By MARY MARLOWE LEVERETTE
This time, you should start with the outdoor tasks and then move indoors as the weather becomes colder. By doing some extra work now, you’ll be ready to enjoy a snug winter without as many worries.
See the list of areas and items in your home you should clean, repair, or inspect (or all three!) during fall below, and read on for expert tips for tackling each item on your fall cleaning checklist.
Clean and Store Outdoor Furniture
While residents of some regions can enjoy outdoor living spaces year-round, many cannot. As the season changes, pick a dry, sunny day to give outdoor furniture a good cleaning to prepare it for storage. It is particularly important to treat stains at this time, because allowing them to remain on upholstery or outdoor umbrella fabric for several months will make the task extremely difficult later.
If you do not have space to move furniture into a storage area, protect it with custom covers or weatherproof tarps secured with bungee cords. Place a tarp under metal furniture and accessories to help prevent rust stains on the patio floor.
Service and Store Gardening Equipment
Just as your garden goes dormant during winter months, so does your lawn and garden equipment. Now is the time to give each tool a good cleaning and make any needed repairs. Lawnmowers and any gas-powered equipment should be winterized properly so they will be in top shape when the first hint of spring arrives.
Clean Gutters and Downspouts
Autumn leaves are beautiful—until they clog gutters and downspouts. In addition to looking messy, gutters filled with leaves and pine straw can cause moisture and mildew problems on soffits, resulting in rotting wood and roof leaks.
You may need to clean the gutters out several times during the fall as leaves continue to fall. Always be sure to use good safety practices and a very sturdy ladder.
Winterize Outdoor Pools and Water Features
If you have an outdoor pool, spa, or water features that is not heated, drain the water or use a cover. Take the time to winterize exposed pipes and faucets to avoid costly repairs.
Wash Exterior and Indoor Windows
While you’re winterizing windows, multi-task: This is the perfect time to wash the glass. Start with the outside of the windows. Even if you need to rinse them off again after all of the gutter cleaning is done, you’ll be glad you have them cleaned during the long winter days.
As you move inside to clean windows, freshen up the window treatments as well. Some fabrics can be tossed in the washer, but most drapery requires dry cleaning. This is the perfect time to dust and clean blinds and shades and wipe down window sills.
Complete an Outdoor Home Inspection
Before the weather turns cold, take the time to walk around the outside of your home and make a note of areas that need to be winterized. If you don’t know much about home repairs, hire a professional inspector to help you.
- Inspect the roof for any cracking or loose shingles after the heat of summer. Make repairs before winter snow, wind, and rain cause leaks.
- Do some pest control to prevent mice and other rodents and insects from seeking shelter inside your home.
- Inspect the foundation of your home to look for cracks and make those repairs.
- Check windows and doors for any broken seals and replace damaged caulk for more energy efficiency.
- Schedule a maintenance check-up for your heating system.
Change Smoke Detector Batteries
A change of seasons also signals a time to change batteries in smoke and carbon monoxide detectors. This is one essential chore that can help protect everyone in your household.
Clean and Reverse Ceiling Fans
If the ceiling fans in your home have been running all summer, it’s time to turn them off and clean the fan. Then, look for the small switch on the fan body that reverses the blades so that the heated air will be redirected in a downward flow to keep you warmer during chilly days.
Deep-Clean Inside the House
If you’ve taken it easy during the summer and only gotten rid of the most visible grime, it’s time to do a deeper cleaning, especially in those places that you have been forgetting to clean, including your cleaning tools. As you move through the rooms in your home, follow our list to make sure everything gets the attention it needs.
Store Summer Clothes and Inspect Winter Wardrobes
While you’re cleaning, don’t forget your closet and summer clothes. Empty each clothes closet and sort summer clothes before storing them away. Choose clothes that you want to store until next year to be laundered or dry cleaned. The rest should be sold, donated, or discarded.
While the closet is empty, check that no pests that can ruin clothes are lurking inside by vacuuming it out well.