In late September every year, it hits you: Fall is here! Where did the summer go?
Fall is a time we associate with pumpkins
, colorful leaves and crisper, cooler air. But it’s also a time to switch your home from summer mode to autumn mode. Here, we’ve raked the landscape to supply eight tips for getting your home ready for fall.
1. Go deep with your cleaning.
Matthew Baratta, vice president of operations at Daimer Industries
, which sells commercial and industrial cleaning equipment, suggests homeowners undertake a deep cleaning
to usher in the fall. This includes a thorough cleaning of carpets
and upholstery to remove dirt, dust mites, germs and allergens that accumulated during the summer. This sort of deep cleaning might cut down on the chances of someone in your house getting sick.
2. Check the windows.
Brandi Andrews, founder and CEO of National Air Warehouse
, a wholesaler of HVAC equipment, says some of the air that’s heating your home in the fall could be seeping out of your windows. Therefore, make sure your windows are closed tightly, she advises.
Marty Basher, home organization expert at Modular Closets
, offers these additional window tips:
- Examine the caulking around all your windows and re-caulk the problem spots.
- Put up storm windows (and doors).
- Consider installing heavy drapes to help insulate your house.
3. Determine your thermostat setting.
Many people set their thermostat in a hurry when cold weather settles in and wind up leaving it much higher than it needs to be, Andrews says. Then, when the house becomes too warm, they lower the thermostat drastically.
“It takes most people a few weeks to find their preferred temperature and, in the meantime, they waste money on the constant changes,” she says.
During the fall and winter, some experts suggest putting your thermostat at 68 degrees while people are at home and awake but turning it down by as much as 10 degrees while people are asleep or away from home.
“If you want to save money this fall and winter on your heating costs, then go purchase a pair of slippers, a warm sweater and a blanket now. That should keep you from turning the heat up higher,” Andrews says.
4. Review your clothing collection.
Before it’s time for everyone in your house to bundle up with coats, scarves, gloves and boots, you should be sure there’s enough space for all of those bulky items in your mudroom or entryway, Basher says. Otherwise, you might end up with an ever-growing pile of stuff.
- Using baskets to keep everyone’s smaller items organized.
- Installing hooks to hang coats, scarves, backpacks and other belongings.
- Putting in a rack or mat where folks can leave dirty boots.
On top of that, Basher recommends creating a space in the basement or another area to keep spring and summer clothes so you can free up space elsewhere for fall and winter clothes. When spring rolls around, you’ll do the reverse.
Before you put away the spring and summer clothes, think about which garments could be sold, donated to charity or simply thrown away.
“Don’t use the word ‘need,’ but think about why you are keeping an item,” professional organizer Ben Soreff
recommends. “Is it more of keepsake or was it a gift? … Maybe it is itchy or doesn’t fit right.”
Any items you save should be kept in clear bins, Soreff says, and should be labeled to indicate what’s inside.
5. Tidy up your garage.
Once the calendar flips from summer to fall, you’ll want to clear out lawn and garden equipment as well as other seasonal gear to perhaps carve out space for at least one of your vehicles. In addition, you should sift through what’s in your garage and decide whether any unused stuff can be tossed or sold.
“The key to an organized garage
is to use the spaces that aren’t being used — namely wall space,” Basher says. “Installing hooks, hanging shelving and other ways to bring your items off the floor and onto the walls is ideal.”
6. Do an outdoors audit.
In many parts of the country, the onset of fall means it’s time to look around outside and see what needs to be put away or protected for fall and winter. Basher says this includes outdoor water features, outdoor furniture
, the grill, garden hoses and potted plants.
7. Clean the gutters.
Clogged rain gutters can cause water to collect around the foundation of your home and produce damage that’s costly to repair, according to Basher. If you live in a place where the temperature dips below 32 degrees, clogged gutters also might create potentially harmful ice dams.
Another gutter warning from Basher: “The weight of water, twigs and other debris may increase loosening of gutters from wall and cause them to pull away from their attachments. This may lead to damage to your siding or trim.”
8. Sweep the chimney.
The chimney is more than a chute for Santa to drop into your home. It also gets rid of fireplace smoke, toxins and fumes that can harm your health, Basher notes. Moreover, a dirty chimney coated with creosote (a byproduct of burning wood) and soot can cause a fire that could damage or destroy your home or could injure or kill someone, according to the Chimney Safety Institute of America
“A clean chimney means a safer, more efficient fireplace and home-heating appliance,” Basher says.