Now that people are putting up their Halloween decorations, picking apples, and making holiday plans, it's also time to face some fall chores. Wait, don't go! I know no one likes doing this stuff, but some of it's really important, and you can reward yourself with a trip to the pumpkin patch and an apple cider hot toddy when you're done. (Bribery: Not just for children and pets.) Here's our checklist of fall chores that you responsible adults out there won't want to forget.
Outdoor Fall Chores
1. Store patio furniture. Stash lawn chairs, tables, and umbrellas someplace where they'll stay clean and dry for the winter. Grab children's toys and any errant garden tools, too. Bonus points if you use our guide to clean and sharpen your garden tools before you store them, so that they're all ready to go next spring.
2. Bring in plants. If you have plants that won't survive colder temperatures, or houseplants that you put outdoors for a summer vacation, start transitioning them inside. It's better to do it gradually, rather than all at once, so they don't go into shock.
3. Drain and store garden hoses. Don't forget watering timers, too. If you live in a place where it freezes in the winter, drain exterior pipes and put insulating covers on spigots.
4. Check gutters and downspouts. A little later in the season, after the trees have finished shedding, clear the leaves from your gutters. If you're climbing up on a ladder yourself, be careful, and have someone help hold the ladder!
5. Prep your fireplace. If you have a fireplace or woodstove you'll be using over the winter, clean it, and get your chimney cleaned and inspected by a professional.
Indoor Fall Chores
6. Clean out vents and replace furnace filters. Vacuum and wipe down dusty vent covers and ducts. Buy a stash of filters to last you at least through the season. When you replace one, write the date on it with a pen. Set up a calendar reminder for the next replacement.
7. Check smoke detectors, carbon monoxide detectors, and fire extinguishers. This is even more important if you have a fireplace or woodstove you plan to use! Make sure you have a stash of batteries on hand for replacements.
8. Clean humidifier. If you use a humidifier to combat dry air, it's important to keep it clean, but all too easy to forget. A soak in white vinegar and thorough rinsing should be enough to disinfect most humidifiers (but when in doubt, follow the manufacturer's instructions.)
9. Wash all of your linens. Now is a good time to wash all of the stuff you don't clean more regularly. Mattress covers, pillow inserts, duvets, curtains, and throw blankets all collect dust and grime, and could do with a cleaning before you'll be spending more time cooped up with them.
10. Switch the direction of your ceiling fans. During the colder months, you want the blade to rotate clockwise, forcing the warm air that rises up to the ceiling to circulate around the room instead.