The leaves may not be entirely off the trees, but it’s getting real close. I definitely have a love-hate relationship with the beauty of the color changes of the leaves because it creates so much work and then when it’s all said and done, it’s just dismal, cold, and dreary in many parts of the country until spring. But, remember, the days start to get longer everywhere after December 21 (my second favorite day of the year!). But first, we have to tackle the final fall clean-up checklist which honestly, makes it a little less dreary and helps keep curb appeal up year-round.
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Engage the help of your children!
Cleaning up doesn't have to be all work and no play. I think quite possibly our dog has the most fun in the leaves of us all! While Lexie looks least excited in this picture, she's usually the first one to grab to rake to make a quick $5!
Cut everything back
At least everything that can be cut; consult your local extension office or YouTube if you’re not sure.
Replace your outdoor light bulbs so they are the same color tone and one isn’t burned out when it’s zero degrees out. I recommend clear LED bulbs that are 2700-3000k.
Remove screens, clean, and put away.
My favorite method is to simply wipe both directions (horizontally and vertically) with a damp, thick microfiber cloth (or several depending on how dirty they are).
Install snow stakes
If you live in an area of the country that snows, and you don’t want your grass plowed, make sure to install snow stakes.
Clean out your planters
Planters freeze in the winter! Empty them or you’ll look at dead plants all winter because the soil is frozen. If you haven’t updated your planters for fall yet, see my tips here.
Pick up final leaves and mow.
Top 3 favorite tool is my leaf vacuum. It works awesome for nooks and crannies, hard-to-reach places, berms, and the “final” cleanup. I may be a bit OCD if I’m vacuuming my yard…good to know. By the way, this is a fabulous gift idea!
Wash Your Windows
Knock down all the spider webs from the outside of your house and pick a nice day to wash your windows. It will likely be the last time before spring. This is not a difficult or time-consuming task with a simple scrubber, squeegee, and e-cloth.
Get out the winter magic doormats.
I swear by these simple rugs. They are thin and don’t feel like much, but the amount of dirt they keep from tracking in the house is freakin amazing! Don’t forget to put one by the back door for the dog’s wet feet during winter!
Install holiday lights before it gets too much colder
This way they are up before thanksgiving. I put up waterproof LED strip lights last year and left them up because they can’t be seen unless you are standing under the eves and I love them! My investment was less than $100 total. I have them on Kasa wifi outlets so it’s super easy to control the schedule and times of year they are on. My house was purple and orange the week before Halloween!
Plant an amaryllis bulb this week to have it bloom at Christmas!
These just make me so happy. They also make excellent and holiday hostess gifts, so I usually plant a few and then take one for Thanksgiving and holiday gatherings. Such a unique idea and one that can be enjoyed throughout the season and perhaps for years to come.
Be grateful you have a yard to clean up.
Seriously, of all times of the year, it is the month to practice gratitude and I am so grateful that I am a home owner with beautiful landscaping and have the privilege and ability to take care of it.
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