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The Ultimate Fall Cleanup Tips



 


 

Where did Spring and Summer go? But the reality is, Autumn is here. And with it comes the fall chores of preparing for the Winter months. Use these brisk and breezy days to conquer tasks for a clean and comfortable winter home, and to wrap up summer’s outdoor lifestyle. Here are some tips to help you prepare home and hearth for the coming of winter:


Outside The House

Clean and store patio furniture, umbrellas, and children’s summer toys. Patio furniture especially needs to be protected against the sometimes fierce winter months. If you don’t have a place to store it, wrap it tightly in a tarp to keep snow and ice from damaging the furniture. Bring any cushions or pillows inside. If they will be stored in a shed, place them in a garbage bag to keep critters from finding the interior stuffing when seeking warmth. Make sure all cushions and pillows are completely dry to avoid mold growth in storage. To avoid outdoor pots from breaking during the winter, either cover them and place in a protected area, empty them or move them indoors.Winterize lawn mowers and clean garden tools. A light coating of oil on the tools will keep them from rusting over the winter.


Don’t let your leaves pile up, keep up with raking or mulching. To save some time and effort, grind up leaves with a mower instead of raking them. Tree leaves can be mulched, and the ground up leaves will help to feed the microorganisms in the soil and won’t cause any harm to your grass.


Pull up summer annuals and either compost them or appropriately dispose of them. Be careful not to compost plants that may have been infected by a disease. It is better to dispose of those plants. Plant spring bulbs like tulips, daffodils, hyacinths, alliums, etc. Fall is a great time to divide perennials, except for ones that flower in the fall. It is best to divide those in the spring.


Touch up paint on trim, railings and decks. Use a wire brush to remove flaking paint; prime bare wood first. Paint dries better and quicker in cooler, less humid weather. So fall is the perfect time to spiff up the trim around the front door and railings.

Check caulk around windows and doors. Inspect external doors and garage doors. Do they close tightly? Install weather-stripping, door thresholds if needed. When you are in the throes of a winter freeze or blizzard, the last thing you want is chilly air seeping into your home.


Wash exterior windows. Whether you do them yourself, or hire a professional, fall is the best time to wash away the spring and summer pollen and natural grime that accumulates over the spring and summer months.

In areas where the ground freezes, be sure to winterize sprinkler systems by blowing out the water in the lines and shutting down the system for the winter. Drain and store garden hoses. Install insulating covers on exterior spigots. In areas where the weather turns cold, turn off water to outside spigots. At least remove any hoses that are still attached.


Check gutters and downspouts and clear of debris if necessary. In cold-weather areas, consider installing heating cable to prevent ice dams. Have chimneys and flues professionally inspected and cleaned if necessary.

BONUS: Set up some bird feeders for over-wintering birds like cardinals.


The Inside Story

Deep clean now to take advantage of good weather and to welcome approaching holidays with a clean and comfortable home. Focus on public rooms: living room, family room, entryway, and guest bath. Clean from top to bottom.

Wash interior windows, the sills and wells. Use glass cleaner, or one squirt of dishwashing liquid in a spray bottle filled with water, and wipe down with a microfiber cloth. Pick a cloudy day so you can better see any streaks. Vacuum baseboards and corners. Vacuum upholstered furniture, or have professionally cleaned if needed. Move furniture and vacuum beneath and behind it.


Vacuum drapes and window treatments. Moderately dirty window treatments need a two-step approach. Start by dusting or vacuuming the valance and frame, then vacuum from top to bottom using the upholstery attachment for drapes, and the brush attachment for blinds. Or submerge blinds or shades in a few inches of cool water and two teaspoons of dishwashing liquid (check labels first to make sure this is safe). Take out the metal weights first; they can rust. If your window coverings are very dirty, check labels for cleaning instructions. Some cotton, polyester, rayon, and wool drapes can be machine washed on delicate. Always send lace, linen, satin, and silk drapes and shades to a professional cleaner.


Turn mattresses front-to-back and end-to-end to equalize wear. Launder or clean all bedding: mattress pads, pillows, duvets, blankets, comforters. Tuck the family into a warm and cozy winter bed.

Schedule professional carpet cleaning, warm October afternoons speed carpet drying. Carpet cleaning firms get busy by the end of October, so schedule now for best service.


Prepare the kitchen for holiday cooking. Clean and organize kitchen cabinets, paying particular attention to baking supplies, pans and equipment. Empty them, wash them down, replace liners (if you use them), declutter, and reorganize. Clear kitchen counters of all appliances not used within the last week. Clear counters look cleaner — and provide more room for holiday cooking. Pull refrigerator away from the wall, and vacuum the condenser coils. For bottom-mounted coils, use a long, narrow brush to clean coils of dust and debris.

Inspect each appliance. Does it need supplies? Stock up on softener salt now, and avoid staggering over icy sidewalks with heavy bags. Clean electronic air cleaner elements monthly for most efficient operation. Wash them in an empty dishwasher (consult manual for specific product recommendations). Clean or replace humidifier elements before the heating season begins.


Inspect washer hoses for bulges, cracks or splits. Replace them every other year. Check dryer exhaust tube and vent for built-up lint, debris or birds’ nests! Make sure the exterior vent door closes tightly when not in use.

Schedule fall furnace inspections now, don’t wait for the first cold night. Buy a winter’s supply of furnace filters. Change filters monthly for maximum energy savings and indoor comfort. When the right filter is on hand, it’s an easy job. Drain sediment from hot water heaters.

BONUS: Test smoke and carbon monoxide detectors. Or install them, if you haven’t yet.


Here at Michael Roberts Construction, we make people’s home dreams come true in the Coastal Georgia area. All it takes is a phone call to start the road to a custom home, addition, or remodel. (912) 663-3141. I offer helpful hints, tricks, and other information about the home industry, pictures to provide you with inspiration for your next project, large or small, indoors or out, as well as examples of my work on my Facebook Page, Pinterest and Google Plus! Michael Roberts artfully combines the latest trends in home construction with classic elements to create an exquisite space for real families to enjoy. Licensed by the State of Georgia as a residential home builder, he thoroughly enjoys every aspect of the home building process. He offers an exemplary hands-on approach to his craft and insists upon working with his customers on a personal level to ensure complete satisfaction. Michael Roberts is a name synonymous with integrity, notable reliability, enthusiastic creativity, and award-winning design in the Coastal Georgia area. With high standards and a detail-oriented approach to home building, Roberts builds functional living spaces that make elegant southern opulence an affordable luxury.

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