1. Weatherstripping and/or caulk. If your windows or doors are drafty, you’ll really start to feel it when the cold weather hits in a few months! Buy some new weatherstripping or caulk and apply it to your windows and doors now.
2. Furnace filters. Be honest—when was the last time you replaced your furnace filter? If you can’t remember (or didn’t know they required replacing), it’s time to head to the hardware store! Dirty filters inhibit air flow, so you’ll get better heating for better prices this winter if you change your filter now. Plus, you’ll actually increase the life of your furnace if you regularly replace your filters. If your furnace hasn’t had regular maintenance work done in over a year, it’s time to call a professional.
3. Hardy winter plants. It’s time to clear the annuals out of your window boxes and invest in some hardy winter plants to keep your yard bright during the colder months ahead. Plants like chrysanthemums, cabbage, fuchsias and hollies blossom late into the winter and stand up well to cold temperatures.
4. Candles, flashlights and matches. At the end of summer, take the time to stock up on these key items. Store them together in a specific, waterproof, easy-access spot in your home. If a power outage hits, you’ll be glad you planned ahead!
5. A storm door. If you have an older home, your front and back doors may be made of uninsulated wood—not the best material for keeping windstorms and freezing temperatures out! You might want to consider installing a storm door, which helps seal the entrance, making your home more comfortable and fuel efficient during the winter months. Storm doors are installed outside of your exterior doors; while you don’t have to remove your interior door to do so, you do have to keep the doors open during installation, so it’s best to do this project now before it gets too cold!
6. Deck sealant. Does your wood deck look graying or faded? Is it starting to crack or grow mildew? If so, you need to reseal your deck before fall begins; otherwise, you risk snowstorms and subsequent snowmelt ruining your deck beyond repair (resulting in exorbitant replacement costs). Also, now’s the time to check for mold growth and call in a professional if hazardous spores are spreading within your deck.
7. Canned food and bottled water. At the end of summer, do an inventory of your emergency food and water stash. Toss any expired cans, and make sure to replenish your food and water supplies—experts recommend having enough to last each member of your family for three days. When the blizzards do hit, you won’t have to fight the crowds at the supermarkets and risk the stores being sold out of necessities.