These are a few of the things that I try to get done in the fall since a little prevention can save money down the road.
· Wash the inside and outside windows of the house. Two easy tips: find a cloudy day to complete your task and use newspapers to dry the windows. They don't leave lint behind and tend to result in streak-free windows. Also hose off the screens and store them for winter. Hosing screens is an activity that kids enjoy as they have fun getting rid of the dust and dirt with the hose.
· Winterize the lawn mower and wash and clean it for winter storage. By keeping your mower nice and clean - and its blade sharp - you'll help extend the life of the mower.
· Give the grill a good cleaning and make sure it is stored in a proper place for winter. That may mean disconnecting the propane tank, or it may mean disposing of the old charcoal in a safe manner. I love using Soft Scrub to clean my grill as it cuts through the grease with minimal effort.
· Get your lawn ready for winter. For me that means putting down the last round of fertilizer, getting the yard aerated and mowing the lawn short. I have found that if my lawn is short, it tends to discourage winter rodent guests from taking refuge in my grass.
· Flip the mattresses. A great way to extend the life of a mattress is to make sure that it gets even wear and tear by flipping it. Doing so ensures that your bed doesn't all of a sudden become one where you always roll into the middle.
· Check the smoke detectors. What could be easier and have the potential to save a life?
· Change or clean your furnace filter. Some filters need to be replaced monthly and some less frequently. Save money on your heating and cooling costs by making sure you have a clean filter; your furnace and air conditioner will run more efficiently.
· Have the kids try on their winter clothing now. Take the time to assess what fits and what needs to be purchased. If you have kids in elementary school, it is always a good idea to have two pairs of snow pants, one for at home and one to be kept at school. Watch for sales at local department stores and purchase now while the selection is best. I always buy each child a good pair of gloves that they wear when they are playing outside for hours on end and need those fingers to stay nice and toasty. I also buy several pairs of inexpensive gloves that they take to school as these gloves seem to always lose a mate or two before the snow season is over.
· As the leaves fall off of the trees, remember to take a look at your gutters. Keep them clean of debris so that you have good flow of moisture off of the house, which prevents water from being forced into the eaves.
· Make sure to unhook and dry out all hoses that are attached to your house to prevent them from freezing and ultimately backing up the damage into your water lines.
· Clear out the summer clothes and shoes in order to make room for the winter ones. And as you know, winter clothes and gear take up a lot of room, so be diligent when making room so that everything isn't packed so tight that it is easier to leave clothes on the floor rather than hang them up. Do you have kids who never hang their stuff up? Make sure that you have hooks at their level to encourage them to be responsible with their belongings. As for snow boots, think about purchasing a shoe mat with a lip on it to hold the water from snow melting off boots.
· Schedule the carpets to be cleaned. Summer has come to an end, and the chances of muddy bare feet running through the house are slim. Did you know that you can extend the life of your carpet by having your guests take off their shoes when they enter your home? Of course there are exceptions, so be polite about it. If you could just get your immediate family to do that it would be a huge help! My family members take their shoes off in the garage so that they don't all get dumped in the entry of our home.
· Clean out the garage. Hose off bikes and lawn furniture before storing them away. Pick a sunny day so that they can dry before bringing them back into the garage. To inhibit mold growth, double check and make sure all cushions are dry before packing away. Think about putting a dryer sheet in between each cushion as you pack them. Look at your garage ceiling or walls for storage opportunities for bikes. Think about storage between your ceiling in the garage and the garage door.
· Freeze tomatoes. This is a new tip that I recently learned: simply place whole tomatoes in freezer storage bags. This works great for those winter soups and stews that call for tomatoes. The skins come off easily as the tomatoes defrost.
What are your Fall tips....please share!
To Joyful, Simplified Living,