Complete Idiot's Guide to Getting Organized
It's Autumn. Pumpkins glow in golden fields. Shorter days, crisp mornings signal winter's approach.
Can the holidays be far behind?
Use Autumn's brisk and breezy days to conquer deep-cleaning chores for a clean and comfortable winter home, and to wrap up summer's outdoor lifestyle.
Our Fall Cleaning Chore Checklist will help you prepare home and hearth for the coming of winter:
Outside The House
Summer's come and gone--and left its mark on outside the house.
Time to come inside for winter! Outside the house tend to these autumn chores:
- Clean and store patio furniture, umbrellas, children's summer toys.
- Touch up paint on trim, railings and decks. Use a wire brush to remove flaking paint; prime bare wood first.
- Check caulk around windows and doors. Follow manufacturer's recommendations to re-caulk if needed.
- Inspect external doors and garage doors. Do they close tightly? Install weather-stripping, door thresholds if needed.
- Wash exterior windows.
- Drain and store garden hoses. Install insulating covers on exterior spigots. In hard-freeze areas, have sprinkler systems blown free of water.
- Check gutters and downspouts. Clear of debris if necessary. In cold-weather areas, consider installing heating cable to prevent ice dams.
- Have chimneys and flues inspected and cleaned if necessary.
The Inside Story:
Autumn's the time for "spring cleaning"! With winter coming, it makes sense to tuck the family into a freshly-cleaned home via fall cleaning.
Deep clean now to take advantage of good weather and to welcome approaching holidays with a clean and comfortable home.
To learn how to clean efficiently, check out the Clean House Guide for more information on cleaning fast and furious.
- Focus on public rooms: living room, family room, entryway, guest bath.
- Clean from top to bottom. Vacuum drapes and window treatments. Clean window sills and window wells. Vacuum baseboards andcorners.
- Vacuum upholstered furniture, or have professionally cleaned if needed. Move furniture and vacuum beneath and behind it.
- Wash interior windows.
- Turn mattresses front-to-back and end-to-end to equalize wear.
- Launder or clean all bedding: mattress pads, pillows, duvets, blankets, comforters. Tuck the family into a warm and cozy winter bed.
- Schedule professional carpet cleaning early this month! Warm October afternoons speed carpet drying. Carpet cleaning firms get busy by the end of October, so schedule now for best service.
- Prepare the kitchen for holiday cooking. Clean and organized kitchen cabinets, paying particular attention to baking supplies, pans and equipment.
- Clear kitchen counters of all appliances not used within the last week. Clear counters look cleaner--and provide more room for holiday cooking.
- Pull refrigerator away from the wall, and vacuum the condenser coils. For bottom-mounted coils, use a long, narrow brush to clean coils of dust and debris.
- Wash light-diffusing bowls from light fixtures.
- Inspect each appliance. Does it need supplies? Stock up on softener salt now, and avoid staggering over icy sidewalks with heavy bags.
- Check and empty the central vacuum's collection area.
- Clean electronic air cleaner elements monthly for most efficient operation. Wash them in an empty dishwasher (consult manual for specific product recommendations).
- Clean or replace humidifier elements before the heating season begins.
- Inspect washer hoses for bulges, cracks or splits. Replace them every other year.
- Check dryer exhaust tube and vent for built-up lint, debris or birds' nests! Make sure the exterior vent door closes tightly when not in use.
- Schedule fall furnace inspections now. Don't wait for the first cold night!
- Buy a winter's supply of furnace filters. Change filters monthly for maximum energy savings and indoor comfort. When the right filter is on hand, it's an easy job!
- Drain sediment from hot water heaters.