5 Ways to Prep Your Home for Fall
Groom your garage
Time: 3 hours
This probably ranks high on your list of chores to put off until later, so definitely tackle it first. Mark Sunday, Sept. 12 on your calendar and participate in the second annual "National Clean Out Your Garage Day."
With any organization process, the key to cleaning is clearing away the clutter. Get rid of anything you haven’t used in two years, is broken, or otherwise considered junk. Use your driveway to look through everything you’ve piled into the garage. Then, group by use such as tools, garbage, and equipment.
Storage is key. “Make sure it’s organized, clean, and can fit cars too,” recommends Lou Manfredini, Ace Hardware’s home expert. Buy hooks to get as much as you can off the floor. Peg boards, wall shelves, rolling carts and wall hooks should be used whenever possible.
Manfredini suggests using blue painter's tape to map out where you are going to hang hoses, ladders, or sports equipment. This way, you’ll be able to place your hooks easily.
Staying organized will help you get the most of your garage all year long!
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Pack up your backyard
Time: 1 hour
Outdoor living days are dwindling so it’s time to prep your patio. Take care of your outdoor furniture and it’ll last for years.
First, clean any pieces you plan to store -- cushions, hammocks, umbrellas. Trust us, you’ll be glad you did come spring! Stack patio furniture and cushions, and store in your garage or on a covered porch. If you don’t have the room, you can leave furniture outside with heavy-duty waterproof furniture covers. These will stand up to winter weather and keep everything protected. Most granite pieces can withstand the elements so you can leave those alone, but softer stones like cast stone, marble or manufactured stone should be either covered or moved.
A common misconception is that you need to put your grill away during the colder months,” says Manfredini. “Instead, covering it will do the job and it still allows you to easily cook outdoors in winter.”
With your outdoor areas packed up, you can enjoy the cooler months guilt-free and tucked indoors.
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Clean up your home office
Time: 2 hours
A full summer of fun means you probably have plenty of digital photos to show for it. Organize your vacation photos now while it’s still fresh in your memory. Print a few that you love for chilly day pick-me-ups!
Next you’ll want to tackle your at-home workspace. With the computer off, turn keyboard upside down and shake out any crumbs. Dust computer monitor with electronic wipes, eyeglass cleaning cloth or even a used dryer sheet. Dust keys with an air duster or a small, clean paint brush.
“You’d be amazed at how much dust collects in the interior of your computer,” comments Manfredini. “This can cause your computer to run hotter and move slower.” If you have a desktop computer, check for a side panel that can be removed. To clean, use the soft brush on your canister vacuum to get deep in the core.
Don’t forget your purse! Assess your wallet and clean out items you don’t need. Say sayonara to that pool pass! File any important receipts or cards in a safe place -- ideally in a file cabinet in your home office.
A clean home office will keep you efficient and organized year-round.
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Cultivate your garden
Time: 3 hours
The beginning of fall is the perfect time to prep your lawn for a lush spring. You won’t be planting any new plants, but you’ll want to prep your green areas for the impending cold. And cooler temperatures mean you won’t be boiling in the summer sun while you work outdoors in the yard.
Reseed any bare spots in your lawn and use a winter fertilizer that builds resistance to the cold. Prepare for the fall and winter by mulching and pruning shrubs and trees. And always rake fallen leaves. “I always suggest that homeowners contact their local hardware dealer for recommendations on the appropriate grasses, fertilizers, pest and disease controls, and plants for their region,” says Manfredini.
Plant bulbs for spring flowers. It’s a long way off, but being able to daydream of a tulip and daffodil-covered lawn in the dead of winter will make it all worthwhile.
Update your kitchen
Time: 20 minutes
It’s time to swap out those pastel dish towels! A quick switch of a few small appliances and gadgets will get your kitchen ready for cooking and entertaining this fall.
Switch out your pot holders and dish towels for warmer tones and fall motifs where necessary. Those cute lemon wedge glasses were fun for summer lemonade, but not so much for spiked cider. Store your seasonal tableware in the basement or on a high shelf in your kitchen pantry.
Put away the margarita maker (aka the blender) and break out the electric kettle. ‘Tis the season for tea and cocoa! And you’ll be more likely to turn on your oven in cooler weather so dust off your casserole dishes and roasting pans. Comfort foods are back! If you don’t already have one, invest in a cast iron grill pan so you can enjoy grilled foods all year long.
Organize your kitchen shelves as well to fit the new season. Move your ice cream bowls to a higher shelf and the mugs back down to eye level. Clean out your pantry and make room for canned staples.
And locate your apple cutter gadget for what’s sure to be a great apple pie season!