Two crisp brown fallen leaves blew past me yesterday as I walked to the supermarket. Autumn is in the air, and I don’t know where the time has gone in this second year of the pandemic. Much like last summer, there were no BBQ parties this year, no hot nights out clubbing, and no visits to the beach. There were, however, many wonderful, lazy evenings on the patio in good company, and for that I am grateful. Now as temperatures get cooler, it’s time to start going through my autumn home maintenance checklist and get things around the house organised for the fall.
Much like home organising for the summer, I tend to bucket the tasks in my home maintenance checklist according to area of the home. Sometimes I’ll bounce around the list when I find time to fit random tasks in. Other times I’ll knock off one entire task area from the list in a single afternoon. Some tasks depend on the temperature outside. You don’t want to be bringing in your garden hoses, for example, if there’s a hot Indian summer lurking around the corner where you’ll need to still do outdoor watering.
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Apartment renters, condo dwellers, and home owners will generally have some variation in their autumn home maintenance checklist depending on their individual living situation. As a penthouse owner with a rooftop garden, I’m somewhere in the middle of road. Whether you live in a flat or a house though, you can adapt the below checklist to your specific needs. Let’s jump in and get things shipshape for the cozy months!
Table of Contents
- What’s On Your Autumn Home Maintenance Checklist?
Get the window washer in or DIY before it gets too cold, so that you have a clear view for the coming months. Now is also a great time to do this year’s final curtain or drape wash (I actually already did this), and give any Venetian blinds a good dusting.
Also check your windows for any drafts or loose rubber seals, and caulk any leaks
Switch Blankets & Duvets
Now’s the time to swap out your lighter summer blankets, comforters, and duvets for warmer winter bedding. Do any down duvets need to go to the dry cleaner? Are the blankets still in good shape? Give your bedding a look-over, wash the lighter summer bedding and put it away.
To save space in your closet or linen chest, large-size vacuum storage bags are the way to go. Pop your clean summer bedding in a bag, suck out the air with your hoover, and seal shut until next spring. These bags are re-usable and a lifesaver if you’re tight on space. They’re also great for large pet beds, cushions, toppers, and heavy winter clothing!
Swap Out Seasonal Wardrobe
I do not store winter clothing separately from summer clothing because it doesn’t make sense for me. Because I travel a lot, I might need shorts and sandals in the dead of winter, or a heavy jacket in July. I also feel that if an article of clothing does not fit in my closet, then I have too many clothes. So all my clothes and coats stay in the closet all year round. If and when it starts overflowing, I know it’s time to clean it out. Sticking to the “one in, one out” rule helps me keep things in check.
That said, some folks do have the need to only keep seasonal clothing out. They might live in a micro-apartment with no storage, or simply have a miniscule closet where they have to choose between hanging winter coats versus summer dresses. I get it. If that’s your system, September is the perfect time to swap out your seasonal clothing.
When swapping out your wardrobe, check if any winter coats and jackets need to go to the dry cleaner’s, and that your knitwear is free of moths. In addition, the start of any new season is also the perfect opportunity to take stock of what you have. See if you need any replacements, and create a shopping list if needed.
Finally, check your winter boots and shoes, give them a good cleaning, and see if any need to go to the cobbler’s for new soles.
Clean the Fireplace
You probably already had the chimney sweeper come in the spring or summer, but if you didn’t, get him over pronto before the heating season starts. In some places you are required to have your municipal chimney sweeper do an annual inspection.
Aside from the professional chimney sweep, which is done from the rooftop, cleaning the fireplace should be on your autumn home maintenance checklist if you have one. There are many instructions online. Here’s a very straightforward one from Lowe’s.
Don’t forget to order your firewood for the autumn while you’re at it!
Check Smoke Detectors
Speaking of fires (heaven forbid), do a quick walk-through of your home and test every smoke detector in each room. Make sure their batteries are still good, and replace any old ones.
Tackle Irregular Household Chores & Appliance Maintenance
Every household has some chores and tasks which only need to be done sporadically. Some might be on your quarterly or annual radar, and some might need to be done on a seasonal basis, such as organising and storing holiday decorations, or setting up the outdoor sprinkler system.
Check out my previous list of irregular household chores to get organised for the summer. A lot of those tasks are things you’ll want to do multiple times a year. You might also have some additional random chores to do if you live in a house as opposed to a flat. My own autumn home maintenance checklist includes the following to-dos:
- Dust and wash baseboards
- Wipe light switches and doorknobs
- Rotate and/or flip the mattress
- Remove scuffs from walls (I use magic erasers)
- Dust ceiling fan and set to winter mode (so it pushes warm air downward)
- Dust lampshades and light fixtures
- Wipe down doors and kitchen cabinet fronts
- Descale the shower and sprinkler heads
- Defrost freezer
- Change air filters in kitchen
- Deep clean oven
- Clean dishwasher filter, seals, and rims
- Clean out washing machine compartments, filter and dryer vents
- Stow summer fans in cellar
Pack Up Outdoor Furniture
By late September to mid-October, you’re going to want to pack up any balcony, patio or other garden furnishings you have so that they make it through the winter. Depending on the material of your outdoor furniture, you might need to stow yours in the basement or garage to prolong its lifespan.
I opted for modular polypropylene patio furnishings years ago, and am still happy with my choice. After Indian summer is truly over, I corral the units together and stack the sun loungers atop one another. Then I just leave everything outside until I wash it all down in the spring. Easy peasy.
Some types of metal and wood furniture can be left outdoors if properly covered. Check your manufacturer’s recommendations and then see what patio protection covers are available in the sizes you need.
Put away any kids’ or pets’ outdoor toys for the winter, and don’t forget to either bring in all your cushions and pillows, or stow them in a waterproof patio storage box like I do. They’ll stay clean all winter and will be good to go again come springtime.
Your gutters and drains are likely full of leaves and weeds at the end of summer, so give them one last check before the cold kicks in to make sure they’re not clogged up.
Clean and Stow Grill
Give your grill a proper deep cleaning at the end of the BBQ season, and store away all your grilling utensils and any extra propane tanks if you use a gas grill. For storage, wheel the grill into the garage or shed, or opt for a heavy duty grill cover so it makes it through the winter outdoors.
Store Gardening and Yard Tools
Once you’ve cut back your perennials and done your last round of lawn mowing for the year, inspect your gardening equipment and clean it up before you put it into winter storage. Make sure to still keep your rake or leaf blower handy though, as you’ll want to reach for it once the leaves start falling.
If you have an outdoor clothesline, now is also the time to bring it in for the colder months.
Check Winter Equipment
You can do a winter equipment check at the same time you bring in your summer yard tools. Is your shovel still good? Does the snowblower need any maintenance? Do you have to order sand mix for icy driveways or pathways? Now is a great time to get your winter gear shipshape so that you have everything at hand when the first snow hits.
Dismantle Outdoor Hoses and Watering Systems
Turn off your mains for the garden or patio before the first frost arrives to avoid any damage to your water pipes. Detach your garden hoses and sprinkler systems, and store everything in the garage, shed, or cellar.
That’s pretty much it to get your outdoor space all set for the cooler months!
What’s On Your Autumn Home Maintenance Checklist?
Don’t feel overwhelmed if it seems like you have a lot to do to get organised for fall. Remember if you start now in September, you can space your tasks out. With this checklist as a rough guideline, you can tackle each area around your home bit by bit. Don’t forget to make time for a walk in the crisp autumn air and enjoy the foliage 🍂
What other seasonal chores do you do around your home for the autumn? Do you live in a condo, apartment or single-family unit? Drop a comment if you have any tips or ideas to share. In the meantime, I’m off to enjoy my first pumpkin spice latte of the season. Bring on the sweater weather, I love the autumn!