While it may still feel a lot like summer, September signals the official kickoff of the fall season, which means it’s time to bring on the fall decor and all things pumpkin-spiced as well as the rakes, the weather stripping and the heavier clothing. So here’s a handy to-do list to help you navigate the switch from the summer doldrums to glorious fall.
1. Do a whole-house declutter in preparation for the fall and winter holidays when new items are bound to enter your home. Doing it now will also make the season easier to navigate and less overwhelming. With a donation box and a trash bag by your side, tackle each room, looking for things that are no longer useful in your home. Start early and spread this task over the month, dividing it into manageable chunks of time. Even 15 minutes of decluttering can yield a tidied sock drawer, a paired down make-up collection or a more manageable spice cabinet.
2. On a cool day, head up to the attic to continue your decluttering mission. If items have been tucked away for a year or more, it may be time to find them new homes with friends, family or a donation center.
3. Take advantage of back-to-school clearance sales to stock up on supplies for your home office or items the kids will surely need come January, when school items will have returned to full price.
4. Assess the fall and winter wardrobes of the entire family. This will be easiest to accomplish as you go through the decluttering process. Make a note of any items that need to be replaced because they are in poor condition or no longer fit, and keep your eye out for seasonal sales.
5. Remove window air-conditioning units to prevent warm air from escaping during the winter months. This will save on heating bills. While you’re at it, check for worn or damaged weather stripping around windows and doors and replace as needed.
6. Order firewood for the fireplace and backyard fire pit. Those cool fall evenings are right around the corner.
7. Don’t forget to schedule a chimney sweep to check your fireplace and chimney to make sure they are in good working order before you enjoy your first fire of the season. Build-up of soot and smoke, and bird’s nests are all safety hazards.
8. Check your front porch and backyard areas for items that should be tucked away for the fall and winter. Once it’s too cold to sit outside, wash and store outdoor cushions, put outdoor toys in storage, and bring in any delicate plants for the colder months. It’s also a great time to clean the grill and make sure it has a sturdy cover to protect it from harsh weather.
9. September is also an excellent time to assess the condition of rakes and leaf blowers and think ahead about snow shovels. If anything needs to be repaired or replaced, it’s best to do it now before wait times are long or supplies are scarce.
10. Depending on your climate, you might need to turn on your heat in September or October. Make an appointment now to have your system checked because service technicians are often booked out more than a month at a time.
11. It’s hard to believe, but the fall and winter holidays are just around the corner. Don’t get caught without travel plans and reservations. Be sure to have those conversations with family now to avoid higher transportation costs and booked hotels.
12. Take advantage of cooler temperatures to enjoy some outdoor family fun. Fall is prime time for outdoor street festivals, hiking in the woods, sporting events, bike riding and even the simple joys of strolling your neighborhood streets and greenways.