Get Help from Bob Vila
- Give-Aways & Offers
- Monthly Must Do's
- DIY Project Ideas
- Step-by-Step Guides
- Inspirational Photo Galleries
As another summer slips away, the days seem to straddle the seasons, alternating between warm breezes and brisk winds. So, too, do our tasks. This month, we focus primarily on the peripheries—clearing clutter in the garage, brightening a lackluster entry, gathering valuable seeds from the garden, replacing tired bathroom fixtures, and closing up that vacation home.
1. CLOSE UP THE VACATION HOUSE
For homeowners fortunate enough to have a vacation retreat, Labor Day weekend signals the start of the annual ritual of closing up the seasonal getaway. Although best practices vary by region, if you have an unwinterized rural cottage, beach retreat, or mountain cabin, there are a few basic things you can do to help safeguard your house through the cold months ahead.
Go easy on yourself and get started with the close-down process sooner rather than later. Shutting the house properly in the fall helps ensure that your summer abode is healthy and sound upon your return in the spring.
2. UPDATE YOUR BATH
If you have a dated bath in need of new fixtures, you’ll have no trouble finding attractive replacements that suit both your taste and budget. But, if you’re planning to replace the faucet yourself, be sure to take into consideration the configuration of your sink or vanity. Single-hole sinks fit either single-handled or smaller two-handled faucets. Center-set sinks feature three holes drilled within four inches and accommodate single-handled designs or two-handled faucets mounted on a plate or escutcheon. Widespread sinks, which have three separate holes at least eight inches apart, accept larger two-handled designs. Knowing which configuration you have will make the replacement an easy DIY endeavor.
3. TAKE ADVANTAGE OF YOUR GARDEN
Many veteran gardeners save seeds almost compulsively. Why? Because if you harvest the seeds from your own garden, you not only save money but also ensure that you have the varieties you love. And, saving seeds is simple enough for even novice gardeners to do. For flowers, cut heads once their seed pods have dried (or shortly before), then hang them upside down in a paper bag to dry. After allowing enough time for drying, remove the seeds, separating them as much as possible from chaff and other plant material. For fruits and vegetables, harvest fruit seeds once the fruit has become fully ripe or overripe. Before setting the seeds out to dry, give them a thorough wash. Adjust your approach with podded vegetables like beans and peas. Let these seeds dry in their pods on the plants before you gather them. With a little time and preparation, you will have the makings for a successful planting season come spring.
4. ORGANIZE YOUR GARAGE
Like any room of the house, your garage benefits greatly from smart storage solutions, and now is the perfect time to figure out how to store all your summer paraphernalia and still have space for your car. Before you can even begin to organize, you’ll need to sort the good stuff from the superfluous (the camping gear that you haven’t used in years, or the roller blades that your kids have outgrown). Once you’ve purged, sort the remaining items by their frequency of use. Place similar articles in storage bins and be sure to label them. Here are 10 Neat Garage Storage Solutions.
5. GIVE YOUR FRONT DOOR A FACE-LIFT
Your front door is the centerpiece of your house. It is often the first thing that draws the eye of a passerby or visitor. It also sets the style and mood of your home, welcoming guests with an air of elegance, friendliness, whimsy, or warmth. If your front door is anything but a “centerpiece,” there are some fun, easy, and rewarding upgrades you can make. The easiest, of course, is to paint it a bold new color. Consider adding shutters on each side, or containers that will bring foliage right to the entryway. Minor changes, such as a new light fixture or even door hardware, can have a big impact.