fall

As lovers of autumn start their final countdown -- it's just over three weeks now until the official start -- there are some easy tasks to tackle around the house. 

We've compiled these suggestions from House Hacks, the Home & Garden page tips which run weekly in LNP:

— Keep cozy, Part 1: A sheet of aluminum foil stretched out behind your home’s radiators will reflect more heat back into the room.

— Keep cozy, Part 2: If you have a drafty window that you don’t look out often — or, even better, a window where you keep the curtains closed anyway — cover the window with plastic weather wrap, or even bubble wrap, as an extra layer of insulation.

— Keep cozy, Part 3: If you have a microwavable heating pad, it’s good for more than sore muscles. Warm it up and tuck between your bedsheets at the foot end of the bed. By the time your teeth are brushed and face washed, your side of the bed will be toasty warm.

— Some garages are a tight squeeze for opening a car door inside, even if you’ve managed to clear space for the vehicle. Slice a pool noodle in half lengthwise, then attach to the garage door at wall height for cushioning against car doors flung open too far.

— Dried orange and lemon peels make great fire-starters in wood-burning fireplaces. The oil in the peel can help fuel fires, and releases less creosote than paper. Dry the peels on a sheet pan and then store in a paper bag with a silica packet to keep them dry.

— Having trouble starting the fire pit? Grab a few Doritos. They make great kindling.

— A few tips to make quick work of end-of-summer cleanup:

To “dust” curtains and throw pillows quickly, toss them in the clothes dryer for 15 minutes on the “air-only” cycle.

Clear ceiling fan blades of a summer’s worth of dust accumulated by constant whirling: Slip the open end of a pillowcase over the blade and wipe. All dust will stay inside the case; just toss into the wash to clean.

— To keep squirrels from chewing on the pumpkins you put on display outdoors, rub the gourds with petroleum jelly.

— Once your Brandywine and Amish Paste tomato harvest is complete, repurpose the conical tomato cages. Wrap them in vines and lights for autumn; garlands and lights over the winter.