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Published May 4th 2015
A few hours each weekend will have your home looking good
Autumn is my favourite time of year, but after a long summer spent out and about having fun, home can start to look somewhat neglected. When you own a home, there is much responsibility to keep it looking neat and tidy, and also in good repair. Even if you rent, you still need to keep it looking neat, and keep it a cheery place to live in.
Autumn is always the best time to get plenty of jobs done before the cold weather arrives. I find it is the busiest time of year in the house and garden. Here is a timely reminder of what may need doing at your place.
1. Take a pen and notebook and stroll around your garden.
Write a list of jobs that need doing, such as replacing dead or tired looking plants, pruning shrubs and trees, or tending to the lawn. Perhaps a fence needs repairing or painting. Make a shopping list based on the plants you need, so when you get to the nursery, you buy what you need, rather than an impulse plant.
Also make a hardware store list. Put these chores on your calendar and spend an hour or two on them every weekend over the coming months so they will get done. Also plan now for next summer's heat. What does your home need? Perhaps some window awnings, or a pergola area to sit under some shade. Soon you will be all toasty warm indoors and forget what you wished for last summer. Plan and budget for it now, both with finances and your time.
Outdoor furniture may need repair, painting or even covering for the Winter. Image by a-mblomma on pixabay.com
Some may need painting, or covering up for winter. You may even want to dump your old furniture and buy some new items in the spring. Put away children's playthings, such as outdoor toys and paddling pools. Leaving things out in the weather shortens their life and wastes money. Throw away anything old and not able to be repaired.
Find out from your local council when this year's hard rubbish removal will be. Then start a hard rubbish pile in your yard, so it is all set to go. I also have a scrap metal pile in my yard, and get cash for the scrap I take to the recycle yard. Ensure there is no food waste. Beer and soft drink bottles left lying around outside will encourage cockroaches, so take them to the recycle centre.
3. Clean your BBQ.
It probably got a lot of use over summer, so give it a spruce up, and then cover it and put it in the shed or under cover for winter. You will be so pleased you did it by next summer, when you have people arriving in a couple of hours, and don't find gungy grease still stuck on it.
4. Check your heating source.
If you have a fire, you need to get wood in and stack it. Your indoor heaters may need cleaning or servicing. Perhaps you decide it's a good time to get insulation to cut down on power bills. Check around doors and windows where draught gets in, and attend to these fiddly jobs.
Who gets the time to do all these fiddly jobs around the home? This window needs some new putty and a good paint job so winter rains do not get in. Image - Public Domain on pixabay.com
5. Autumn is the best time to paint, as the house can still be aired out in the daytime and it's pleasant weather to put in the work. There are great paint deals during autumn to tempt you. Be bold and try some colour in your home, instead of that basic cream. A new paint job or a feature wall in a room or two will lift your spirits and make the place feel new.
6. A word on trees: Autumn is a great time to plant new trees, just before the rains come. This gives them a good amount of time to get established before next summer.
Plan your trees while the sun still shines, so you can see where you need shade. Bare-rooted fruit trees will be available in May and June. When planting, I use a section of ag-pipe with the holes in it, curled around the root base of the tree, with the end sticking out above soil level. Stick the hose in there, and the water goes directly to the roots, saving you lots of water. You only need to use this method for the first two years for trees, but I leave them in for roses and some shrubs, to water over summer.
Did you know, if you drive a car, you should be planting seven new trees per year, to offset the carbon? If you don't have a garden, you may consider doing a planting working bee with "Trees for Life", or other environmental organisation.
Planting trees with Autumn colour do look lovely in the garden, however they do make a lot of mess to rake up and fill the gutters. Image by Pixel Anarchy on pixabay.com
7. Before the rains come, it pays to clean out all gutters, and tend to any possible roof leaks or loose mortar on roof tiles. Late autumn is best; after all the leaves have fallen, clean them out. If water gets into an area of your home, or makes a spot too muddy, attend to it now by putting in some paving or drainage pipes.
8. Sort and tidy your wardrobe.
Before you put away your summer clothes, have a good look at what you didn't wear this past summer. If you haven't worn it for two years or so, you probably won't again, so toss it in the charity bag. Also check your footwear. If shoes are looking shabby and worn, toss them out. Don't fret, as those summer sales will roll around again before you know it.
If a child is moving in to a new room you may need to do some decorating to make them feel secure in their new space. Image by Jan-Mallander on pixabay.com
9. If you have children at home they will most likely be spending more time indoors during the winter. They are now a year older, so take a look at their bedroom, and ask them what they need.
Perhaps they will now be doing some serious study and need a new desk and lighting. If they are toddlers and soon be going into a bed, you may like to spend some autumn weekends preparing a room makeover. Suggest putting some toys in the shed for the winter, and then sort and donate them to charity when they are not at home. Very young children don't like to part with anything. Same goes for all those preschool paintings and craft work cluttering up the place. When birthday and Christmas comes, they will have forgotten all about the missing toys.
Pretty pansies are an ideal annual to plant in Autumn. They will flower over Winter and Spring. Image by Anelka on pixabay.com
With a couple of hours over each weekend in autumn and early winter, you will soon have your home looking ship-shape. Even taking out half an hour and going over the yard with the rubbish and green waste bins will give it a mini makeover. Pop in a few new shrubs and a few pretty pansies for some winter colour, and you will smile when you look out your window on a cold winter's day.