Smarter You: Get the outside of your house ready for winter!
I realized just the other day that both my husband and kiddo are in need of new winter coats. They both had ones that have been around for a few seasons, and now she has outgrown hers and he, well, out-wore his. Even though it's still pretty nice out and not too, too chilly yet, it's good to plan ahead for these things, no?
Same goes for your abode. There's nothing worse than grabbing your snow blower when Mother Nature just dumped 12 inches and remembering it conked out last November. Before the later-fall/winter season hits, go around the outside of your home and take note of what you need to do to get ready (we'll have a checklist of stuff you need to do for the inside of your abode next week).
-- Cover that furniture. If you have patio furniture, most can stay outside, but it needs to be properly protected. You can buy relatively inexpensive covers from many home stores. Some lighter chairs should be taken indoors so as not to get toppled or damaged by heavy snowfall. One cool idea for a patio table: place a pail or bucket upside-down on the table and then cover it. This way, rain will run off and prevent the forming of a heavy ice layer that could crack it.
-- Turn off the outside water. One of the main issues homeowners have in the winter is broken pipes. Shut off the water to the outside areas, and then run all of them to empty out the pipes. Gather up those hoses (empty them too!) and stash them in the garage until Spring.
-- Clear out the flowers beds. If you have a lot of leaves and sticks that have fallen recently, clear them out now, before they get covered with snow. While you are at it, aerate that soil to make next spring easier for your flowers to bloom.
-- Locate all of your winter equipment. Where's that snow blower, the leftover rock salt from last year, all of the de-icers things for the windshields? Test those that need testing and stock up on what you know you will use.
-- Clear out those gutters. If old debris is left there and freezes up, it can really wreck your gutters. Possibly think about getting mesh covers to prevent it. Oh, and be sure to be safe if you are climbing ladders (always helps to have a buddy around).
What do you do to get the outside of your home ready for winter? When did you last clean out your gutters?