I know you’ve heard of spring cleaning, but what about fall cleaning? This time of year it’s important to prepare yourself and your home for the winter and holiday season. This is the time when homesteaders are beginning the harvest and it’s the height of preservation season. There are also some chores around the house that need to be taken care of before winter hits. Not sure where to start? Don’t worry we’ve got you covered!
Inside the Home
There are a lot of areas inside the home that can be cleaned and organized during the fall months. It’s a great idea to do this now before the busy holiday season sneaks up on you. Just think about how much smoother canning will go if you have an organized pantry. Or how less stressful it will be if you know exactly where your turkey pan is. Or if you have enough cookie cutters to make cookies for the school holiday party. I’m all about preventing stress, especially this time of year. Here are a few tips for getting your home ready during the fall.
- Clean out the refrigerator, freezer, and pantry. Throw out old and expired food and clean shelves with a disinfectant. This will make room for any canning or preserving. It will also free up space for when you do holiday meals and baking.
- Go through bakeware and see if anything needs replaced. ie: rusty cookie sheets, missing cookie cutters, measuring spoons or cups.
- Stock up on baking supplies: flour, baking soda, baking powder, sugar, holiday spices and herbs, lard or Crisco.
- Check to make sure your holiday cookware and dining ware is in good condition and you can locate them. Sometimes we forget we loaned our mother our turkey pan.
- Make sure extra linens are clean and in an easy to reach location for possible surprise guests.
- Do a thorough clean of the bathroom including purging medicine cabinets, drawers, and under the sink of out of date items.
- Have the kids do a toy and clothing purge. Throw away broken toys or take unwanted items to be donated.
- And if you have kids going back to school, it’s also the perfect time to have the carpets cleaned.
- Replace air filters
- Run the furnace around the end of August to make sure it fires up properly. It’s better to find out if there are any problems now when the repairmen aren’t bogged down with emergency calls. (We usually have our gas furnace off during the warmer months.)
- Check door and window seals for leaks.
- Check under the house for possible duct issues.
- Inspect your insulation to see if it needs to be replaced or added to.
- If you have ceiling fans don’t forget to reverse them when you start using your heater, this helps with circulation of heat and can save a ton of money.
- Stock up on emergency supplies for if the power goes out. My article Prepping for Emergencies, a Natural Part of Homesteading, is a great way to get the info you need to be prepared.
If you follow these tips you should be well on your way to a stress-free fall and winter season.
Outside the Home
There are many tasks outside the home that can be done now to ensure you have less work on your plate in the spring. This is the general clean up outside and checking to make sure things around the house will be able to weather the winter so to speak.
Fall Outdoor Chores
- After the harvest be sure to remove dead plant material and either compost or mulch
- Plant fall produce such as garlic
- Mulch, mulch, mulch. If you are using the Back to Eden Method now is the time to lay down a thick layer of wood debris.
- Remove flower bulbs that need to be stored over winter
- Clean up any yard waste. Check with your city or county to see if they have a free fall clean-up day. Our city does this twice a year and we are allowed to bring 2 truckloads per household of garbage/recyclables, yard waste, and some old appliances for free. (We have to bring our garbage bill as proof of current residence.)
- Prepare outdoor furniture to be stored. ie: store away umbrellas and put covers on chairs and tables.
- Clean out gutters before the first storm hits
- Before the first frost, make sure there is no water in your garden hoses and properly store to prevent cracking or holes.
- Now is a good time to fertilize trees
- Check roof for any loose shingles and do any necessary repairs
- Ensure that there are no open grates or vents around the base of your home. This is the time of year when animals will be looking for warm places to sleep.
- If you have large trees around your home, check for any branches that might come down during the first windy day and trim them.
These are some basic tips that can help prepare the outside of your home for the fall and winter season. Prevention is always less costly than damage control, trust me.
Bring on Pumpkin Flavored Everything!
Hopefully, these tips will help you to be a little more prepared for the fall, holidays, and winter. I know nothing can prepare you for the three hours forced socialization with extended family at holiday dinners. But maybe you’ll find some comfort knowing that when the family and friends leave or when you return home from grandma’s, your house won’t be causing you any extra stress. With any luck it will be the perfect sanctuary away from the chaos that can often come from this time of year.
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