Fall is time to clean so you can relax and enjoy the winter holidays. Make a list of all the chores you want to accomplish and evaluate what you can do yourself and what you need to hire out. Many times it is wiser to find professionals who can save you time and money by doing a difficult job properly, and perhaps do it more safely.
- Collect all your green tomatoes before the first frost. Wrap each individually in a piece of newspaper and pack loosely in a box. Check one a week for ripeness.
- Visit local nurseries, check on new varieties, and ask advice for winter pruning and fall gardening. Plant fall bulbs now for color next spring.
- Collect all your hazardous materials and take them to the hazardous wastemobile when it visits your community.
- Clean your garage. Pack up unneeded items and donate to charitable organizations such as Community Services for the Blind, Goodwill, Salvation Army, or other organizations. Remember to make a list for a tax deduction.
- Check your water heater for leaks and remember that water heaters have a limited lifespan. Have a plan for it failing.
- Check your windows and doors for air leaks. Replace weatherstripping, caulk, and seal.
- Check your furnace, replace filters, and consider having it professionally cleaned in which the ducts are vacuumed.
- Treat your deck and steps so that they will be not slippery in the rainy season.
- Clean your gutters and sweep your roof to allow the water to flow freely down your drainpipes. If you have overhanging trees, have them cut away from your house if you want to reduce the amount of debris on your roof.
- Clean and cover your lawn furniture. Cushions can be cleaned, dried, and put in plastic. If you have dog or cat hair on the cushion, wipe it with a damp cloth and the hair will clump and be easy to remove. Any mold or mildew that has accumulated on your metal or plastic should be removed with a nonabrasive cleaner, brush, or sponge.
- Cover your BBQ and propane tank to prevent rust. If you have rust already, check into a rust remover before you cover it for winter.
- Plant lawn seed now on bare spots. According to Lance of Most Lawns Cut and Edged, many people tend to cut their lawns too short, thinking they can get by with less work for a longer period of time. A short, well-tended lawn may look better, but because the height of a blade of grass is proportionate to its roots, the grass may die when the roots can't go down deep enough to bring up water. Raising the lawn mower blade for a longer cut may result in a greener lawn. Lance recommends grass clippings be left on the lawn as mulch and fertilizer.