to the store to browse the new, seasonal scents.
- Change out your wardrobe. It’s time to pull out your cozy knits, coats, scarves, and boots. Give all your pieces a good inspection for holes or moth damage before placing them in your closets, and wash or dry clean items that need from freshening up. Say goodbye to your tank tops and short, and use this time to assess which items you loved and which never made it onto your back this last summer. Purging as you put away makes it that much easier to pull things back out next year already knowing you love each and every piece.
- Add those final, cozy touches. Start snatching up the pumpkins and squash that appear in local markets and display them around the house as they wait to be used in your meals. Pull out the knitted throws and cozy blankets you stored away for the summer. Stack some fresh firewood next to your fireplace. If you live in a snowy climate have a basket of house slippers near your front door for guests who have to remove their shoes when they come over. Bake a pie or some ginger snap cookies. Above all, enjoy the cooler temperatures!
Mary Beth Gibson graduated from Wichita State University in 2007 with a BA in Creative Writing and blogs at Bright Sycamore. She enjoys most things natural, but with a healthy dose of practicality and affordability. You can most likely find her wearing her toddler around Target as she hunts for great deals in the dollar bins. She lives in Kansas with her husband and 1-year old son.
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