Winter is coming. Get ready!

An experienced property manager shares his "dozen to-dos" to get your home and gardens ready for winter.

Don’t let this warm weather fool you.   We do live in the Northeast, and we do get winter weather every year. So, on the assumption that winter will eventually come, there are things you should do now to make sure that your home and your gardens will make it through the winter happily.

Here’s my list of the “dozen to-dos” that I developed during my many years in property management. None of these tasks is difficult, and they will save you expense and inconvenience in the long run.

  1. If you heat with oil, contact your oil company and make an appointment to have your furnace serviced.
  2. If you burn wood, be sure to order your wood early, while there is still an available supply of well-seasoned wood. And check your chimneys to be sure they’re in good working order. Have them cleaned regularly. How regularly depends on how much wood you burn.
  3. Line up someone to come to plow your driveways and blow snow from your walkways.
  4. Check windows and doors for leaks, and caulk them so they’re tight against the cold and the wind.
  5. Clean your rain gutters, or call someone to come and clean them. If the gutters are not clear, heavy icicles will form and possibly pull them down.
  6. Replace batteries in smoke and carbon monoxide detectors. It’s good to have a designated annual date to do this, and the beginning of winter is a great time for it.
  7. Winterize your awnings by covering them and removing any exposed ruffles. Also cover or store your patio furniture, including umbrellas.
  8. Weed and mulch flower gardens, so the plants on which you lavished so much time and money can survive until next spring. And don’t forget to drain and bring your garden hoses inside for the winter.
  9. Remove all leaves from your lawn. You can do this either by raking or by grinding them up as you mow.
  10. Mow your lawn to about 2-2 ½ inches in height.
  11. Buy driveway markers (those yard-high sticks painted orange on top) and install them at the borders of your driveway so the snowplow doesn’t also plow up your lawn and gardens.
  12. Buy sand or ice-melt and snow shovels, so you’ll have them when you need them. And if you plan to shovel off a wooden deck, make sure to have a plastic shovel for that.