Prepare for a long winter with this fall chores checklist.
When it comes to annual house cleaning rituals, spring cleaning receives the lion’s share of attention. Fall cleaning, however, actually offers just as many benefits as its warm-weather counterpart.
During the long days of winter, people tend to spend more time inside their homes than in the summer. Tackling cleaning projects now will leave more time for Thanksgiving and Christmas preparations, and make those long winter days cozy and pleasant.
Consider these 10 projects when starting your fall cleaning:
1. Go outside
Before it gets too cold, tackle outdoor projects. Wash patio furniture before storing it indoors or covering with plastic. Wipe down window ledges, and check the weather stripping and caulking at the same time.
Clean your gutters of debris to prevent ice dams and roof damage in the winter. Drain garden hoses and store them.
2. Don't forget the window washing
Wash windows inside and out. There's a good chance they’ve accumulated a coating of dust and grime over the summer. The increased light will make long winter days a little brighter.
3. Clean the curtains
Dry clean or wash curtains according to label directions so that they’re as bright and clean as the windows they frame.
4. Hit the hard-to-reach places
Clean chandeliers and light globes. Simplify the job by leaving your chandelier intact and cleaning it where it hangs.
Put on cotton gloves, and clean and dry the chandelier with your hands. Detach light globes, and wipe clean before replacing them.
5. Replace the furnace filter
Change your furnace filters for fresher indoor air and more efficient furnace operation.
6. Check out the fireplace
Call in a professional to clean and inspect the fireplace and chimney in preparation for those cozy evenings by the fire.
7. Get a carpet cleaning
Schedule a carpet cleaning to lift out the dirt and dust carried in during summer months.
8. Consider kitchen organization
Clean and tidy kitchen cabinets, making sure that you have adequate baking pans and supplies for holiday baking
9. Clean out the refrigerator
Empty and thoroughly clean the refrigerator and freezer. Wipe down the shelves with antibacterial kitchen cleaner, and wash the drawers in the sink.
10. Get behind the appliances
Pull the refrigerator, washer and dryer away from the wall and clean thoroughly behind them. Improve your refrigerator’s efficiency by vacuuming the coils. Use the narrow vacuum cleaner attachment to clean the lint trap inside the dryer.
Editor's note: This is an updated version of an article that was originally posted on Oct. 5, 2011.