Monday, September 22nd is the first official day of FALL! In today's NY POST, Barbara K tells us how to get our house ready for the season. Oh, and this pug isn't Phoebe, just a random, but he was too cute to not post.
THERE'S a lot to love about autumn - crisp, dry air, brilliant foliage, fabulous boots and bags (hey, even a DIY expert has to have style!). But along with the season comes chores that need to be completed before the snow flies. Here's my list of fall cleanup and prep jobs; try breaking up the list over a couple of days or weekends to make it less onerous. When you're done, you can enjoy the coming months in a comfortable house, free of worry and nagging to-do lists!
1. Scrub and store
Use a mild soap-and-water solution and a soft sponge to wash outdoor furniture, and follow the manufacturer's instructions for cleaning your grill. Store outdoor gear in your basement or storage room, or if you don't have one, protect items with a tarp or covers; patiofurniturecovers.com sells vinyl ones starting at $20 for a chair cover and $28 for a grill cover.
2. Clean out garden beds and pots
Cut back or deadhead perennials, and remove dead or fading annuals. Mulch around perennials and shrubs. Get rid of weeds and fertilize beds and grass lawns, then plant bulbs for next spring.
3. Wash your home's exterior
Rent a power washer and give your deck a good wash-down. Once it is thoroughly dry (you might need to wait a few days), reseal it. (SoyGuard makes an environmentally safe sealer for wooden decks.) Make sure your siding and foundation are clean and check for cracks and peeling paint. Make the outside (and inside!) of your windows sparkle with an eco-friendly solution of vinegar, water and a few drops of a mild liquid soap. Use an old T-shirt for a lint- and streak-free shine.
4. Repair concrete, asphalt, paved stone or brick walkways, steps, patios, terraces and driveways
Check for and fix cracks, holes or other damage that can worsen during the cold months and present a hazard for pedestrians. Small cracks can be cleaned and filled with a quick-drying filler. Large cracks might need to be dug out and cleaned, then filled.
5. Clean air-conditioners
If you have an individual unit, remove from window and clean and replace filter. If you have central air, have the system serviced and cleaned.
6. Save money and energy by ensuring your house is sealed and your heating system is in top-notch condition
First, make sure there are no leaks around windows and doors by caulking and applying self-adhesive weather stripping. Replace storm doors and windows (and take down and store screens and screen doors). Make sure the filter in your heating system has been cleaned or replaced.
7. Refresh your bedroom
Now is the time to flip and turn your mattress. First, strip the bed, vacuum the side that's up, then flip and turn and vacuum the "new" side. Wash your window treatments. If you have a ceiling fan in your room, clean the blades - the Fuller Brush company makes a "Reach It Ceiling Fan Duster."
8. Clean and turn rugs
Vacuum all your rugs, turn them upside down and vacuum the backside, as well. When you place them right side up, turn them to help create even wear.
9. Clean upholstery
Using a nozzle attachment, vacuum all your sofas and chairs, and have them professionally cleaned or do a spot clean yourself (Zout is excellent for spot cleaning).
10. Clean out your fireplace
If it's been more than two years, hire a chimney sweep. Stock your hearth with seasoned hardwood.
Make yourself some hot cocoa and admire your handiwork. If I can do it, so can you!