Preparing For A Healthy Fall Season

November 2014
The fall season is one of the busiest times in my home. I am putting away summer items, storing all the patio furniture, getting the inside of the house ready for the cold weather and I am preparing myself mentally for the upcoming holidays. Whew! Just writing it makes me exhausted! Closing up the pool was always the first thing on my fall ?to do? list. Once that is done, the rest of the work doesn?t seem so bad. Still concentrating on the outdoors, I gather up all the patio furniture next. Using a bucket of water, vinegar, and hydrogen peroxide, I give all the furniture a good wipe down with my microfiber cloth before I store all the pieces in the shed. I do the same for all the pool toys. I even wipe down my flower pots and the backyard hoses before I detach them and store them away. Next stop?inspecting the house. I always check the roof for any loose shingles and leaks and get them repaired if needed. Since the roof takes the brunt of the winter weather I want my roof to be in perfect condition! I also make sure the chimney cap is secure enough to keep out moisture. Checking all gutters and downspouts on the house to make sure they are flowing freely is an absolute must since a variety of tennis balls, handballs, and even lacrosse balls seem to land in the gutters all summer long. Next, I walk around the outside of my home and check for large cracks in the foundation. If the cracks are too large to keep the moisture out, they need to be repaired. Trimming the branches on trees that could possibly fall onto the house and cause damage is a definite must. So is finally planting all those spring bulbs that have been hanging around my garage all summer! Winterizing all exposed pipes by insulating them is done every year, especially the pipes that are located in non-heated areas that have the potential to freeze. Onto the doors and windows? Every year I replace the weather stripping on every door and re-caulk the drafty windows that need re-caulking. Since replacing my drafty windows is too expensive, I always tape a layer of plastic over my windows during the winter. The plastic keeps the drafts out and works like a charm all season long! I also use my old towels and worn out clothes to stop drafts on the bottom of the doors. Now for the inside of the home? Replacing the batteries in the smoke and carbon monoxide detectors is probably the smartest and most important fall task to me. We had a small ?scare? a few years ago and I am thankful our detectors were working. Another important and healthy task for fall?.keeping the indoor air clean! Ditch those fragrance air fresheners. Before the heat goes on, open the windows and breathe in the fresh crisp fall air! Nothing smells better and healthier than the great outdoors! For the colder days when the windows are closed, try simmering some spices and citrus peels on the stovetop. A favorite of mine is sprinkling cinnamon or adding two cinnamon sticks and three whole cloves in a pot of boiling water. Boil for three minutes and let it simmer. Other things on my ?cleaning the indoor air? list include replacing air filters, cleaning the fireplace, inspecting the chimney, making sure my air purifier and humidifiers work, vacuuming with a HEPA vacuum cleaner, and making sure all the toxic cleaning chemicals are replaced with natural non-toxic ingredients. I also decorate my home with beautiful houseplants that help keep my indoor air smelling fresh all season long. After my fall ?to do? list is completed, I start preparing my de-cluttering/organizing and fall allergen cleaning lists!
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