After the excitement of a summer in Muskoka, September heralds a time of getting back into the swing of work and school. So here are some tips to enter the new season ready for a fresh start by focusing on getting cozy indoors, bringing nature in and boosting your home’s energy efficiency to prepare for the cooler months ahead.
Bring a little outside in! Fall decorating can be simple and easy — place a few snips from the a beautiful maple in a vase, gather up some fresh fall gourds or a spectacular potted Chrysanthemum from the farmers market, or collect acorns and seed pods on a pretty tray.
Conduct an energy audit. Make sure your home is energy efficient and ready for winter. Try installing new weather tripping to your windows and doors, and consider boosting your insulation. Ontario has a program offering incentives to make your home energy efficient. You can see information about Ontario programs here. They are offered via utility companies as well as local municipalities and other agencies.
Remember your summer. Now is the time to organize all the summer’s family fun pictures, while things are still fresh in our mind. You could enjoy crafting a scrapbook or album by hand or, if you prefer, you can order a photo book or prints with a few clicks of the mouse! You could take care of some holiday gifts too by creating a calendar or holiday cards featuring a special memory from your summer. Remember if you save your photos in a cloud-based storage system it is worth taking the time to tag each photo with helpful names or dates to make retrieving the photos easier when you want them later.
Schedule maintenance services. If you have a woodstove, fireplace or forced air heating system you should have a service call before winter to make sure your chimney is in good shape and your filters are clean. Keeping on top of maintenance for chimneys and heating systems is essential, both for safety and efficiency.
Get ready for the cool evenings. The day will be here soon when you feel that first “nip” in the air so get ready for it 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 and you can have some fun picking out fall colours that bring a rich warmth to you home décor.
Make a homework nook! If you have school age children at home think about creating a “special” area for them to do their homework where they can be close enough to ask for help if needed yet still quiet and focused. While some kids work best in the quiet of their own room, others prefer plunking down closer to the action. Set up an appealing work space with a clear work surface, a comfortable seat and some nearby storage for school and art supplies. Make it bright and appealing so homework is not a dreary negative thing.
Mini de clutter. After the busy summer, it’s inevitable that a few of the drawers and closets around your home have become filled to overflowing. Regain control before it gets away from you. Edit these spaces, throw out the true junk and give away unneeded multiples.
Take a moment or two. In September, schedules tend to ramp up. Don’t let yourself get too busy. Make a conscious effort to set aside a few minutes at the start of your day to savor that first cup of coffee or tea, and sit down to breakfast even if it is a simple one. Consider reading a daily devotional or writing in a journal…a moment of reflection can be the antidote to hours of business!
Treat yourself to some new candles. With the light beginning to fade earlier in the evenings, it is lovely to create a homey, welcoming mood by lighting a few candles around your home. Try pure beeswax candles for a subtly warm and sweet fragrance, or choose your favorite fall scent.
If you have other ideas about things to help make the transition into fall a welcome event let me know. Living and working in Muskoka is a gift and being able to enjoy our spectacular fall season is something I love to do.