Tips For Fall Cleanup

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Inside and out, fall offers perfect weather for some cleaning, especially where temperatures are typically mild — like here in the Rim Country.

Inside your home, the weather may be warm enough to keep the windows open as you thoroughly dust, vacuum and wash your home.

Outside, you’ll be winding down summer’s activities, but still have some warm temperatures as you close up for winter.

Here’s a checklist to get you started. You may find more tasks along the way.

Outside:

• Check the weather stripping and caulk around your windows and doors. Repair now before the cold becomes an issue.

• Clear fallen leaves from gutters and drains.

• Overseed lawns with cool-season grasses to enjoy greener landscapes while warm-season grasses are dormant and brown.

• Apply fertilizer to your lawn in the morning when the air is fairly still and the grass is dewy.

• Plant shrubs, trees, perennials and bulbs. Plants require less water in cooler weather and roots have time to develop in the winter months. This creates faster and larger growth spurts in the spring.

• When storing lawn mowers, tillers and weed-eaters for the season, add a fuel stabilizer and change the oil (if applicable) to remove contaminants that have accumulated and protect the internal engine components while in storage. You also should clean away any grass and dirt from your equipment to prevent rust from forming.

• If you’ve had your last barbecue, wash and store your patio furniture while it’s still nice out. Don’t wait the first frost to remind you.

• Drain and store garden hoses. This will help prevent any cracking.

• While the sun is shining, take note of any paint touch-ups your home may need.

• Inspect your garage doors to be sure that they close tightly and weather stripping is intact.

If applicable:

• Schedule a chimney and flue cleaning.

• Drain and cover your pool or fountains.

• Clean out and organize your shed.

Inside:

Living Rooms, Bedrooms

• Start at the top. Begin with dusting and washing light fixtures, then wiping crown moulding.

• Vacuum drapes. Wash, according to the care instructions tag or dry-clean.

• Clean window sills and window frames. If it happens to be cloudy outside, this is the best time to wash the windows, as streaks will be more apparent.

• Vacuum and rotate sofa and chair cushions.

• Move furniture and dust or vacuum underneath.

• Wash or dry-clean mattress pads, pillows, comforters, etc.

• Flip and rotate mattresses.

• Wipe light switches, baseboards and electrical outlets.

• Vacuum under any area rugs, vacuum the back sides of these rugs as well.

Bathrooms, Kitchen

• Repeat cleaning steps for light fixtures, windows, window sills and mouldings for bathrooms and kitchen.

• Declutter and wipe down medicine cabinet, linen closets.

• Vacuum or wash (according to care instruction tag) any bath mats.

• Inspect shower curtain liner for mold, replace if necessary.

• In the kitchen, begin by cleaning behind the refrigerator. Pull it out from its enclosure and vacuum or dust condenser coils. Mop behind the refrigerator, if possible. Allow to dry.

• Clean out inside of refrigerator and freezer. Remove and wash shelves, drawers and ice trays. Wipe all surfaces, including handles and door walls.

• Prepare your oven for the holidays. Use a spray cleaner and let set overnight. Soak range and oven dials, burners and grates.

• Declutter, organize and wipe down spice cabinets, food pantries, silverware drawers and under sinks.

Other Tasks:

• Change or clean air filters on air conditioners. Schedule a tune-up for your heating and cooling system to ensure your heater is working properly when the temperature starts to drop.

• Change or clean filters in washers, dryers and furnaces.

• Change or clean your dryer vent to get rid of lint build-up.

• Drain collected sediment from hot-water heaters.

• Thoroughly clean humidifiers, as they will be in use soon.

• Stock up on softener salt, if you use it for a water softener, so you won’t have to carry heavy bags on icy days.

• Replace any burnt-out light bulbs in outdoor lighting fixtures. If you want to save money and limit the number of times you have to pull out your ladder, try energy efficient LED or CFL models. They last longer than incandescent bulbs and use less energy.

Courtesy The Home Depot Web site homedepot.com

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