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Ah, Fall…visions of apple picking, hayrides, pumpkin carnivals…and the reality of a whole heck of a lot of home maintenance projects!
“Winter is coming.” So say the Starks of Winterfell, and they are not wrong. Fall is the season in which we clean up, close up, pack up, and store all of our summer outdoor playthings, and prepare for the cold days and nights ahead when we spend the majority of our time indoors.
Ahem, well, maybe not as much for those of us who live in warm climates.
It really wasn’t so long ago that I lived in a part of the country that had real winters, so I know how important it is to complete home maintenance tasks in the fall. Even though I don’t have to do a lot of these projects, I’m well aware that most of us have to do at least some, if not all!
Fall Home Maintenance Projects
And I’ve got quite the list for you! Before you scroll down and see just how many items are on this list, let me be clear in saying that not ALL of them will apply to everyone! Pick and choose the ones you need and happily skip over all the others.
I’ll also leave it to you to determine how you want to approach this giant list of projects. Are you the type to knock everything out in a weekend? Or do you prefer to space your projects out over the course of a few weeks, or even a couple of months?
We all have our unique ways of getting things done. When there’s a lot to accomplish, it’s usually best to do it in a comfortable, familiar process. Just know what projects are MUST-Dos and get to those first.
Of course, it goes without saying that some of these must be done when the weather is clear. Best to start with those outdoor projects and move indoors as things get colder and damper outside.
Fall Home Maintenance Projects: Your Home’s Exterior
Wash your windows
Clean gutters and downspouts
Inspect your roof, foundation, and siding and make any needed repairs
Inspect your windows, doors, and their frames and make any needed repairs
Check that any exposed pipes (such as in your crawl space) are well insulated
Locate the water shut-off valve for your home and know how to turn it off
Block any small holes or entrances that critters could use to enter your home
Pressure wash the house exterior
Fall Home Maintenance Projects: Your Property
Trim and prune trees and shrubs
Fertilize and reseed the lawn
Clean, winterize and store your lawnmower, outdoor tools, and grill
Clean, and store or cover outdoor furniture
Move cold-sensitive patio accessories inside
Move potted plants indoors if overwintering or empty them and clean and store the pots
Drain and turn off your sprinkler system
Inspect outdoor walkways – porch, steps, sidewalk, deck, patio – to eliminate walking or snow-shoveling hazards
Add outdoor lighting around your home
Drain and store outdoor hoses
Turn off exterior faucets
Purchase and stack firewood
Fall Home Maintenance Projects: Your Home’s Interior
Wash your windows
Clean the dryer vent
Wash area and throw rugs
Do a thorough decluttering and dispose of the items appropriately
Clean and dust baseboards throughout the home
Clean your refrigerator, freezer, and pantry
Purchase winter food supplies that can be stocked in advance
Purchase household basics that can be stocked in advance
Review and practice your fire escape plan with the entire family
Wash and rehang curtains
Dust blinds and shades
Give your oven a thorough cleaning
Vacuum under and behind couches and beds and vacuum upholstered furniture
Wash bed pillows, comforters, and mattress pads
Switch lightweight bedspreads to warmer comforters and replace cotton sheets with flannel or jersey.
Collect your cold-weather supplies – shovels, ice scrapers, snow blower, emergency kits for car and home – in an easy-to-access location
Dust all ceiling fans, reverse their direction to blow warm air downward
Flip or rotate all mattresses
Add weather stripping to seal off cracks and gaps in window and door frames
Test your smoke and carbon monoxide detectors, fire extinguisher, and flashlights, replace batteries as needed, and purchase extra batteries to have on hand
Replace summer screens with storm windows and doors
Check that your attic insulation is thick and even, but not blocking any vents in the eaves
Remove and store window air conditioner units
Vacuum radiators, baseboard heaters, and grates
Move paint and other freezable products from the garage into the house, or dispose of them appropriately
Deep clean the kitchen as it will be heavily used in the next few months
Projects to Delegate to a Professional
Have the chimney professionally inspected and cleaned, and install a cap on top to prevent critters and birds from entering and getting trapped inside
Arrange in advance for someone to shovel snow from your walks and driveway
Have the furnace or boiler inspected and maintained, replace the filters
If your roof is aging, have it professionally inspected and make any needed repairs
Have your pool professionally closed down and covered
Leave Time For Fun and Relaxation
Despite the fact that there’s so much to do, don’t forget to take the time to enjoy the beautiful fall weather. There are so many wonderful activities to engage in this time of year, so make sure you build some fall fun into your schedule!
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Final Thoughts on The Great Big List of Fall Maintenance Projects
Yes, it is quite a list (I told ya!). However, working your way through the projects that you need to accomplish, in your own time frame, ensures a far more comfortable, safer, healthy winter. It’s so worth it to plan ahead!