The sun's starting to set earlier, doonas are coming back onto the bed, you'll even occasionally have to sleep with the window closed - that's right, unfortunately summer is starting to draw to a close. That's going to be exciting news for many of us though, as autumn can bring some incredible moments of undisturbed golden calm and beauty.
Evergreen trees start to stand fresh, tall and proud, while other lawns are covered in a golden blanket of leaves that almost acts like an echo of the shining sun. Before you get right into the swing of autumn though, you should make sure your house is ready!
The weather will change, and the sun may have taken its toll on your property, but let's look at what you can do to keep your home looking smart as we head into March.
1. Check your Fire Alarms
As it begins to get colder, we'll all start using fireplaces and heaters. With great comfort comes great responsibility, and that's why you should make sure the smoke alarms in your house are functioning. The Victorian Metropolitan Fire Brigade recommends replacing the 9-volt battery in your smoke alarms every year when daylight savings ends - that's the first Sunday of April for those in the states that don't take part! Also, keep in mind that houses built after 1997 need to have fire alarms connected to 240-volt power mains.
2. Check for Leaks Inside and Out
You always want the home to be nice and dry for autumn and winter, so now's the time to check up on all of your windows and doors. Seek out any leaks, and re-seal the gaps! That way you'll stop any invasive draughts, as well as preventing water leakage when the weather inevitably comes to rain on your parade.
Don’t forget to inspect all your outdoor taps as well and if you have one, your outside shower, for any leaks. These often have a slow drip which can add significantly to your water bill. Fix these as required.
3. Tidy the Front of your Home
If you are thinking about selling later in the year, the end of summer can be a great time for beautification works on the facade of your home. Even if you don't sell over winter, maximising that curb appeal will make your home catch the eye of anyone nearby. A fresh coat of paint, removing the clutter and maybe getting some autumn-friendly flowers arranged in your front yard or in pots can be just the touch you need.
4. Declutter the Gutter
This one's a bit fiddly but it has to be done! Getting up high with a ladder and ensuring your gutters are clean, clear and strong is vital. They'll be seeing a lot more action over winter so you need to make sure they can hold up to rainwater and foliage.
Keeping those leaks from before in mind, it's worth checking the roof for any cracking, loose tiles or similar damage as well.
5. Clean Out Your Vents
If you have air conditioning or other ventilation systems in your home, there's every chance that bacteria and grime have built up over summer. The humidity forms a fertile breeding ground for bacteria, so going through these systems with appropriate cleaners is a great move before you shut them off.
Think about dehumidifying the home as well! Getting most of the moisture out of the house is great preparation for autumn and winter. Keeping homes dry is a great way to help protect against pesky winter colds in advance. Clean out dryer vents and hoses as well, and your dryer will work more efficiently.
6. Pet Care
Pets are like us, they like clean beds to sleep on so now is the time to clean and sanitize their bedding and living spaces both indoors and out. Wash and dry their bedding and ensure they have a warm place to settle down for the night, away from draughts and rain that will come with the season change.
7. Clean Out the Kitchen
Don’t worry, we aren’t suggesting you need to clean out each cupboard, but rather focus on some of the less attractive cleaning tasks… cleaning the garbage bins! Rinse out the kitchen bin and any recycle containers with warm soapy water. Add a splash of disinfectant for a fresh smell and to kill any lurking bacteria.
Wipeout under the sink and organize all your cleaning equipment. A tidy space will make you feel super organized!
8. Organise Summer Gear
Start to collect all those summer toys that the kids have been playing with outside over the last few months and give them a good clean with soap and water. Make sure you throw out or recycle any broken toys.
Before you pack away your beach umbrella and towels check their condition. Is the umbrella still working, are the beach towels badly frayed? Depending on their condition consider throwing them out and take advantage of any end of season sales to restock your summer necessities – ready for the end of the year.
9. Sort Through Your Wardrobes
As summer comes to an end, spend an hour or so going through your clothes. If you haven’t worn some of your clothes or accessories all summer and they don’t have any sentimental value, consider donating them to charity or selling them on consignment or on eBay.
Culling your summer wardrobe now is easier as you’ll know what you have worn over the last few months and won’t get carried away thinking oh I might want to wear that… but never do. The other benefit of clearing space is to allow for any new autumn purchases.
10. Inspect the Roof
Now is the time to check your roof for broken tiles, worn out seals around vent pipes and damage to chimneys. Finding and fixing these before the weather changes are much easier. This can be a tricky job and certainly one that may be more suited to a professional.
11. Clean the Laundry
The laundry is one of the most used rooms in the home but is often overlooked when it comes to cleaning. By spending an hour tidying it up thought will help make doing the chores all that more pleasant.
Clean out the dryer vents of any lint, remove any items around the edges of your dryer as it can prohibit ventilation and can be dangerous. Wipe down all surfaces, window sills, tops of washing machines and around the buttons where the washing powder may have fallen. Mop the floor and throw or put away any items that may have accumulated in the laundry or in the case things I have found in my kids' pockets like handballs, toys, pencil…you name it
Are you missing anything that would make doing laundry easier? Consider adding a surface for folding clothes, better lighting, a rolling laundry basket with dividers or a garment rack.
This checklist isn't just for rounding out the summer, it's helpful preparation for the seasons ahead. Keeping your home warm and dry will make the middle of the year much easier and relaxing. You'll be able to curl up in front of the fire and not have to worry about certain bits of maintenance at all! You can thank us later on.