As red and yellow leaves begin to dance to the ground and the days grow chillier, it’s important to prepare for the coming fall and winter months ahead. September 22nd marks the Fall Equinox in the northern hemisphere. On this day, the sun shines directly onto the equator, resulting in an almost equal duration of 12 hours of day and night. This September 22 astronomical landmark starts autumn. As with all seasons, it’s best to prepare in advance. Please enjoy these tips for your home and holiday for the months to come.
1. Safety Check: Schedule your fall and winter heating maintenance and service. Be sure smoke detectors have fully charged batteries and carbon monoxide (CO2) detectors are in place and working.
2. Chimney Sweep: Hire a chimney sweep service to clean the soot out of your chimney. Even with gas and electric fires, clearing the chimney of bird nests and soot is essential to the safety of your home.
3. Camera & photos: Upload spring and summer vacation photos to the cloud. Be prepared with clear or new memory cards to shoot festive holiday pictures. Design and order holiday cards now.
4. Start early: Review your holiday checklists now. If you don’t have a list, consider these resources. Ease the stress and enjoy.
5. Unpack & donate: Donate excess holiday décor and festive decorations. Do this early so another family can benefit and enjoy your beautiful décor. You will also save valuable storage space.
6. Create space: Organize your bedroom and hall closets for the busy social season. Clear space for guests’ coats by clearing and donating unneeded items. Add an artistic storage piece at the front door for gloves, scarves and umbrellas.
7. Don’t wait until the first freeze to discover coats are too small: Check coat, glove and mitten sizes now to be sure you and your family have the right size when they are needed. Donate clothing they have outgrown.
8. Fall cleaning. Family and holiday guests will be arriving, and you want your home to sparkle! Organize hall & guest room closets, and garage. Clean the carpets and windows. Deep clean the kitchen, refrigerator, and freezer in preparation for holiday cooking.
9. Extra warmth: Before the cold settles in, we have warm nights and chilly nights. Be prepared by placing a throw or comforter at the end of all of your beds for extra warmth. Place soft slippers bedside.
10. Gift list: Prepare a gift wish-list and ask your loved ones to share their thoughts on gift ideas. Start shopping online and at stores if you haven’t already.
Sharon Schweitzer, J.D., is a cross-cultural consultant, an international protocol expert and the founder of Protocol & Etiquette Worldwide. She is accredited in intercultural management, is the resident etiquette expert for CBS Austin’s We Are Austin, regularly quoted by BBC Capital, Investor’s Business Daily, Fortune, The New York Times, and numerous other media. She is the best-selling, international award-winning author of Access to Asia: Your Multicultural Business Guide, named to Kirkus Review’s Best Books of 2015 and recipient of the British Airways International Trade, Investment & Expansion Award at the 2016 Greater Austin Business Awards.