(image via here)
The get-it-done list for October... straight out of the "gentle reminders" section of my 5 years of Martha Stewart Living magazines. Started late? Check out the other months here.
- Go apple-picking. A crisp, early-fall afternoon is ideal for visiting a pick-your-own orchard. Take along a picnic basket, and spend the day among the trees, gathering fruit. Then bring your harvest home, and make pies, applesauce, and more.
- Change the direction of your ceiling fans. While the standard counterclockwise direction provides a pleasant breeze during warm months, you should run the fan clockwise in cold weather. This creates an upward draft, redistributing the warm air hovering near the ceiling throughout the room, thus heating your home more efficiently. Most fans have a switch on the base to adjust the rotation.
- Fine-tune plans for Halloween costumes and decorations; carve pumpkins just before the holiday. Don't forget to toast the seeds when you're done. They're delicious seasoned with salt, but even better when spiced up a little.
- As leaves fall, rake regularly to keep the lawn healthy; then shred the leaves and add them to your compost pile. Also have gutters cleaned of leaves and other debris, which can lead to clogs and water damage under the eaves and in your walls.
- Don't wait until cold and flu season to get the medicine you'll need when you're feeling under the weather - stock up on these items now. Go through your medicine cabinet, and throw out any expired medications. Make sure you have basic first aid items, such as bandages and pain relievers, on hand, too.
- Prevent your drains from clogging by flushing them out once a week. Boil a gallon of water, then pour half of it down the drain. Wait several minutes, then repeat with the rest of the water. Should you have a drain that is already stopped up, try this eco-friendly remedy: Pour a half cup of baking soda, followed by a half cup of white vinegar, down the drain. Cover tightly with a plug or wet rag. After five minutes, flush with boiling water.
- October is National Breast Cancer Awareness month. Take this opportunity to schedule a mammogram if you're due. Women age 40 and over should have one each year - it's the most effective way of detecting the disease, which is diagnosed in more than 200,000 Americans annually.
- Fine green tomatoes. Before the first frost, harvest any tomatoes that remain in your garden. Let mature green tomatoes ripen indoors; place them in a paper bad with a ripe tomato to speed up the process.
- Change your sheets. Launder and store warm-weather bedding. Before use, refresh winter linens, such as flannel sheets and down comforters, by airing them on an outdoor clothesline.
- The bright side. As the days get shorter, you'll want to maximize the natural light in your home. Set aside an afternoon to make your light fixtures and mirrors gleam. Also clean your windows with a solution of warm water and mild dishwashing liquid, then use a squeegee to wipe them dry.