Autumn is one of my favourite seasons in Melbourne – it’s not too hot, not too cold, the colours of our surroundings are changing and there’s something about the dappled afternoon light that brings a sense of tranquillity.
I’m already looking forward to hot hearty meals, red wines by the fire, footy and netball starting again. When you own a home, there is much responsibility to keep it looking neat and tidy, and also in good repair. Even if you rent, you still need to keep it looking neat, and keep it a cheery place to live in. Now is considered the perfect time to prepare your house before the cold weather sets in.
Write a list of jobs that need doing, such as replacing dead or tired looking plants, pruning shrubs and trees, or tending to the lawn. Perhaps a fence needs repairing or painting. Put these chores on your calendar and spend an hour or two on them every weekend over the coming months so they will get done.
Some may need painting, or covering up for winter. You may even want to dump your old furniture and buy some new items in the spring. Put away children’s playthings, such as outdoor toys and paddling pools. Leaving things out in the weather shortens their life and wastes money. Throw away anything old and not able to be repaired.
It probably got a lot of use over summer, so give it a spruce up, and then cover it and put it in the shed or under cover for winter. You will be so pleased you did it by next summer, when you have people arriving in a couple of hours, and don’t find gungy grease still stuck on it.
If you have a fire, you need to get wood in and stack it. Your indoor heaters may need cleaning or servicing. Perhaps you decide it’s a good time to get insulation to cut down on power bills. Check around doors and windows where draught gets in, and attend to these fiddly jobs.
The house can still be aired out in the daytime and it’s pleasant weather to put in the work. There are great paint deals during autumn to tempt you. Be bold and try some colour in your home, instead of that basic cream. A new paint job or a feature wall in a room or two will lift your spirits and make the place feel new.
Autumn is a great time to plant new trees, just before the rains come. This gives them a good amount of time to get established before next summer. You may want to seek advice from your local nursery for guidance on what to plant otherwise Google can be an amazing resource for researching what to do.
If you don’t have a garden and you are considering doing a planting working bee in your local area, contact Landcare Victoria who should be able to connect you with a local group in your area.
Late autumn is best; after all the leaves have fallen, clean them out. If water gets into an area of your home, or makes a spot too muddy, attend to it now by putting in some paving or drainage pipes.
Before you put away your summer clothes, have a good look at what you didn’t wear this past summer. If you haven’t worn it for two years or so, you probably won’t again, so toss it in the charity bag. Also check your footwear. If shoes are looking shabby and worn, toss them out. Don’t fret, as those summer sales will roll around again before you know it.
They are now a year older, so take a look at their bedroom, and ask them what they need. Perhaps they will now be doing some serious study and need a new desk and lighting. If they are toddlers and soon be going into a bed, you may like to spend some autumn weekends preparing a room makeover. Suggest putting some toys in the shed for the winter, and then sort and donate them to charity when they are not at home. Very young children don’t like to part with anything. Same goes for all those preschool paintings and craft work cluttering up the place. When birthday and Christmas comes, they will have forgotten all about the missing toys.
With a couple of hours over each weekend in autumn and early winter, you will soon have your home looking ship-shape. Even taking out half an hour and going over the yard with the rubbish and green waste bins will give it a mini makeover. Pop in a few new shrubs and a few pretty pansies for some winter colour, and you will smile when you look out your window on a cold winter’s day.