TO-DOS: YOUR SEPTEMBER HOME CHECKLIST

TO-DOS: YOUR SEPTEMBER HOME CHECKLIST

Boost the comforts of home for fall with a few of these ideas for stocking up and staying cozy

Curling up with popcorn and a movie, simmering a big pot of soup or chili on the stove, and getting the house and yard in shape after the lazy days of summer — in September, the comforts of home beckon. From feeding the birds to having the chimney cleaned, see if any of these to-dos make your list this month.

1.Remove A/C units. If you use window air conditioning units, now is the time to either remove them (preferable) or cover them outside with protective insulation.

2. Add weather stripping. If you have old weather stripping that has loosened, remove it and replace it with new material. New double-pane windows may not need weather stripping, but most older windows can benefit from it, and if you notice a draft, you should add weather stripping no matter how new the windows are.

3. Inspect the roof. Either get help and carefully climb a ladder so you can look at your roof, or hire someone to do this for you. Problems like damaged shingles and worn-out seals around vent pipes and chimneys are much easier to remedy if you catch them early.

4. Give the family room some TLC. Beef up the family room for the cozy season ahead by upgrading technology, bringing in extra cushions and a cozy throw, or simply cleaning and tidying up. Movie night is more fun when the family room is comfy and welcoming.

5. Put some fall-blooming plants on the porch. Sweep away summer sand and dirt, and set out a few pots of chrysanthemums or other late-summer plants in gorgeous fall hues. It’s an affordable way to give your porch a quick fall makeover.

6. Stock up on birdseed. The birds that stick around for the winter could use some extra help when wild food becomes scarce. Stock up now on birdseed so you can keep those feeders full.

Providing a water source (either a birdbath or simply a saucer of water) is another way to show kindness to our feathered friends. Refresh it every day to deter mosquitoes.

7. Order firewood. If you use a woodstove for warmth or enjoy using your fireplace a lot, now is a good time to order a delivery of firewood. Try not to store it directly against the house, since that can encourage critters to take up residence, but do put it in a covered outdoor area to protect it from rain.

8. Seal gaps where mice could enter. Speaking of critters, take a close look around the exterior of your home and cover any and all gaps you find (even tiny ones!) so mice cannot get in. A heavy-duty screen or hardware cloth works well to cover exterior vents, and door sweeps attached at the bottom of doors will prevent furry critters from squeezing in.

9. Get covers for patio furniture and grill. If you plan to leave your patio furniture or grill outdoors through the fall and winter, cover them well and stow them beneath an overhang that will protect them from the worst weather.

10. Have chimney maintenance done and add a chimney cap. Don’t even think about using that fireplace until you’ve had it cleaned! Built-up creosote inside the chimney can cause a house fire.

Also, there’s always the possibility that an animal family has taken up residence inside — and even if the critters have moved on, the nest itself could cause a major problem if it’s not cleared out.

If you do not already have one, speak with your chimney sweep about adding a chimney cap. This metal cap with screened sides will stop animals from getting in and can protect your roof from any burning embers.

11. Clean the laundry room. A fresh, clean laundry room can make getting chores done more pleasant. Start by cleaning out the dryer vents to prevent lint buildup, which can lead to fires. Wipe down surfaces, mop the floor and declutter.

Are you missing anything that would make doing laundry easier? Consider adding a surface for folding clothes, better lighting, a rolling laundry basket with dividers or a garment rack.

12. Swap out bedding. Dig out those thicker blankets, quilts and duvets, in preparation for the cooler nights ahead. If they smell musty, have them laundered now so they are fresh and ready to put on the bed on that first chilly night. If you are shopping for new bedding, try a richer color palette for fall. Warm spice tones, like the ones shown here, are classic — even a few new pillow shams can make a big difference.

13. Make time for breakfast. Back-to-school time often means busier mornings. Make a commitment to carve out time for a real breakfast every morning. It doesn’t have to be complicated — muesli, granola or oatmeal with add-ins like fruit and nuts makes a hearty but quick breakfast. To make things even easier in the morning, try setting the table the night before.

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