As you read the title of this post, you may be thinking, “It’s still August! Yesterday’s high was 101° and there’s no end in sight.” You may be remembering when you wore shorts to Thanksgiving dinner last year, and every year prior.
Admittedly, in Texas, our autumns are not that intense. It doesn’t snow. The temperature drops just enough to become pleasant, but hardly ever intolerably cold.
Despite our loose definition of “fall,” we can’t deny that it does get colder, it rains more, and we just get busier between the holidays, nicer weather, school, sports, and everything else that picks up once the dog days of summer end.
This year, things may not be as busy as before, thanks to COVID-19, but this list is something you can bookmark now and refer back to every year.
Fill in the Cracks in Your Sidewalk and Driveway
This is one of those tasks that’s really small, but can make a big difference. When you leave cracks in the concrete, water can settle in there. As that water freezes and thaws, it can widen the crack. Right now would be a great time to get ahead of the rainy cold fronts, since August and early September are such dry months!
Clean (and Potentially Replace) Your Gutters
Sometimes in Texas, it takes a while for the leaves to fall. They do fall eventually, however, so it’s best to be prepared. Take some time this month or next to clean your gutters and inspect them for any faultiness. You don’t want your house to flood or your exterior to get damaged!
Build a Winter Preparedness Kit
We’re talking about preparing for fall, so why are we worrying about winter right now?
Well, like we mentioned earlier, fall is not only when temperatures drop, but when we also get busy with holidays, school, and work, beginning with Labor Day, moving into football season (however much of that we have this year!), Halloween, Thanksgiving, then the Christmas season, and all the obligations and cool fronts in between.
That said, it’s best to get a handle on it now while we can, especially if there’s a sneaky bone-chilling October front like the one last year on Halloween that dropped temperatures to 34°
For us in Central Texas, a preparedness kit doesn’t necessarily mean snow shovels and ice scrapers. Rather, consider all those little things you need when it gets cooler:
- plastic to cover your plants with
- pipe wrap insulation or tape to protect your outdoor pipes during a freeze
- coats, blankets, and gloves (and potentially fuzzy face masks for this year?)
- candles and flashlights, if there is ever a power outage
- caulk for any leaks or cracks that occur
There are a few key spots that tend to get the brunt of fall wear and tear:
- floors and carpets
- the kitchen
- washing machine
These spots tend to be some of the dirtiest in the house anyway, but with holiday cooking, washing uniforms, and tracking wet and muddy boots in and out, it makes sense that these parts of your home could use a little TLC before they really have to get to work.
Invest the time (or just hire a professional) to deep clean your carpets and scrub down those hardwood floors.
Set aside a day to scrub down the kitchen: clean your appliances, dust off light fixtures, disinfect knobs and surfaces, deep clean the floors, scrub the walls, scrape any stains of build up out of tiny spaces and gaps (like spills on the stove), bleach and unclog your drains and garbage disposal, and thoroughly clean and disinfect the trash can.
Washing your washing machine (yes, it’s necessary) is easy to do and should be done about every six months. Before you wash all your jackets, blankets, uniforms, and jeans, give it a good cleaning! Here’s how:
- Wipe everything down with a spray cleaner. Wipe down the top, sides, knobs and buttons, and gasket. Make sure to use a disinfectant on those frequently-touched surfaces.
- Next, the inside: add two-four cups of white vinegar like you would add liquid detergent. Run for one cycle on the hottest water setting. If you have a top loading machine, you can pause the cycle after the machine fills up and let it soak for an hour or so. Afterwards, continue the cycle.
- Once that cycle is complete, run another cycle, this time with half a cup of baking soda.
- Once that cycle is complete, you can take to the drum, fabric softener dispenser, and bleach dispenser with a tooth brush and scrub any mineral deposits.
- Finally, go through one more time with a microfiber cloth to pick up any of the debris you scrubbed off and any leftover scum.