Labor Day is just around the corner, which means fall is creeping up on us. Here are some things you can do to get a jump on your annual fall cleanup — even though you just want to go to the beach:
1. Clean gutters. Gutter debris from the previous winter might clog your spouts and cause gutter overflow when the rain starts. Use gutter cleaning tools that fit the height of your gutters and your accessibility. To avoid having to repeat the cleaning after the fall foliage, trim any low hanging trees near your gutters.
2. Repair deck/patio. Sweep away the summer dust and check the surface of your outdoor spaces for signs of holes, cracks or chipping paint. Use wood putty or stone filler to repair any surface damage. Sand away chipping or cracked paint or stain, then repaint the surface before the wet season starts.
3. Repair driveway. Fill any cracks in your paved driveway to prevent winter rain from eroding the surface further. Depending on the type of surface and the desired look, use cement, epoxy filler, liquid cement filler, asphalt filler or concrete crack sealant. Be sure to remove any vegetation growing in the cracks first.
4. Clean garbage cans. To counter the effects of summer heat and humidity, wipe your garbage cans and the area around them with anti-bacterial wipes. Then spray the area with disinfectant spray that will kill lingering bacteria. Place a garbage bag in the can immediately after spraying to keep the cleaning agent trapped in the can.
5. Check your water pressure. August's often muggy temperatures can drain the water supply. Often, homeowners can see the effects of that drain by reduced water pressure in their homes. To make sure you're getting all the water pressure you can, clean out the traps in the faucet's end every year. Often, the flow of water is impaired by mineral deposits and other debris stuck in the traps, which looks like a small screen. Unscrew the end of the faucet with a pair of pliers and remove the trap from the tip. Flush out the debris and replace the trap.
6. Paint and carpet. If you’re planning to do any interior painting, carpet cleaning or carpet replacement, make sure to tackle these projects while the weather is still mild and you can keep your windows open for additional ventilation.
7. Maintain your air conditioning. Ideally, you should maintain your air conditioning system twice a year: once in the spring before the peak summer season begins, and again in the fall after the summer ends. During the maintenance session, you’ll need to check the system itself, clean the coils and the vents, and inspect the ductwork for any potential leaks or clogs. If you use a window air conditioning unit, remove it from the window to clean the inside and outside before you store it for the fall. If you plan to leave it in place, buy a winter cover for the unit that will protect it from cold temperatures and airborne debris.
8. Tune up your lawnmower. At the end of summer, you should completely clean your lawn mower and prepare it for storage. Never turn a lawn mower completely over. Use a block to prop it on its side. Somewhere on the lawnmower, it should tell you in which direction to lean the mower. Drain any remaining gas and oil from the machine. Some machines have drains, and others have to be tipped to be drained from where you fill the oil or gas. Drain into an approved container for oil or gas, and then take to an oil-change place and ask them to properly dispose of the old oil and/or gas. Spray the underside of the lawn mower with a hose. Let it dry before storage to prevent rust.
9. Clean and flip your mattress. Twice a year (summer and winter), you should clean all of the mattresses in the house to keep dust mites under control. Vacuum the top of the mattress, move the mattress and vacuum the box springs, then flip the mattress and vacuum the new top of the mattress. For further protection from dust mites, add a hypo-allergenic mattress pad and wash your sheets in hot water.
10. Air out your luggage. Get ready for winter vacations by making sure your luggage is in top shape. Clean the outside with a diluted mild cleanser (leather should be cleaned with a commercial leather cleaner). If the inside has a musty smell or possible mildew problem, clean it with a vinegar-water solution (1:5). Let it air dry for several days.It’s a good idea to air out your luggage for a few days whether there’s a musty smell or not. Before putting the luggage away for storage, toss a fabric softener dryer sheet into the closed bag, especially if you don’t use the luggage often.