08/04/2015 12:51 EDT | Updated 08/04/2015 12:59 EDT

Get A Head Start On Fall Home Maintenance During The Summer

In August, beach days and summer vacations give way — however much we wish they wouldn’t — to the return of school and work. From boosting home security to prepping weeknight dinners in advance, these nine to-dos will help keep your home safe, organized and prepared for anything.

Beef up home security before vacation. August is a popular time for travel — and also, unfortunately, a common time for home break-ins to occur. Ask a friend or neighbour to check up on your house while you’re away, and consider adding a few other security features (like motion-sensing exterior lights) before leaving on vacation.

10 Ways to Keep Your Home Safe While You’re Travelling

Edit and organize clothes closets. Take the time to sort through your closet and drawers before doing any shopping for fall, donating items that no longer fit or that you don’t wear. If your region cools down in the fall, begin pulling out fall clothes from storage now so you can assess what you might still need to buy.

Smart Solutions for Clothes Closets

Test smoke and carbon monoxide detectors. There should be one outside the kitchen and each bedroom and on each floor of the house. Test all devices and replace batteries as needed. To avoid having to get up and down a stepladder repeatedly, use a pole to push the “test” button — that’s how the fire marshal does it!

Clean the bathroom fan. Summer humidity means the bathroom fan has to work even harder than usual to clear the air after showers, so be sure to leave it on for a full 30 minutes after each shower to prevent bathroom mildew from forming. To clean, take off the cover and use a vacuum attachment to clear out the dust and grime.

Prep for quick and easy weeknight dinners and school lunches. As the summer winds down, it’s time to start thinking ahead to the busy months of fall. Get a jump on kitchen tasks by cleaning out the cupboards, and spend an afternoon preparing some freezer and big-batch meals. Wash and chop some fruit and veggies to keep in the fridge as healthy snacks, and dedicate a shelf to school lunch components.

Give the mudroom a makeover. A bit of chalk paint, a few new baskets or a set of wall hooks can go a long way toward making your mudroom (or entry nook) more functional and attractive. If you have a coat closet, maximize space with a shoe rack on the floor and a high shelf for less-frequently used items.

Mudroom Touches Anyone Can Do

Do some emergency prep. We should all make it a priority to keep emergency kits up to date with food, water, clothes, flashlights, first aid supplies, an emergency radio and other necessities — but it’s especially important if you live in an area where flooding, hurricanes, tornadoes or earthquakes occur. To protect your home from hurricane-force winds, consider installing strong shutters that can be closed when a storm is approaching.

11 Ways to Hurricane-Proof Your House

Inspect and clean gutters. If you live in an area with summer storms, be sure to inspect your gutters for damage and clear out wet leaves before the fall. If you don’t already have them, consider installing gutter guards to cut down on such cleaning in the future.

Check and put away summer equipment. Be sure to clean summer gear and toss broken items before storing for next year. If you had to toss something (like a blown-out beach umbrella), take advantage of end-of-season sales to find a new one at the best price.

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