Getting Your Home Ready For Fall

It would be wonderful if getting your home ready for fall were as simple as raking some leaves and hanging a wreath. Unfortunately, as a homeowner, getting your home ready for fall does require some other preparations should be done to prepare for a new season. Follow along in this month’s blog for quick tips on other things you should address inside and outside of the house before the snow flies.

Check Windows and Doors

Before winter hits make sure to check for any drafts. Make sure that you don’t have any holes or broken wood around your doors or windows. If you do notice a draft or come across some wood that needs to be replaced, you should make sure to fix it before you have to turn the thermostat on. You may just need to reseal the weather stripping around the door if it’s a small draft. Check all the windows and sliding doors as well. Leaky windows can lead to chilly drafts and elevated utility bills in the cold winter months. There are lots of different options for sealing the windows, such as specialized foam tape or door sweeps. It is important not to forget the garage when you are checking doors as well.

Clean Your Windows and Screens

If you plan it appropriately, you will be able to check the window seals when you are cleaning your windows. Having dirty windows blocks the sun’s rays and hurts the energy efficiency of your home. If you want to clean your screens, now is a good time to do it while you’re already washing the windows and while the weather is still warm.

Clean Your Gutters

One of the first things on your end-of-summer list should be to clean your rain gutters. Rain gutters can get filled with dirt, leaves, sticks and other debris that may have piled up over the season. You want to make sure you keep your gutters clean so that they don’t get clogged. Clogged gutters can’t let rainwater flow where it is supposed to go and so it runs over the edge and could potentially run over the side and erode the siding or seep into the windows.

Store Your Flower Pots

As your potted annuals come to the end of their season, throw the plant and dirt in your compost and clean out your pots for winter storage so that they will be ready for the next season.

Clean Outdoor Surfaces

Give your walkway, driveway, sidewalks and patio area a good sweep to get rid of all the dirt and debris. Then spray the surfaces down with your pressure washer and some soap, and you can make your outdoor surfaces sparkle again.

Wipe Down Your Outdoor Furniture

Over the course of the summer, your outdoor furniture can get quite dirty from rain, dust and general use. Hopefully, you will be able to use it for a while longer, but before you pack it up for the winter, make sure to scrub it with some warm soapy water and a cloth to get it clean.

Clean Your Outdoor Furniture Cushions

Don’t forget to give your cushions a wash before you store them for the winter. Mix some dish detergent, Borax, and warm water in a bucket and scrub with a hard bristle brush. Then rinse the cushions and allow them to dry in the sun.

Clean Your Grill

After months of summer BBQs, your grill can end up pretty dirty and in need of a good clean. Before you store your grill for the winter, give it a good scrub so that you don’t attract any unwanted critters while it’s out of use.

Clean and Organize Your Garage

If at the beginning of every season you take a little bit of time to clean up and organize your garage, then it becomes a small task that prepares you for all the activities in the coming season.

Service Summer Equipment

Before storing spring and summer equipment, clean and service it or take it to a small engine repair shop for maintenance. If you choose to do it yourself, drain and change engine oil and safely dispose of the old oil. Unused fuel left in gas tanks over the winter can go stale and even damage the equipment. Before storing equipment, add a fuel stabilizer to the gas tank, then run the equipment to distribute it. Turn the engine off, allow the machine to cool, then restart and run until the gas tank is empty. Make sure that you have made space to store all summer equipment so that you aren’t tripping over it all weekend.

Prepare Winter Equipment

If you plan on using a snow blower this winter, make sure to do the appropriate maintenance and have it ready to go before the snow flies. Make sure you have salt on hand and a snow shovel if needed as well.

Summer Vehicles Storage

If you are a motorcyclist or an ATV enthusiast parking your machines for the winter, you should make sure you have a space ready to store them, and if you have the option to cover them for the winter, I would suggest doing that.

Prepare your Mudroom

As summer comes to an end and we need to trade flip flops and shorts for winter boots and coats, it is important to remember that you will need a space for these boots and coats so that they don’t end up taking over your mudroom. Make sure you’re prepared for this season change.

Clean Heat Registers and Vents

You can choose to do this yourself or hire a professional to clean them out, which I recommend if it has been a while since they have been cleaned. If you want to clean your vents yourself, take your vacuum and vacuum over each heat register to clear out any dirt, dust or debris that has settled in over the summer months. Keeping your vents clean helps your furnace run more efficiently.

Inspect Your Furnace

This one doesn’t generally take long, but it should be something you do on a yearly basis. Do a basic check of your furnace and if anything looks abnormal to you, you should call in a professional to take a look. Save yourself the added cost and be proactive. Now would be a good time to put in a new filter too if you haven’t recently. Replacing your furnace’s filter is a key to keeping your system running smoothly. Make sure you know what type of filter you need before buying a new one, as there are lots of different options available.

Clean Your Humidifiers

If you actively use a humidifier, especially during the dry winter months, you should make sure to clean it periodically. Clean the nozzles and change the water filter.

I hope you can use these tips to have your home ready for fall and winter. I’d like to hear from you; What are some things that you make sure to do to prepare for fall? Leave it in the comments!

Organization Tips from the Pros

Amid this pandemic, it seems almost impossible to have any plans or have a sense of organization most of the time. All the chaos around us can make life feel a bit overwhelming sometimes. So it’s an excellent time to take a deep breath and focus on the things we can control. Most of us are spending more time at home than ever before, and with these organization tips from the pros, your house can look better than ever and give you some much-needed peace. 

Focus on One Area at a Time

We often have multiple areas in our home that need some organization, but it’s essential to start with just one. You may choose to begin in a high-traffic area that needs some added functionality, or rather a space that causes you the most frustration. The space choice is entirely up to you, and any area will work, as long as it’s only one. Trying to organize multiple rooms at a time can quickly become overwhelming and lead to giving up altogether. Once you have finished organizing your first space, treat yourself and take a much-deserved break before moving onto your next area. 

Purge, Purge, Purge

Your first step, before you organize anything, is to remove anything that you don’t need! You don’t want to waste time organizing things that you don’t need to keep. If you’re anything like me, you understand how this can be a daunting process. I am always clinging to everything with a memory or clothing that I may wear someday (even if it is three sizes too small)! But let’s face it, we don’t need to keep everything. So if you don’t wear it or use it, consider this a good time for it to go. Decluttering is always the first step in any organizational project because you don’t want to organize clutter. 

Create the Vision Before You Start

Have you ever started organizing something with a kinda-sorta vision? I certainly have! If you haven’t made this mistake, then let me save you some time and frustration. Always create the vision before you start organizing the space. You will want to treat your organizational project much like a 5th-grade short story project. You have to brainstorm and do a rough draft before the final draft of your short story, right?

Well, this is similar; you will want to brainstorm, asking yourself questions like:

  • “What is the highest priority in this space?”
  • “Do I want to focus on functionality? Or visual appeal? Maybe a little of both?”
  • “What do I often use and need to keep accessible?”
  • “What items can be stored high because I don’t need them as often?”

Take the time to write down your vision, and then you can tackle the project with a solid plan, saving yourself a lot of time and frustration in the long run. You may also find it helpful to share your vision with someone that knows you well, to get some extra insight.

Make Sure That Everything Has a Place

When we have too much stuff in our homes without a place to go, it becomes impossible to clean it. Every item in your home needs to have its place. For example, a spoon; if I saw a spoon laying on the floor, I would know exactly where it needs to go. Just like this spoon, all items in your home need to have their designated place. So that when you see something lying around, without hesitation, you know where it goes. If something in your home doesn’t have a place, you need to either designate it a home or get rid of it. 

Maximize your Space

Storage space can be vital in the process of making sure that everything has a place. If you need more storage space, take a closer look at where there may be some wasted space. Over doors and underneath beds are commonly overlooked areas that are ideal for storage. Don’t forget to use wasted vertical space; Shelving can go all the way to the ceiling if you’d like. Just try only to store the items you don’t use quite as often at the top. Utilizing wall space with wall shelves or hooks is another excellent way to maximize space. If your linen closet is overflowing with bulky towels, add a few extra hooks on the bathroom wall for them and free up some space in your linen closet.

Put Items away Now, No Procrastinating

Too often, we fall into the temptation to set something down with the intention of putting it away later. But as always, life happens, and it doesn’t get put away as intended. If you want to make a noticeable difference in your space, always push yourself to put things away in the moment. No more procrastinating, and I promise you won’t regret it!

Try to Avoid Distractions

Once you have started organizing an area, try to avoid answering a phone alerting you of texts or phone calls that can derail your organizational plans. If you need to put your phone on silent or even shut it off, don’t feel bad doing so. In the process of organizing, we often have to sift through a lot of different stuff. Make sure none of these items send you down another path; Reminiscing on old memories, reading a book you meant to read, paying bills, etc. If you planned to organize, then you need to stay focused on that task. One of the biggest obstacles I encounter is the desire to match long-lost companions with their mates. Before I know it, I have spent way too much time looking for the missing lid for the lone bowl, finding the other sock, or trying to figure out where this stray cord belongs. Instead, create a box for these items that are missing their mate, and set it aside. Don’t let it derail your organizing momentum. These mismatched items will reunite eventually, and if they don’t, you can toss or donate them. 

These are some of my favourite organization methods, but I would love to hear yours! Comment below to share what tips help you keep your home or office organized.

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