Fall is here and the weather is cooling down in the Baltimore area. When organizing and decluttering the home, homeowners should also remember the exterior areas of their home, particularly when surrounded by deciduous trees that can create a cluttered mess of fallen leaves and branches. In addition, homeowners are advised to weatherproof their home by sealing doors and windows with weatherstrip to prevent air leaks. The U.S. Department of Energy recommends that homeowners contact an Energy Auditor to assess their home, or if preferred, conduct their own do-it-yourself energy audit. To find out which audit is the best option, visit Energy.gov here.
Having a fall outdoor checklist can also be helpful, and will remind homeowners of the tasks that pertain to them and their home. Here are 10 tips for fall outdoor clean-up and decluttering:
1. Frost will eventually kill off most annual plantings, so dig up any dead plants and tidy up the flower beds.
2. Clean up pots of dying or dead annual flowers. Move cleaned pots that are affected by very cold temperatures into another area, like the shed or garage.
3. Trim large or heavy branches off tall trees and shrubs, particularly if they’re very close to the house and could fall and damage the roof during a storm.
4. Perennial plants have different needs, so it’s best to search online for tips for preparing them for the winter.
5. Before storing gardening tools and equipment clean and oil them to prevent rusting.
6. Use furniture covers to protect outdoor furniture or move to a covered porch for the rest of fall and winter, but bring fabric cushions indoors. Ideally, clean furniture and cushions beforehand.
7. Bring in any outdoor or summer toys to prevent them from cracking in cold temperatures and collecting mold or mildew.
8. Clear as many leaves as possible to prevent drains clogging and other issues that prevent water from draining away from the house.
9. Shut off outdoor faucets to prevent freezing pipes, and drain and put away all garden hoses.
10. Clear gutters and downspouts of debris.
By doing a good clean-up now, there will less outdoor maintenance to do when spring rolls around again in a few months.
Baltimore Organized Families writer, Jacquie Ross, has been writing for The Examiner since 2009. Please check out her other articles related to decluttering, organization and time management. Jacquie, a professional organizer and certified life coach, also shares organizing tips in her Timely Tips e-newsletter. Subscribers are eligible to receive a free email declutter tips course when they sign up for her newsletter.