By Judy L. Marchman
With the advent of colder (or cooler, depending on where you live) weather and the hectic holiday season, right now is a perfect time to spend a weekend to prepare your new home for fall.
We asked Gus Lopez, a certified green builder and owner of A-One Construction & Design in Glendale, Calif., and professional home organizer Amy Tokos, of FreshlyOrganized.com in Omaha, Neb. and a member of the National Association of Professional Organizers, for some tips on maintaining both the exterior and the interior of your new house this autumn and into winter.
Here’s their advice on prepping your home for cooler weather:
1. Keep your roof in great shape.
Let’s start from the top, says Lopez. It’s important to ensure your roof remains in good shape by checking it for debris that may clog gutters or cause roof damage. If you have trees that have matured, he suggests trimming any branches that hang over or are in contact with the roof to avoid damage from strong winds.
2. Store your lawn and garden supplies.
Fall is a good time, says Tokos, to put away the lawn and gardening supplies (and bring out the snow blower and snow shovels, if you live in areas that can expect plenty of wintry weather). She suggests cleaning your gardening equipment prior to storage, that way you’ll have your tools and flowerpots in better shape for spring.
3. Clean your gutters and downspouts.
Inspect and clean your gutters and downspouts to remove leaves and debris for better roof drainage, advises Lopez. He also suggests checking and maintaining all ground drainage areas and culverts to make sure water flows where it should during heavy rains (and not into your house!).
4. Organize and clean your garage.
Tokos advises organizing your garage in different zones (example: kids’ stuff, sports equipment, yard equipment, tools, household items, trash/recycling) for easier identification, as well as storing items that you use often in easy-to-reach or “prime real estate” areas.
5. Inventory your holiday decorations.
As you decorate for the various holidays this fall and find yourself not putting all of your decorations out, consider donating what you don’t use, says Tokos.
She also suggests that when putting decorations away, make sure to store everything associated with a particular holiday away together. That includes items like holiday napkins, dish towels, even kids’ socks. That way, you’ll know exactly where they are and can pull them out the next fall.
6. Insulate your pipes.
Prior to the first freeze, you should disconnect any water hoses and insulate exterior pipes and faucets, says Lopez. He also advises covering all vents under the house to prevent cold spots under the house and to insulate your pipes. (An extra tip from Lopez: Keeping your pipes insulated year-round can help reduce your home’s energy use.)
7. Clean out your pantry.
You can get a head start on the season of cooking by organizing your pantry. Tokos advises setting up food zones (example: snacks, condiments, pasta/grains, baking, breakfast) in the pantry so you know what you have and can make better decisions when planning dinner or stocking up for the holidays.
8. Organize your linen closet.
One way to prepare for holiday company is cleaning out the linen closet, says Tokos, who advises arranging the closet in zones to make it easy for your guests to find blankets, towels or extra pillows during their stay.
In the “why didn’t I think of that?” category, Tokos also suggest storing your sheet sets in the matching pillowcase for a neat display and to keep the set from getting separated in the closet.
What do you do to get your house ready for fall?
Judy Marchman is a freelance writer and editor, with 20 years of magazine and book publishing experience. She writes about a variety of home-related topics for NewHomeSource.