Fall is a time for new beginnings. It is also a time for fall cleanup; after a busy summer of cookouts and house guests, a good clean is always in order to prepare your home for winter. Whether you live here all year round or are a summer person, cleanup is the same with a couple of variations.

Beach towels, bathing suits, unused suntan oil all get neatly packed away. The outdoor furniture, grill, beach chairs, umbrellas, boogie boards and hammock are stored in the garage.

A visit from the plumber is in order to turn off the outdoor shower. It is also advisable to have the interior pipes checked to make sure they are all insulated. We learned the hard way; we had a pipe burst last winter during the frigid days in January even with the heat on in the house. We were unaware of a lone pipe that traveled from the garage through the breezeway and ended just inside the kitchen door! A word to the wise; it is time well spent having this checked out.

Time to caulk all of the drafty windows. This is an inexpensive way to save on heating, particularly if you have old windows. Another suggestion—drapes for the winter not only give a room a cozy look, they keep out the drafts.

Fall is also a good time to give your washing machine an annual cleanup by filling it with a quart of white vinegar and a cup of bleach. Run through the rinse cycle. Same with the dishwasher. Run though the rinse cycle; the vinegar will splash about inside cleaning the entire machine.

Here’s a great tip for those who have pesky spiders! I discovered that spiders hate lavender. Purchase a bottle of lavender oil, fill a spray bottle with water and add quite a few drops of the oil, so you get a nice strong scent. Spray around all the windows periodically. Not only does it smell great, but bye-bye spiders!

When closing the summer house for the winter, make sure to unplug the appliances.

Make sure your gutters are cleared of debris. The cleaner they are, the less likely when snow and ice accumulate they will come down.

Give your tools a tuneup, from gardening tools to lawn mowers and edgers. Before storing, wipe clean with a rag, and apply oil to avoid rusting over the winter.

Get a head-start on next year’s growing schedule by doing a yard cleanup. Now is the time to:

  1. Aerate your lawn. During the summer months your lawn becomes compacted. Aerating opens up the soil, so water and nutrients can get in. You can do it yourself by renting an aerator or call a lawn service.
  2. Fertilize. Fertilizing your lawn by using slow-release fertilizer. It allows the lawn time to soak up the nutrients and recover from the hot summer months.
  3. If you have a hedge, keep in mind the best time to cut it back is late October or November. If you hire someone, the price is significantly less.
  4. Cut back your grasses. I have found an easy way to do this is. It is a two-person job if your grasses are large. Gather the grasses midway and attach a bungee cord around it. Cut right below the cord. Disposing is much easier!

This is my last column until next June when the warm winds of summer return. I want to thank all who have kindly commented.

This summer at my “Summer House,” we saw new beginnings and endings of traditions. My niece had the wedding she always dreamed of at my parents’ home. My nephew and his friends likely worked their last summer at the Clam Shack as they move to adulthood and full-time jobs in the year to come.

Next summer my daughter will be a teenager! It seems like only yesterday we snuggled in bed after a day at the beach, the fog horn blowing at Nobska as I read “Good Night Cape Cod” to her.

Until next time...

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(1) comment


I have enjoyed each of your amazing articles this summer!! They remind the reader of days gone by and how precious our time is here on beautiful cape cod! I also love the helpful hints in each article. looking forward to next summer!!

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