As fall approaches, the days grow shorter and the air a little crisper. These tell tale signs of the changing seasons signal the beginning of your fall clean-up chores. Cleaning both the exterior and interior of your home before winter hits ensures a comfortable and relaxing time for you and your family throughout the colder months as well as protects your investment in your NJ home remodeling projects. Use the following checklists to make sure you don’t forget any important items.
Outdoor: Fall Cleaning Checklist
• Now is the time to clean and store all of your patio furniture, children’s toys, and grills. Wash all of these items, and put them inside of a protective garage or shed. Use a rented storage space or outdoor covers if you don’t have enough space at home.
• Walk around your home’s exterior and touch up any peeling or missing paint on the trim, doors, or porch rails.
• Inspect the caulk around all windows. Replace it with new if necessary.
• Make sure that all of the exterior doors shut tightly. You can save energy and money by keeping the warm air from escaping the interior space. Use weather stripping to fill gaps.
• While you are looking at the windows, take the time to wash the outside of the glass and sweep away dirt and debris from the ledges.
• Remove your garden hose from the exterior spigot and drain it. Wind it up, and put it in a safe place until next spring. Use an insulated spigot cover to keep the exposed pipes and nozzle from freezing or deteriorating in the cold weather.
• Clean all debris such as leaves and sticks from the gutters and downspouts so that melting ice and heavy rains will run off of the roof without causing damage. When ice backs up, it can work its way under the shingles where it creates leaks and destroys the roofing material.
• Have all chimneys and flues cleaned and inspected by a professional to avoid the risk of fire.
Inside: Fall Cleaning Checklist
• Focus your energy on the main rooms of the house such as the living room, family room, guest bedroom, and entryway.
• Clean each of these areas from top to bottom. Wash curtains and blinds as well as vacuum all drapes and other window treatments that cannot be laundered. Wipe out the window sills, and vacuum all baseboards.
• While you have the window treatments removed, wash the glass thoroughly.
• You will also need to vacuum any upholstered furniture. Don’t forget to move each piece and vacuum the floor underneath as well.
• Turn all mattresses. If they can be flipped over, do so. Otherwise, simply swing the mattress around so that the foot of it now rests at the head of the bed.
• Wash all bedding. This includes the seldom laundered items like duvets and mattress pads. Take dry clean only items to a professional. Put all lightweight blankets in storage, and replace them with heavy, cozier quilts and throws.
• This is the time of year to schedule a professional carpet cleaning too. Make your appointment early, as these companies get busier as the holidays approach. You can also rent carpet cleaning machines to do it yourself or purchase a steam cleaner to keep on hand.
• Speaking of the coming holidays, autumn is the perfect time to clean and organize the kitchen. Clean out cabinets and cupboards, and make sure you have all of the pans, baking supplies, and containers needed for Thanksgiving and Christmas meals and treats.
• You can make holiday baking even easier by cleaning off the kitchen countertops. Remove small appliances that are not used weekly. This gives you more workspace and looks nicer.
• Pull out the refrigerator and scrub the walls and floor behind it. Vacuum off the condenser and coils before putting it back in place.
• Wash all lighting fixtures. Wipe bases with a clean cloth, and wash glass globes in dish detergent.
• Inspect all of your household appliances to ensure that they are functioning properly. Stock up on supplies like salt for the water softener.
• After all of this cleaning, check and empty the central vacuum system’s collection area. If you are using an upright vacuum, take apart all canisters, filters, and attachments. Wash each piece and dry thoroughly before putting it back together.
• Clean any electronic air cleaning machines or humidifiers. This keeps allergens and bacteria from re-circulating throughout your home.
• Inspect the hoses on your washing machine. Look for bulges, cracks, and splits. Replace the hose when necessary or every two years.
• Check the dryer exhaust for any build-up of lint. Clean it out carefully, and make sure the exterior vent closes tightly when not in use.
• You need to schedule a cleaning and inspection of your main heating system before the temperature drops. Stock up on filters, and replace them routinely throughout fall and winter.
• Drain any sediment from your home’s hot water heater. If it builds up, it can shorten the heater’s lifespan.