Summer can really mess things up. I live in Florida, and the rain and winds from the summer storms leave a huge mess. Dust seems to settle on everything, no matter how hard you try to keep it out. My annual ornamentals and summer vegetables are becoming dry, brown, scraggly heaps and mold is growing on everything. It's time for an end-of-summer cleaning spree!
Put Away and Toss Away
Now is the time to get your outdoor summer furniture ready to put away for the season. There may still be some nice outdoor time left, so cleaning can be postponed, but take a look at it now and do any repairs that need doing, oil the hinges, and give it a general wipe down. Any outdoor furniture or accessories that have outlived their useful life at my house get put out by the curb or given away on Freecycle or Craigslist. I also put anything I'm no longer using outdoors into storage.
Clean and Maintain the Grill
If you like backyard football get-togethers, now is the time to get that grill ready. After a full summer of cookouts, a serious cleaning is in order. I find that if you take it apart and do a thorough cleaning and lubricating now, it will be much easier to put into storage when the weather turns cold. If your grill cover has become grimy, clean that thoroughly too.
Pick Up and Clean Up the Yard and Garden
Annual summer plants are dying now, and you need to remove the debris from the garden. Harmful insects and diseases overwinter in debris, so doing this now will make for a healthier garden in the spring. Deadheading the perennials keeps them looking good into the fall. I like to also clean and service my garden tools. I scrub off all the rust with a wire brush and re-paint or oil metal parts. I also apply tung oil to wooden handles to protect them from winter drying.
Time for Late Summer Pressure Cleaning
I like to pressure clean the summer grime and mold from the walks, driveway and house before it gets cool, because that cold water spraying back on you is just uncomfortable. While you're pressure cleaning, don't forget the roof. Asphalt shingles last longer if they are cleaned at least once a year. I've found some effective roof mold removers for pressure cleaners at home or hardware stores.
Taking End-of-Summer Cleaning Indoors
Summer's end is a good time to clean out and organize the garage and storage shed. I find that after dragging tools and recreational items in and out all summer, my garage usually looks like something from that hoarding show. When summer is done and it gets a little cooler, I pull everything lying around out and reorganize them for easy access next year. When they are out, I scrub down the concrete floor.
This is also a good time to have carpets and window treatments cleaned of all the summer dirt that's been dragged or blown in. Removing that dirt and dust works well to help avoid winter colds when you're closed up in the dry heated air.
This seems like a lot of work, but believe me, it makes packing it in for winter and emerging in the spring a lot easier and faster. Just do it now and get it over with. You won't regret it.
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