April brings us one month into autumn, and while the temperature hasn’t really dropped across much of Australia, the season will change – and it will change soon.
Guest post – LJ Hooker
Whether you’re a landlord or renting your home, don’t wait until the first cold snap to make some simple adjustments to boost the comforts of home before winter arrives.
1. Check the roof
It’s probably best to get an expert to help you with this job as it can be dangerous. Getting up and checking that the roof tiles are in good condition and not damaged is an important job to do at least once a year and an especially good idea before the weather gets nasty.
If you have any broken tiles, get them fixed by an expert. Leaving them can result in more extensive damage to your property, especially if water gets in. While you (or your expert) are up there, check that the seals around vents and chimneys are not worn out. If they are? Seal them up.
2. Keep the heat in and the critters out
Keeping the heat in should be a priority. Not only does it make your home more comfortable, but it also saves money on your heating bill. Just as you would sew up any holes in knits or jackets, cover the holes in your home!
This could mean getting a good sealer and going around areas where heat could escape, like doors and windows, and filling in any cracks that arise. Watch out for any older windows as these are the worst offenders for letting in drafts. Cover any larger gaps securely with heavy-duty hardware cloth to keep any wandering critters out.
3. Manage the moisture
A common issue that typically arises in the coming months is the build-up of moisture. As rains fall harder and the temperature drops, it becomes more difficult to keep spaces dry, which can create fertile conditions for mould and other bacteria. One way of tackling this is with a dehumidifier. Make sure you keep yours maintained.
It’s worth giving yours a once-over this autumn, starting with a cleaning and emptying of your water intake, as well as checking the cleanliness of your air grills.
4. Prepare your kitchen for hearty meals
One of our favourite things about colder months is the menu! In particular, those hearty weekend roasts where the slow cooking of potatoes and lamb gives the whole living area some fantastic warmth and flavour. Of course, to get a roast going perfectly you will need a clean oven, and this is something that many people can neglect over summer.
Devoting a few hours to properly clean out your oven will help it function better, resulting in better meals for you and anyone you live with – not a bad tradeoff if you ask us!
5. Create some compost
One of the most iconic images of autumn is golden leaves falling from trees. Of course, the flipside of this is that it can create quite the leafy mess across your backyard, or get in the way of your curb appeal! Raking up your leaves and preparing them for compost is a great way to turn one of the messiest parts of autumn into a fantastic and productive part of the home.
Leaves are a wonderful source of nutrients, and by gathering them all up you could see a thriving compost heap for your yard – think of it as autumn’s gift to you!
6. Don’t fuel the fire
One thing we often don’t do throughout winter is mow the lawns with the regularity we do in summer. After all, if we’re going to be curled up indoors during these months, is there much point?
If you’re someone who puts the lawnmower into hibernation for winter, remember to empty the fuel canisters. This is one for a little later in the season, but it’s always good to keep in mind. Changing the oil and giving it a thorough clean are also good tasks to keep in mind before you put it away in the garage!
7. Bring out the cozy comforts
Curling up with a movie or good book is much nicer when the weather is foul outside, so why not “Autumn-ise” your living room. Add some warm throws or perhaps change the cushion covers. Having a set of autumn/winter cushion covers in warmer colours like taupes, reds and oranges, or heavier wintery material can really make your room feel cozy and inviting.
8. Flowering plants
Just because the leaves are starting to change colour and falling off the trees, it doesn’t mean your garden needs to be void of colour. Head to your local flower market and pick up some seasonal flowering plants and either add them to your front entrance area in pots. If you feel really inspired, plant them around your garden beds. A bit of brightness when you arrive home will make you feel good even if the weather is changing.
9. Warm up the beds
There’s nothing worse than feeling the cold when you are in bed and being too tired to get out of bed to find another blanket. Before that happens, pull out those heavier blankets, quilts and doonas from the cupboards and get them ready for the colder nights that are coming. If you didn’t have them cleaned at the end of winter, make sure you either wash them yourself or take them to the laundry as the musty smell isn’t that pleasant.
There are tasks you can do all year round to keep your house in fantastic shape, and ideas like these are very handy for general maintenance.
10. Check safety devices and plans
With the weather cooling down and increased use of heaters and fires, checking your smoke alarms is a must. Make sure they’re in working order and replace batteries as needed. Check the expiry date on your kitchen fire extinguisher and make sure you have the fire blanket handy.
It’s also a good time to revisit your family’s fire escape plan. Get the kids involved and practice this with them. Show them what they need to do, how to get away from smoke, how they find an exit and talk about signs to look out for.