When the days start getting shorter and your thoughts turn to sitting around the fireplace instead of standing around the outdoor grill, it's time to invest a weekend on fall cleaning.
Spring isn't the only time of year it pays to clean, organize and take stock of your home environment and accumulated stuff. Autumn is a perfect opportunity to stash that summer sports gear and other assorted toys, and start figuring out where you tossed the umbrellas, driving gloves and snow shovels last spring.
You spend major time indoors when the weather gets cold, so the more you do now to clean and arrange your space, the more pleasant it will be to hunker down for the duration when the weatherman starts talking about frost on the pumpkin.
Some elbow grease now will make Christmas entertaining easier and keep your home safer and more secure, too. A dirty dishwasher or grimy shower may not seem like a big deal when you're watching fireflies on the patio, but come January, you'll be surrounded by overcast skies and wishing you'd dragged out the ammonia on a day when it wouldn't be a problem to leave the windows open all afternoon.
These five important autumn chores will help get you prepared for winter and save you from having to play catch up during those short winter weekends when there never seems to be enough time or energy to get things done before it gets dark outside.
We'll be starting at the top for the first chore, mucking out the roof gutters.