For most of the country, October brings cooler temperatures and shorter days.  Trees are showing off autumnal colors and dropping leaves and we start wearing more layers to keep warm.  It is a great month to enjoy all that fall has to offer: crunching leaves under foot, collecting pine cones for decorating, picking apples and pumpkins, and decorating for Halloween. Birds sticking around for the winter will appreciate birdseed and many weekends will be spent raking leaves (read our tips for how to re-use your leaves). October maintenance focuses on clearing away those leaves from gutters and roofs, putting away summer goods and starting to prep for the winter.

Outside of the home, it’s a good month to clean and store the items you won’t need until next summer. Garden tools, lawn mowers and shovels should be cleaned and stored. Leaf blowers should be brought out and prepped for use. Outdoor furniture should also be cleaned and covered (indoor cushions do best when stored inside). Many states start experiencing frost over night so before that happens, plant your spring bulbs. Since Halloween is just around the corner, you’ll want to ensure that your front walk, stairs or porch are safe and well-lit. Inspect outdoor lights and replace bulbs as necessary. Make repairs on wobbly railings or fill in uneven areas of your driveway. If your repair needs are beyond your skill set, find a concrete specialist on Porch.

Inside the home, if you plan on using your fireplace make sure you’ve had it professionally inspected and cleaned. Buy only seasoned (dried for over a year) firewood and keep your fall decorations far from any lit fires. If you find yourself using your heating unit in October, make sure you call and have it professionally serviced. It’s better to have maintenance work done now rather than in the middle of winter. Ask your HVAC service person about having your ducts thoroughly cleaned to remove mold spores as well as dust.

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Tip of the month:Avoid Halloween Havoc

Halloween is a fun and festive occasion to play dress up, eat loads of sugar and host parties. Unfortunately, it’s one of America’s deadliest holidays. Stay safe this Halloween by being aware of the following safety hazards

  • Opt for LED mini-lights instead of candles
  • Turn on outdoor lights and create a safe entrance to your home
  • Keep your yard safe by filling in holes and removing tripping hazards
  • Check smoke alarms and keep decorations and décor away from flames
  • Always chose flame-resistant costumes and make sure your children wear reflectors, carry a flashlight and can see out of their masks

For more Halloween safety tips, visit Get Advice.

DIY Project of the month: Store away garden tools and outdoor furniture

October tends to bring overnight frosts, which might cut down on your gardening time. You might still need access to gardening tools over the winter, like a leaf blower and rake, however for the rest of your tools, this is a great month to clean and store. It’s also a great time to clean off your outdoor furniture and store them until the weather warms up.

  • Brush off extra dirt from tools with a dry cloth
  • To clean, lubricate and sharpen your tools, simply fill a large bucket with sand and add enough oil (such as motor oil or WD-40) to make the sand slightly damp but not wet.
  • Plunge the tools in the oily sand to remove fine grit and dirt. Tools that are hinged should be taken apart and oiled separately. The oil will keep them seasoned over the winter and the sand helps keep their edges sharp.
  • You can store your hand tools in this bucket with the handles up or hang your tools on a peg. However you store your tools, keep them up off the ground and don’t stack them. You can protect sharp edges (like saws) with a piece of protective foam.

For more information on winterizing your home, visit Get Advice.

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