Jason Robie: Fortuitous Fall

If you happen to be reading this on Sunday, you’ll think I’m crazy. If you are reading this on Saturday, we’re good! Fall is a time of rollercoaster weather in the Northeast. One day you are soaking in the sun on an awesome bike ride or hike, shorts and T-shirt blowing in the breeze. The next day you’re packed under long johns and your favorite wool sweater, watching a high school football game huddled under a blanket. I just visited a friend in Boulder, Colo., and on Monday of this past week, helped him shovel 6 inches of snow off his front deck! It truly is the most amazing time of year.

My friend has lavender plants growing down below his deck and the wet heavy snow wreaked a bit of havoc on those poor unsuspecting bushes. It made me think of my own fledgling shrubs back home and wondered if this was the year I should protect them with some plywood teepees to shelter them a bit from the coming snows. It sounds like a great project and will afford me a trip to the hardware store. Who knows? Maybe I’ll even have to buy a new power tool!

Fall is a great time of year to tackle a few household projects that you’ve been ignoring all summer. Let’s be honest. This summer was pretty epic as far as weather is concerned. Chances are you’ve spent more time outside playing than you have maintaining your home. I’d like to review a handful of projects that could (should?) be tackled over the next couple of weeks. Yes, there will be some amazing weekend weather (like Sunday!), but there will be plenty of cooler weekends that are perfect for tackling these simple but important chores.

The first one is rather important and that is to clean out your dryer vents. The reason this is a bit of a chore is to do it correctly you will often need to move the dryer. Access the hose. Clean it out. Wait for it to dry. And finally get everything put back into place. For those of you with a longer distance between the dryer exhaust and the wall, this is even more important since you’ve got more nooks and crannies in which that lint can be caught.

The benefits of this are not only some peace of mind that you’re better protected against fires, but you will also notice that your clothes dry faster and more completely. If the dryer can “breathe” and expel that moist air, the more efficient it will be. While you are thinking about safety and fires, this is also a great time to change out the fire/smoke detector batteries. You can do this while you’re waiting for the dryer hose to dry from hosing it out. (My “Strange Brew” friends are thinking “Hose out the hose, hoser”!)

While visiting my friend, this mini snowstorm came as a bit of a surprise. We woke up to a couple inches of snow and were not the least bit prepared. On his deck sat the patio table and chairs and (more importantly) the corn hole boards! Before we get hit with the first dusting of snow, take care of your outside furniture to keep it protected. I’m lucky enough to have some extra space in the basement so we now have our stuff safe and dry down there. If you don’t have the spare space, invest in some durable covers for your furniture. The protection from sun, rain, snow and sleet will pay dividends down the road, as the paint won’t take such a beating all winter while it is not being used.

The same goes for your hose. While we do get some warmer weekends here and there, where you may want to wash the car, for the most part your hose is going to fare much better where it will not freeze. It can’t be good for the rubber and plastic the hose is made from and it goes without saying that water in the hose will cause it to crack and likely burst. Although I would enjoy watching you turn that ruptured hose on in the spring, don’t waste the money having to buy a new one and keep that thing warm or at the very least, empty.

I mentioned last week that I really do enjoy cleaning, but more-so the reward of a clean house. This time of year is a fantastic time to give the house a really good “spring cleaning” (for lack of a better phrase) to prepare yourselves for the coming season. We all know the house will mostly remain closed up for the next few months. Taking some time now to clean windows inside and out, sweeping under furniture, dusting tops of ceiling fans and even hoeing out the cat toys from behind the fridge will be very rewarding. You’ll feel better about having to shut the house up for the winter knowing that everything is starting fresh and ready for some new dirt!

“Cleaning the house in the fall, especially for sellers, is a very rewarding and beneficial chore,” notes Badger Realty agent, Don Lapointe. “You get to enjoy the benefits all winter and it takes the pressure off when potential buyers come calling. The house has already had a thorough cleaning and a quick touch-up is all that is needed.”

So, if you are reading this on Saturday, take some time today and tackle a couple of these tasks! Sunday is supposed to be much warmer and you can reward yourself with a hike or a bike ride. Come on, you deserve it!