September is a time of change, so get your home ready for the season ahead by ticking off these to-dos, from adding cozy layers to scheduling necessary maintenance — and then curl up in your favorite chair and savor the comforts of home.
Tasks To Accomplish In An Hour Or Less
Cozy Up With Warm Layers
Have you felt that first nip in the air? When you do, think about swapping out lighter-weight bedding for flannel sheets and fluffy duvets. Bring added warmth to the other rooms with throws and pillows in rich fabrics. Thicker area rugs and curtains not only feel cozier, but they also can actually help your home feel warmer — and cut down on your energy bills.
If you have a wood stove and use it for actual warmth or just for coziness, now is a good time to order firewood. Don’t store large quantities of wood directly against the house, which can encourage pests, but keep it protected from rain and snow beneath a shelter.
Check Safety Devices
Test smoke detectors and carbon monoxide detectors; replace batteries as needed. Check the expiration date on your fire extinguisher and replace if needed.
Set Up Kids’ Schoolwork Area
Give children an area to do their schoolwork that is comfortable, attractive and well-organized. Ideally, make a large surface available for spreading out big or messy projects. The dinner table can work, but if you have the room, consider adding a dedicated project table or large desk surface and keep the necessary supplies nearby.
Tackle These Over a Weekend
Clean Leather Furniture
It’s important to know whether your leather furniture has a finish before treating it with any products, so check labels or look up the item on the retailer’s or manufacturer’s website before you begin.
- For unprotected leather (also called aniline), less is more when it comes to cleaning: Wipe with a clean, dry or slightly dampened cloth with distilled water.
- For protected leather (also called semianiline or pigmented), you can make your own cleaning solution by adding a few drops of mild nondetergent soap to distilled water, or use a commercial leather cleaning product. Apply with a microfiber cloth.
Remove Window AC Units
If you use window air-conditioning units, now is the time to either remove them or cover them outside with protective insulation. Removing the units is the better option because this will allow you to close the windows, minimizing winter heat loss. If you choose to leave them in over the winter, be sure to pick up insulating covers made for this purpose and securely attach them.
Newer double-pane windows may not need weatherstripping, but it will help most older windows retain heat and stop drafts. Check areas with previously applied weatherstripping and remove or replace as needed.
Freshen Up Your Fall Wardrobe
Take the opportunity to sort through your wardrobe and remove pieces you no longer wear. Collect clothes that need repair and move summer clothes to an out-of-the-way spot so that your fall wardrobe can be front and center. Polish shoes, remove pilling from coats and sweaters, and clean out handbags and totes.
Inspect The Roof And Gutters
It’s generally fine to wait until most of the leaves have fallen in autumn to clean out the gutters and downspouts, but giving these areas a quick visual inspection now is a good idea. Pull out any sticks or other debris blocking the gutters, and make note of any worn-out seals around vent pipes and chimneys. If you do not feel comfortable on a ladder, or have a home of two or more stories, hire someone to do a quick inspection for you. Schedule any needed repairs now so that your home will be ready for winter.
Maintenance and Extras to Budget for This Month
Schedule Chimney And Furnace Maintenance
Make sure your fireplace and heating system are clean, safe and ready to go by having a pro look at them now. Having your chimney cleaned will also ensure that you don’t try to start a fire when an animal family (or an old nest) is inside. And if you don’t have a chimney cap yet, speak with your chimney expert about adding a one. The metal cap with screened sides can prevent critters from getting in and helps protect your roof from burning embers.
Maintain The Washer And Dryer
Cleaning out the dryer vents can be a job you do yourself, but if you don’t feel comfortable doing so (or if you’ve been putting it off), you may want to hire a pro to do washer and dryer maintenance for you. Washing-machine hoses need to be replaced from time to time, and a cracked hose can cause a leak — which can mean costly damage to your home. Clean dryer vents and hoses will help your machine work more efficiently and reduce the risk of fire.
Consider Increasing Insulation
Looking for a way to save on your energy bills this winter? You may want to think about adding insulation to your attic space or inside walls. This can make a big difference in how well your home retains heat in winter and stays cool in summer.
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