To-Dos: Your September Home Checklist

As life transitions back indoors, bring elements of nature in with you and make your spaces cozy and warm

By Laura Gaskill  / Courtesy of Houzz.com

After the excitement of summer vacation, getting back into the swing of school and work in September can be a challenge, but also a welcome change. Enter the new season ready for a fresh start by focusing on the positive — getting cozy indoors, bringing nature in and boosting your home’s energy efficiency to prepare for the cooler months ahead.

Bring nature in. Early fall decorating can be simple and easy  place a few snips from the tree in your front yard in a glass vessel, display fresh fall gourds or collect acorns and seepods in a pretty tray. If you live in the city, pick up fall flowers and nuts in the shell at the market for a quick autumnal space refresh.

Conduct an energy audit. A home energy audit assesses your home’s energy efficiency and provides specific ideas for improving it, from weatherstripping to upgrading appliances and boosting insulation. And according to the U.S. Department of Energy, making the changes suggested in an energy audit can save 5 to 30 percent on the monthly energy bill. Some electric and gas utilities conduct free or discounted energy audits, so be sure to check with your utility companies before hiring a home energy auditor.

Print your vacation photos. Whether you enjoy crafting albums by hand or prefer to order a photo book or prints with a few clicks of the mouse, completing this task while the memories are still fresh is the easiest way to stay on top of the endless stream of family photos. Went somewhere really memorable? Turn your favorite shots into a calendar or holiday cards. If you save your photos in a cloud-based storage system, taking the time to tag each photo with helpful keywords (like beach2015Grandma Betty) will make retrieving the photos you want later easier.

Schedule maintenance for the chimney and heating system. Keeping on top of maintenance for chimneys and heating systems is essential, both for safety and efficiency. If you use a wood stove or fireplace, have it cleaned and inspected before using it this fall.

Get cozy with fall textiles. Mark the day you feel that first nip in the air by swapping out your summery pillows and lightweight blankets for thicker, fluffier versions. Choosing the same size pillow inserts for all seasons allows you to just switch the covers, saving space and money.

Create a convenient homework spot. While some kids work best in the quiet of their own room, others prefer plunking down closer to the action (read: snacks) in the kitchen or spreading out on a big dining table. If you have kiddos in the house, notice where they tend to gravitate when it’s time to tackle homework, and set up an appealing workspace there — a clear work surface, a comfortable seat and some nearby storage for school and art supplies should do the trick.

Tidy up utility spaces. After the busy summer, it’s inevitable that the junk drawer and broom closet are filled to overflowing. Regain some sanity by editing these spaces, tossing the true junk and giving away unneeded multiples.

Make time for a morning ritual. In September, schedules tend to ramp up. Counteract the too-busy feeling by setting aside extra time in the morning to savor that first cup of coffee or tea, and sit down to breakfast (even if it’s just yogurt and fruit).

Invest in some new candles. When the light begins to fade earlier in the evening, create a homey, welcoming mood by lighting a few extra candles around the house. Try pure beeswax candles for a subtly warm and sweet fragrance, or choose your favorite scent.