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SALT LAKE CITY — Beautiful fall colors mean changing temperatures and the looming arrival of winter. Get a head start on the shifting seasons by readying your home for less sunlight and more time spent indoors.
Clean light fixtures
Shorter days mean more time spent indoors and lights being on longer. Now is the time to change any burned-out light bulbs and clean the light fixtures. Most light fixtures can be cleaned with a little soapy water. If time is limited, then just dusting your fixtures can help brighten a room. Don’t forget to clean the outside lights; you’ll want to be aware of any future patches of ice.
While you enjoyed spending time outside this summer, it’s likely you brought some of the great outdoors inside, where it got embedded in the carpet. Have the carpets cleaned in preparation for all the time you are about to spend inside. If money is an issue, consider cleaning only the room you use most. Or give the place a good vacuuming, completely moving furniture aside to go over the entire room.
Change furnace filter
The changing seasons have likely left a lot of pollen and dust in your furnace filter. Most filters should be changed every one to four months, depending on how often windows have been open, or if you have pets.
Colder temperatures often bring inversions. While there is very little you can do to change the outside air, take charge of what you breathe inside with a fresh furnace filter.
Clean window coverings
If you’ve enjoyed spring and fall with open windows, you’re not alone. But all that fresh air constantly moving about in the house likely created dust buildup on the blinds and curtains. Windows are about to be closed for several months, so now is the time to clean your window treatments. Whether you completely give them an overhaul and scrub down every last inch or just dust them off, anything is better than nothing. You’ll be surprised with how having clean window coverings can help the mood in your home.
Wash down walls and baseboards
All the bustle of summer and school starting likely left you with little time to clean the walls and baseboards. Now that vacations are over and schedules are more fixed, it is a good time to wipe them down. Most marks can be removed with just a wet rag. If a budding child artist has made his mark, you might need more extreme methods of cleaning.
Clean out garage/carportSummer activities have likely invaded your garage or carport, leaving little room for what the space was meant for: the automobile. Tidy up the parking space and give it a good sweep. In a month or two, melting snow and slush will hijack rides on your car, leaving puddles in their wake. By getting rid of the dirt in the garage, you’ll be less likely to find mud in the mornings.
Clean out closets
Cooler weather means more clothing. It’s time to clean out all the stuff that migrated into the closet and make room for coats, boots, gloves and scarves.
Consider placing a bin or basket inside the closet for smaller items. That way, when a glove is missing, you can narrow the search to one container, instead of the entire closet.
Check smoke and carbon monoxide detectors
Smoke and carbon monoxide detectors can get clogged with dust, causing them to either sound the alarm or exhibit decreased sensitivity to possible threats. Using a brush attachment, take a few minutes and vacuum your smoke alarms. If you don’t have a smoke or carbon monoxide detector, now is a great time to protect your family by installing one.
Clean the oven
Cleaning the oven can be a hot, smelly job that is made easier by having several windows open. Autumn, with its window-open cooler temperatures, is the perfect time to get this job done. Check on what kind of oven you have, and the cleaning method that will work best, before starting. Although cleaning the oven takes some scheduling and can be a pain, you’ll be glad you did it when the holidays start.
If this list seems overwhelming and your time is limited, don’t despair. Decide which one item your house could benefit from most and concentrate on that.
Can you think of something that should be on this list? Feel free to add to it in the comments.
Elizabeth Reid has bachelor degrees in economics and history. She has worked in retail, medical billing, catering, education and business fields. Her favorite occupation is that of wife and mother. She blogs at www.agoodreid.blogspot.com.