With a little planning in the fall, your home will be cozy and warm all winter long. These fall cleaning and maintenance tips are easy and a must-do!
I was provided a complimentary filter from FilterSnap to review. All opinions are my own.
Disclosure: This blog post contains affiliate links. If you make a purchase from one of these links, Keri Houchin makes a small commission at no additional cost to you. Read more.
There is something magical about fall. Everyone is settled into the routine of the new school year. The weather gets cooler and we start anticipating the upcoming holiday season. I like to plan a few fall bucket list ideas that keep us from getting too bogged down in our to-do lists.
It’s important to take time and get the house ready for the changing season too, though. With a little prep now, you can save money and avoid a big mess later. These are my best fall cleaning and maintenance tips.
Fall cleaning and maintenance tips
1. Declutter the house.
Now is a great time to go through the house and get rid of all the spring and summer things you didn’t actually use in the past six months. I like having a fairly minimalist decor style before I go nuts with holiday decorating.
Even just taking one box to your local donation station will make you feel accomplished. Plus, clutter just attracts dust.
2. Swap your summer and winter clothes.
Pack away all the warm-weather clothes and bring out the winter ones. Before it gets really cold, go through and try on everything you saved from last winter. If you need something new, you can plan to browse thrift shops for a few weeks before you actually need it.
For items that don’t fit, now is a good time to take them to a consignment shop or try to sell it on a buy/sell/trade site. If you have the time to plan one, a kids’ clothes swap party is a great way to share hand-me-downs with friends.
3. Prepare the garden and flower beds.
If you grow vegetables, clean out all the dead plants and mulch the beds for winter. In the flower beds, add mulch and fertilizer. Plan how you’ll protect your plants from the cold so that you don’t have to buy everything new in the spring.
Now is also the time for spreading pre-emergent weed killer on your lawn to prevent fall and winter weeds. Check with your local gardening center for the specific dates recommended in your zone.
4. Check for leaking pipes.
Check the indoor and outdoor pipes and faucets. Fixing a small leak can save you a surprising amount on your water bill. Often the cause of a small drip is a worn out gasket or other small parts. If you’re not the DIY type, it’s worth calling a handyman.
Stopping leaks will also prevent damage if the plumbing can freeze in your area. Additionally, you can pick up insulated outdoor faucet covers at most hardware stores for a few dollars.
5. Check the seals on the doors and windows.
Replace any damaged weather stripping so that when you turn the heater, the cold doesn’t creep in any way. You can also find insulated window film that goes right on the glass.
For older homes, drafts are almost unavoidable. Sew a cute draft blocker for doors and windows or roll up a towel or blanket.
6. Clean the window sills and screens.
While you’re checking the windows, give them a good cleaning. When the weather is nice, you’ll want to have them open. All that gunk in the tracks will make them harder to get closed.
My husband likes to use a power washer on the outside of the windows and screens. Just be careful that you don’t have the pressure up too high or hit it at the wrong angle and leak into the house.
7. Dust the overlooked places.
Even if you’re not the dusting type, a one or twice-per-year wipe down of everything can make your house look instantly clean. Dust leads to sniffles and trips to the doctor.
The most often missed places are behind the refrigerator, under furniture that doesn’t move, and along baseboards. Now is also a good time to empty the light fixtures.
8. Change your air filter.
Your air filter traps pollen, dust, and all kinds of stuff. It’s important to change it at least every three months. This keeps you breathing fresh air and keeps the house a little cleaner. Plus, a dirty air filter can make your system work harder, costing more to keep your home warm or cool.
While not all air filters are equal, most will get the job done as long as you remember to change them out as often as needed.
Fall Cleaning and Maintenance with FilterSnap
FilterSnap is a home delivery service for furnace and air filters. It works on a subscription basis. Choose the filter you need and how often you want to change it. A new filter will arrive just in time.
Changing the air filter is simple. Remembering when you did it last, remembering to pick up a filter at the store, and remembering what size you need is hard. This is an easy solution.
FilterSnap filters are rated using the MERV rating system and come in three options: Basic, Standard, and Ultimate. There is a chart on the website to help you determine which one is best if you need help.
My FilterSnap Experience
Okay, so I have to start off by saying that I have a weird air filter size: 14x25x1. Maybe that’s not weird, but sometimes I can’t even find it at the store. When I’m standing in the aisle, my eyes kind of glaze over. Different sizes, colors, ratings…
So I started my test run of FilterSnap feeling optimistic. I figured that if the cost and quality were the same, I would never actually have to go buy a filter in a store again. That would be one less thing for my tired Mommy Brain to keep on my perpetual to-do list.
First, my filter arrived in a nice, sturdy package. When I pulled it out, it looked great, albeit pretty much like any other air filter.
I compared the ratings to my current air filter and it looked like they were pretty comparable. I popped the air filter in the air conditioner and that was that.
I’d like to tell you that my house became miraculously different. It did not. That would be a little dramatic anyway. I checked the air filter after three weeks. It had the usual amount of dust and hair for the amount of time. What stood out to me was that the filter didn’t look tired.
Have you ever pulled out the air filter to change it and it’s all saggy? Like it’s been sailing a pirate ship through a hurricane? Like a mom who has too many things on her to-do list? It’s tired.
The FilterSnap filter looked like it would be perfectly fine to keep filtering my air for two more months. Excellent. Sometime during the extra-pollinated times of the year, I have to change my air filter every month. I’m really happy with the quality of the filter and I love the ideas of a “set it and forget it” service.
Update for 2019: In case you’re wondering, I’m still using FilterSnap, but not just for fall cleaning and maintenance. I have it set on a mid-range filter that ships out to me monthly. Oh, and a year or so ago their costs went down, so they automatically reduced my monthly subscription rate.
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