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As sad as it is to think that the summer might be coming to an end, unfortunately all good things do. We have had an excellent summer and have enjoyed a lot of time outside, exploring our garden and the fun activities nearby. However, with the weather changing this means we need to prepare ourselves for the start of a new season. My fellow money bloggers and I have created this list of end of summer household tasks to get you ready for autumn and winter. Enjoy!
Garden furniture is great! It allows us to enjoy our gardens completely; to eat outside and to socialise outside. However, it is exposed to the elements and this can cause damage that will reduce the life of these products. Therefore, it wise to get protective covers or even put away any furniture that you can. Also make sure that they are secured in case things get a little windy. Doing this now will mean that your garden furniture is good to use again once the spring comes round.
Michelle at Time and Pence agrees with me on this one. She says “make sure you clean and put away any children’s garden toys, sandpits, paddling pools etc, that have been left out. That way they will stay good as new and can be used again the following year.” And she’s right! You don’t want to have to pay out for new toys every year just because you couldn’t be bothered to clean them up this year. Plus doing this will mean that at the first signs of summer next year you’ll have everything ready to go.
If you’ve been putting this off, well put it off no more! Sealing fences and woodwork now will protect it over the winter months and stop any unnecessary and potentially expensive damage. Likewise, it is time to do any niggling external repairs. For example, we needed to refelt our shed roof as a few bits were coming loose. Now we know that our shed will be safe from leaks and the contents will stay protected.
Ruth from RuthMakesMoney.com says “At the end of the summer, I go through my wardrobe and if there are any summer or holiday clothes that I haven’t worn in 2 years, I donate to charity or sell on eBay. I always feel great having a clear out, it frees up some space and helps me to look forward to a new season.” And she is absolutely right. Clearing out and selling on will keep your wardrobes free from clutter in the months ahead.
Lee from Homely Economics goes further and says “It’s a good time to rotate your summer and winter clothes. You can help your summer clothes go through storage without getting smelly or mouldy by washing, drying and folding them neatly, and vacuum-sealing them. Most of us have more clothes than we need to be honest, so rotating them properly helps them to come out ready-to-wear and not smelling icky!” The last thing I want when I pull out my favourite summer clothes next year is to realise that they have developed a funny smell. Or even worse are no longer wearable. Spending this time now will keep your favourite clothes well looked after.
With Christmas not too far away, it is a good time to review your kids’ stuff. (And make sure your are ready for it. Check this post.) My kids have been distracted by my garden the last few months. This means that many of their indoor toys have been neglected. Some of them they have now outgrown and can be sold on, but others I wish we had never had in the first place. McDonald’s toys that we have inherited or stuff that comes in party bags. Yeah my kids love them for two minutes but now they are forgotten. This gives me a window of opportunity to get them out of the house.
Clothes also fall into this category because I know that I have kept many of my eldest’s clothes from last winter but I know that they will not fit her now. I intend to go through these and take them to our local nearly new shop where they will sell them on my behalf.
There are two things you can do here. The first is to bring your herbs indoors. Creating a windowsill herb garden will give you quick access to fresh herbs. It will also make your home feel and smell brighter and fresher with all those lovely plants around.
The alternative is to harvest lots of herbs and prepare them for use over the winter. Typically, I dry lots of herbs and store them in jars. This works well for oregano especially as drying actually enhances the flavour. Others, such as coriander, can be frozen in bunches and are then ready to use straight from the freezer. I find this works particularly well for soup recipes. An even better idea that I saw here was to freeze them in varying combinations in olive oil or butter or stock. Follow the link for suggestions.
Becky at Eat Simply has this to say “Make jam from your fruit!!!” And it pretty much summarises this section. However, I prefer not to limit myself to just jam and recommend just stewing up your fruits for use in crumbles and pies later. The same goes for leftover veg. Make a few soup combinations and store in the freezer. You’ll be grateful for them when the temperature has dropped and you want a nice warming dinner.
John and Emma from Tuppenny’s FIREplace say “Use your excess garden produce to make frugal Christmas gifts. I am currently bread & butter pickles with the masses of cucumbers and courgettes I’ve got and I make a mean runner bean pickle! I have orders every year from family and friends.” And I think this is just perfect. It kills two birds with one stone. Uses up leftover food and saves on Christmas gifts. Love it!
As the weather deteriorates so does my desire to go outside, particularly if it is to clean the bit of my house I can’t see from the inside. Therefore, I always try and give the outside of the house a bit of a spruce up. This includes cleaning windows, doors and fascias. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t go overboard as I know 6 months of rain is going to have my house looking a mess again but I like to get to a good starting point.
Eileen from Your Money Sorted takes this further suggesting that “It’s a great time to check that your gutters, gulley traps and drains are all clear, to prevent any issues with flooding during the winter.” We did this last year as we were getting an over-spill from one of our gutters. When we looked they were full of leaves and moss. We are pleased that we sorted it when we did.
It may seem odd to tidy up your garden just at the point when you are about to start spending far less time in it. Trust me when I say it is worth the effort. Trimming back plants, trees and hedges now will mean that when they start to thrive again in the spring they will be the size you want them to be. If you leave them they will just grow bigger and bigger, leaving you with either an overgrown garden or twice as much work to do.
Emma from My Debt Diary learnt this from experience. She says “at the end of last summer we covered our flower beds in bark chips after spending hours and hours over the summer weeding them. (We moved in to the house January last year and everything was overgrown.) It slowed the regrowth of weeds right down and meant we have spent a fraction of time weeding the garden this year and have been able to spend far more time enjoying it instead!”
As we retreat into our homes it is worth taking time to review the space that you’ll be spending the next few months in. This might mean having a bit of a clear out or doing some redecorating. Thinking about how you are going to heat your home should be a consideration too. Emma, The Money Whisperer, says “Shut your trickle vents and ensure instead that you open the windows once a day to ventilate the room and change the air.“ It is also worth dealing with any drafts and boosting any insulation that you have in your home.
With energy in mind, Helen from The Complaining Cow recommends you “look now for switching energy to allow for the few weeks it will take to change before the heating goes on and if your boiler needs a service do it now before they get busy and deals won’t be around so much!” Your spending on energy will increase over the winter months. Taking the time to ensure that you are paying the lowest price will potentially save you a small fortune. For other ways to save, check out my post: 10 things you can do to save money this month and every month
Alternatively, are there any you think need to be on the list? Let me know below. And don’t forget to check out my post on Why Autumn Is The Perfect Time To Save.
Disclaimer: Remember the information you read here does not represent advice. Any ideas or suggestions are just that and may not work for you. Read the full disclaimer here.
Looking After Your Pennies is an eco-friendly personal finance blog written and managed by Charlotte Jessop.
I write on a variety of topics including frugal lifestyle, eco-friendly living, money making ideas and generally how to make your money go further.