It's getting cooler outside. School is starting up again and vacation is over. Before you know it, the holidays will be here, and you'll need to have a clean house.
For fall cleaning, first, swap out your spring/summer wardrobe with your fall/winter clothes. Again, do a clothing check to see what you can donate or discard.
Because the weather is cool and comfortable, autumn is a good time to do another heavy "spring clean" of your house. During the holidays, you'll probably entertain more, so focus on those rooms where you'll have the most guests -- living room, powder room, dining room. If you have good silver, haul it out and polish it. Now's the time to get your carpets cleaned, too.
Pay special attention to your kitchen. Fall weather inspires holiday cooking, so organize your cabinets and your bakeware and cookware. Clean your oven -- you can do it manually or on the self-clean mode. Clean out your fridge and freezer, as well. Put away any appliances you use less than once a week. Your counters will look cleaner and you'll have more room to cook.
Vacuum or professionally clean your upholstered furniture. Clean baseboards and windowsills with a vacuum attachment or wipe them down with a moist rag. Check your drapes for cleanliness, too. Pull out your fall/winter bedding and launder all the summer bedding to prepare it for storage.
Wipe down your lighting fixtures -- if you have lamps with "bowls," you'll likely find a lot of dead bugs from summer. Yuck.
It's also a good time to clean your vacuum. It may seem silly to clean your cleaning appliance, but it's necessary. Make sure the container is clean, and put in a new filter if you use that sort of vacuum. Check the roller brush for any long threads and other debris. Keeping your vacuum clean and in working order will extend its life, saving you money in the long run.
If you use standalone air filters or humidifiers in colder weather, get them out from storage. Wash the elements according to manufacturer directions. Check your dryer's exhaust tube for built-up lint. Have it professionally cleaned if needed. A dirty exhaust tube can easily start a dangerous fire. Also, if you have a fireplace, get the chimney inspected for safety.
Complete these outdoor tasks while the weather is still nice. Clean your patio furniture and any summer toys before putting them into storage. Wash the exterior windows. Drain your garden hoses and disconnect them for storage. Once your garden winds down for the season, prep it for winter according to your region.
Take another walking tour around your property. Are the gutters free of debris? Do you need to do any touch-up painting on your decks and railings? Look around the windows and doors for any deteriorating caulk. Re-caulk if you need to -- you want your home efficiently insulated against the winter chill. Same goes for checking the weather-stripping on the garage door and doors leading outside. Protect your outdoor air conditioning unit with an insulating cover.
Keep reading to find out how to winterize your home.