Fall is here—it's the perfect season to complete household chores to get your home all clean and cozy for the upcoming winter and holiday season when guests are over. Since the weather is just beginning to get chilly, it's ideal to start with the outdoor tasks and then move indoors as the weather becomes colder. By doing some extra work now, you'll be thanking yourself when you're enjoying a snug winter without as many worries.
We've curated a fall checklist, so you know exactly where to start and what tasks to tackle in the most efficient way. 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.
Fall Cleaning Checklist
Clean and store outdoor furniture
Service and store gardening equipment
Clean gutters and downspouts
Winterize outdoor pools and water features
Remove window screens and install storm windows
Wash exterior and indoor windows
Complete an outdoor home inspection
Sweep and inspect chimneys and fireplaces
Change smoke detector batteries
Clean or replace HVAC filters
Clean and reverse ceiling fans
Deep-clean inside the house (bedroom, bathroom, living room, and kitchen)
Store summer clothes and inspect winter wardrobes
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.
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.
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.
Remove Window Screens and Install Storm Windows
Many homes still have storm windows and doors that should be installed to help insulate and make homes more energy-efficient during cold weather. As screens and window air conditioners are removed after the summer, give them a good cleaning and make any needed 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.
A chimney should be cleaned and inspected yearly. A chimney sweep will help protect your home from accidental fires caused by creosote build-up. If you didn't give your interior fireplace surround a good cleaning at the end of last winter, do it now. Waiting another season will just add to the build-up of soot and make cleaning even more difficult.
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 or Replace HVAC Filters
In addition to having an HVAC technician check your heating system, it is important to regularly change the filters in your heating and air conditioning system. Changing or cleaning filters will improve the air quality of your home and reduce the wear and tear on your furnace.
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.
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.