Winterizing your home, whether you rent or own, is as important (if not more so) than spring cleaning. As we all know, winter storms in any part of the country can cause damage to the home, and frankly much of it is preventable with the right plan of action. However, since fall has just begun, I thought it would be nice to ease into things, starting with what I think of as “the fun stuff” when it comes to taking care of the home in preparation for winter.
So let’s just start in my favorite place, the garden!
- Remove all vegetables and annual plants that are clearly done and toss them in the compost heap. This will reduce the chance of pest and mold infestations.
- Mulch: You will applaud your efforts come spring if you apply a layer of mulch now that is easy to pick up when planting season comes around again. Straw is my favorite, as it is organic and replaces nitrogen in the soil while it holds back weedy growth. Also, it is a cinch to rake back when you are ready to plant again.
- Move Containers to get the most out of the sunlight that remains for the season. You may be able to ripen just a few more tomatoes or squashes if you move them into the changing sunlight.
- In warmer areas, plant fall vegetables such as garlic, kale, chard and onions to enjoy all winter long. In colder areas, some of these vegetables can still work with the help of deep mulching and winter blankets during frost periods.
- Bulbs – Now is a great time to plant bulbs for spring, such as daffodils, tulips and more. Check with your local nursery on best bulb planting practices for your area.
Winter Home Preperation
Now that we’ve had our fun in the garden, it’s time to get serious about winterizing our homes.
But don’t worry, we’ll keep it simple.
We are not going to cover some of the more serious items, like pipes, as you may want to turn to a professional for those important items. Instead, we will focus on what the average person can do to get ready for winter.
Gutters, gutters and more gutters
Taking care of your gutters in the fall is #1 on the DIY-er’s winterizing list. Clogged gutters can cause damage to the gutters themselves, and eventually to the roof or walls of your home if you live in an icy area and water doesn’t have an easy escape route. So get out that ladder and remove any leaves and debris as a preventative measure.
Didn’t enjoy that so much? Here’s an ounce of prevention that will allow you to avoid this icky chore next year: they are called Gutter screens and they allow water to pass through, but no leaves which means no ladders! Another option is the gutter brush which also will keep debris out.
While you’re at it, make sure the downspouts are directed away from the house and foundation to prevent water damage. A simple downspout extension keeps rain and snow-melt going along on its happy way, away from your house.
What to do with all those leaves?
Mulch them! This mulcher is easy to use and make good use of your leaves in the garden, providing a natural, protective layer around plants and veggies.
Lastly, invest in good patio furniture covers. This allows you to keep your garden furniture out (and your garage free of extra winter clutter) while protecting from the elements.
Winterizing Your Home Checklist – Bonus
Now is the Perfect Time for ‘In Home’ Maintenance Projects! The weather isn’t really good enough to do much outside and with the days getting dark early, we tend to get depressed by just sitting around. By the time we are finished eating supper at night, we feel like it is almost time to go to bed.
This is the perfect time to get some ‘in home’ projects done so that we can enjoy the good weather when it gets here.
The first tip:
Get plenty of light in the house, it will help to make the days seem longer, give you that extra boost to get something accomplished and will improve your disposition. Darkness is gloomy and lets depression take over…thus; we get the ‘Winter Blahs’. Make life brighter by adding more light to your life.
Checklist for Home Maintenance Projects:
• Update your Home Inventory Lists- Add Christmas Presents- Additional Assets-Etc.
• Archive Old Files and Create New Files for the New Year
• Get papers ready for the Accountant for Taxes
• Check the Medicine Cabinet for outdated medicine and replace with ‘new’
• Replace or check hoses on the washer
• Check filters on the Furnace, Stove etc.
• Check the water heater for leaks and flush, don’t forget to check the PTR Valve
• Wash walls and ceilings or paint as necessary
• Organize your garage
• Clean out the freezer and check gaskets
• Clean and freshen all drains, sinks, toilets, basement drains, garage drains etc.
• Check hoses that you use outside for leaks
• Check the dryer ductwork and make sure that it is free of lint.
• Check all receptacles in the home to make sure they are working properly (Fire can happen at anytime)
• Clean all of the fans and light fixtures in the house, garage and basement. Don’t forget the ones outside on the house.
• Check the sump pump and clean the hole out so you are ready for spring rains
• Check all of the windows for air leakage- this is a good time of year, it is easy to tell when the cold is coming in
• Clean out the garbage disposal and add a piece of lemon to give it a clean odor.
There are many more things that I am sure you will add to this list, but this will start you off in the right direction. Please add your suggestions to the comments!