Blog by Beebe Cline

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September Checklist for a Smooth-Running Home

Whether it's raking leaves in the garden, having applesauce bubbling on the stove or just hanging out late into the evening with friends, September beckons us to spend more time at home. Take advantage of the inclination and devote a weekend or two this month to house projects you've been putting off.

Those in chilly climates may want to get a jump on things; if you live in a warmer area, you may be able to hold off a little longer. In any case plan a fall gathering to coincide with getting your housework done, or simply revel in the feeling of a job well done.
1. Refresh your bedroom for fall. It's time to find those flannel sheets and cozy blankets — even if you don't need them quite yet, you will be grateful to have them at hand on that first really chilly night, whenever it comes. While you are sorting your bedding, take the time to rotate your mattress, launder your mattress pad, and reach all of those under-the-bed dust bunnies.

2. Have the chimney and furnace inspected. Make sure your fireplace and heating system are ready for cooler weather by having a pro look at them now. Chimney fires are serious, so don't light up your fireplace until you have had it inspected and any buildup cleaned.
3. Order firewood. If you use firewood to fuel your woodstove or fireplace, now is the time to stock up for winter. The ideal place for wood storage is away from the house, under cover and with plenty of air. An open-sided portico or shed would be great. Set your wood on top of pallets to increase air circulation and keep the wood dry.
4. Clean and organize. Spring cleaning gets all the attention, but fall is another natural time to get your house in shape. Vacuum and mop floors, spot clean rugs and wipe surfaces throughout the house. As you clean, set things aside to give away — aim to free up about a third of the space on shelves and in closets.
5. Swap out home accessories. One of the easiest ways to keep your home feeling current is to tweak a few details each season. Swap out throw pillows, add a cozy folded blanket or layer on a colorful rug. For a cheap and chic update, decorate with fresh branches cut from outside and beautiful, seasonal produce.
6. Remove window A/C units. Remember to drain them and clean or change the filters before storing them for next year. Keep any hardware in a labeled plastic bag taped to the unit.

7. Hang heavier window treatments. More than a style statement, thicker window coverings can help your home retain heat — slashing energy bills. If you use blinds during the year, layer curtains on top. If you have light cotton curtains, trade them for thicker drapes.
8. Add weather stripping. Stopping drafts around windows and doors can be as simple as adding lengths of inexpensive weather stripping. If you used some last year or earlier, check its condition and replace as needed.

9. Consider adding more insulation. Adding insulation to your attic space or inside walls can be a great help in saving money on heat during the colder months.
10. Set up a homework or project area. Encourage kids to get their work done with an area that is comfortable, attractive and well organized. Ideally, make a larger surface available for spreading out big or messy projects on — the dining table can work, but if you have the room, consider adding a dedicated project table.
11. Visually inspect the roof and gutters. Get up on a ladder or climb onto the roof (carefully!) and take a look at the rain gutters, roof and chimney. If there are sticks or leaves blocking the gutters, pull them out now — you can wait until after most of the leaves have fallen, later in the autumn, to clean the gutters out completely. Look for worn areas on the roof and patch them as needed.

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