Oh September.  As I have mentioned before, September has always seemed like the beginning of the ‘year’ to me. As such, I usually hunker down and get down to some long overdue chores that need to be done to get ready for the season’s change after the long summers languid pace.  Time to make that ‘To-Do’ list; get a little energized about getting organized, dust off the work gloves and get down to business! Hey, with the kids still out of school some of you may have some able and helping hands. Bonus! I’ll take it! 

I thought to seek out some of the best advice out there on all the chores that one should face head on at this time of year, looked at West Coast specific ones, as well as simple reminders of things that should be looked after this time of year. Just think after all your hard work is said and done, you will be able to cuddle up with your loved ones under a newly washed and fluffy blanket and settle in for the coming fall and movie nights knowing that the only thing you have left on your ‘To Do’ is RELAX.

Great Ideas for Getting Ahead this September

Chimney Sweep

For those of us with a fire place, its maintenance time is now. Best to get it all sorted before the rains come and those cold nights call for a crackling fire. You wouldn’t want to surprise an old raccoon up in there! The key to fireplace and wood stove maintenance and safety is in keeping it clean. The Fire Department recommends that we clean our chimney or wood stove and have it inspected annually by a certified chimney specialist. You should also clear the area around your hearth of any flammable items like debris, loose paper or décor. Another great tip was to install a stovepipe thermometer to help monitor flue temperatures. This will allow you to know if there is any unforeseen build up that could cause a chimney fire. If it keeps climbing in temperature, its time to call in a pro.

Order Firewood

You will want to get a head start on this even if summer is still boasting 24 degrees! Mostly because you want to invest in seasoned hard wood that has time to age and dry out, making it easier to burn and also creates less creosote build-up. Soft moist wood accelerates creosote buildup which can lead to chimney build up and has been said to be carcinogenic. We don’t want any of that now do we! There are a dozen or more places to find firewood, from local stores to private farms to road side stands. Educate yourself on what kind of wood you want to buy and then place your order. This is a real side business for most purveyors and some will even deliver!

Get covers for patio furniture and BBQ

We don’t want our outdoor furniture to LOOK like we left it out in the cold all winter, so to greet that chaise next year without a scrub and re-paint investing in some good covers will save the life of your furniture and your investment. Many main patio furniture lines have an accessory line that will fit your exact needs but there are also many generic lines out there that will do the trick. Take care to wash down the pieces first, store any pillows or covers that could get wet over the season and then cover with care. It’s a great time to give that BBQ grill a spray down with oven cleaner and use your outdoor vacuum to get all those crumbs and grit out from the bottom…otherwise you really may as well charge rent to the critters who are looking for a nice condo in your neighbourhood!

Gutter Cleaning

Before the rains come once again, it is a good idea to make sure all those early fall leaves and summer build up are removed. This, in general, will make your later fall cleaning much easier but also ensure proper drainage and less gutter damage. If you take care of your gutter it will take care of you!

Prepare for the critters

I hate to say it but our furry little critter friends don’t care for the winter any more than we do. They will naturally move to drier higher ground and look for the VACANCY sign’s all over your neighbourhood. If your house boasts a 'NO VACANCY' stand point you will want to ensure every crack, nook and cranny has been filled in on the in and outside of your house. Remember it only takes a hole the size of a dime or even less to show that you have rooms for let! The best and easiest way to prevent entry is in spray foam. Convenient, easy to see where it is going and really works. NO VACANCY sign and policy intact!  Easily available at any home based store such as Home Depot, Canadian Tire, London Drugs and many more.

Swap the bedroom linens out

This summer has been such a hot one that I stored away all but my favorite sheets in the bedroom, and stashed all my fuzzy couch blankets high up in the cupboards. Take them down and give them all a good wash and fluff. Your bedroom is your sanctuary. Get that comforter down and either have it professionally cleaned or do it up yourself by hanging over the rail of the back garden or deck after a good shake. Spruce up the room with a good cleaning – moving the big furniture and getting under beds to remove the dust and dirt that can build up after a summer of open windows. Fill the bed with warm coloured pillows and blankets, and even stash those must reads you didn’t manage to get to over the summer by the bedside. A refuge and sanctuary during the long rainy months that will cheer you up and brighten your spirit – and keep those toes warm!

No matter what your plans are this September, there is that one constant that fall will greet us inevitably. Being prepared now will just make for smoother sailing down the road. So you can make time for the other more important things in life, like making a serious pot of chilli, watching hockey, and don’t hate me – but thinking about the holiday season to come! HUH!? Yes, I said it! I mean Thanksgiving is only a MONTH away! Happy cleaning!