The leaves are falling, pumpkins are being picked, and the cozy comforts of home are enticing us — it’s October. It’s time to prepare your house for winter, so you can sit back, relax in front of the fire with a warm drink.
Things to Check Off In An Hour Or Less
Neaten Up The Mudroom
Take some time to get rid of the clutter — sort through papers and put away summer items. Clean the floors and invest in a new doormat if needed. Keep a recycling basket near the entrance to make sorting mail and school papers easier, and dedicate a bin for items that need to go out.
Keep Seasonal Decorating Low-Key With Natural Finds
Pumpkins, gourds, apples, pomegranates, figs and fall foliage make wonderfully simple decor. Bring in cut branches from your yard, stop by a pick-your-own farm, or scoop up fall’s bounty at a farm stand.
Vacuum Radiators, Baseboard Heaters and Heating Grates
Prepare for heating season by vacuuming up dust from radiators, baseboard heaters and heating grates. If you have radiators with covers, remove the covers and vacuum beneath them before replacing.
Check Safety Devices
Test smoke and carbon monoxide detectors in the house, replacing batteries as needed. Check the expiration date on the kitchen fire extinguisher and replace it if needed.
Tackle These Tasks Over a Weekend
To make quicker work of collecting leaves from a large lawn, rake the fallen foliage onto a large plastic tarp. Then bag it or add it to your compost pile.
Decorate For Halloween
If you’re planning to participate in Halloween — whether it’s an elaborate lawn display or simple door decor — it helps to get an early start on shopping or crafting.
Cover Or Store Outdoor Furniture and Grills
If you plan to leave your patio furniture or grill outside through the fall and winter, cover them well and stow them beneath an overhang that will protect them from rain and snow. Even if you live in a mild climate, covering your grill between uses is a good idea to preserve the finish.
Shut Off Exterior Faucets And Store Hoses For Winter
Disconnect, drain and roll hoses before storing them for the winter. Shut off the water supply to exterior faucets to prevent frozen pipes.
Maintenance And Extras To Budget For
Trim Dead Tree Limbs
Dead limbs are more likely to fall during winter storms, making them a potential safety hazard. Have an arborist, tree specialist, inspect and trim large trees.
Clean Gutters And Downspouts
Wait until most of the leaves have fallen to clean a rain gutter. Inspect gutters and downspouts for cracks and loose parts, and make repairs as needed.
Maintain Your Wood Stove Or Fireplace
If you have a fireplace or wood stove, it’s essential for safety that you have it serviced before lighting the first fire of the season. If you haven’t done so already, schedule an appointment to have your chimney inspected and, if necessary, cleaned.
Clean Carpeting And Area Rugs
Have area rugs and carpeting cleaned if needed, or spot-clean on your own. Rotate area rugs before putting them back in place — this will help prevent one side from becoming more worn or faded than the other.