Fall Cleaning: The Finish Line

Our fall cleaning segment is at an end. There’s quite a checklist to be done this time, so I highly suggest recruiting some people (husband, kids, friends) to help you tackle these outdoor chores.  Choose a nice (non-windy) and warmish day and make it fun.  Maybe even invite those helping over for dinner to celebrate a job well done?  And once you are all done, treat yourself to a nice mani/pedi (your nails deserve it after all that cleaning).

Windows & Doors

  • Carefully inspect your windows and doors.  Do they need to be re-caulked?  How’s the weatherstripping?  Insure a tight seal.  Both of these will help keep your home efficiently insulated during the cold, winter months (saving $$$ on heating costs).
  • Take down screens and give them a good hosing.
  • Wash exterior windows and doors.
  • Oil doors, as necessary.


  • If you didn’t take down the Christmas lights last year, you might as well leave them up.  Just make sure all the lights work.
  • While you are up there, take a good look at your roof for missing shingles or any damage.
  • If you don’t have some sort of gutter helmet, you will need to clean out your gutters and downspouts of all the fallen leaves and other debris with a special hose attachment.  You might want to wait until all your leaves have fallen to tackle this job.  Or, if you have a lot of heavy trees near your roof (like we do), you may want to get a head start now.

Lawn & Garden

  • Rake the leaves and throw away any debris in the lawn.  Make it fun by creating large leaf piles and taking turns jumping in it.  Of course, this also makes for additional clean-up later, but at least you created a fun memory.
  • Once the weather is cool, you may only need to mow your lawn one last time.
  • Pull any weeds out.
  • Trim trees and bushes.
  • Pull out dead flowers from your flower pots.  Hose down the pots and store them away.
  • Prep your garden for the winter months. Protect your plants from freezing.
  • Remember to winterize your lawn, sprinklers, and lawn mower.

Decks, Patios, Fences & Woodwork

  • Check all of your exterior paint – trim, shutters, railings, decks, etc.  If they need touching up, do it now.
  • Sand and weather-stain the deck and wood fences as needed.
  • Sweep entry ways, decks, patios and porches.


  • De-clutter and reorganize the garage.  Recycle empty boxes.
  • Sweep and, if necessary, give the floor a good hosing and scrubbing with the broom and some biodegradable soap.
  • Hose down trash cans and bins.
  • Clean dirt and debris from garage door sensor.
  • Get out your winter gear (sleds, skis, snowboards, shovels, scrapers, leaf blower, snow blower, snowshoes, etc.) out from storage and put them in easily accessible spots.  Make sure everything is in working order.  Replace or repair, as needed.


  • After a summer of road trips is a great time to do a deep cleaning of the car:  Vacuum the interior, steam clean (or spot clean) the floor mats, wipe down the rest of the interior, wash the windows and mirrors (interior and exterior), wash the exterior and tires.
  • Inspect tires or have them professionally inspected.  You wouldn’t want to get caught in the snow or ice with worn tires.
  • Make sure your car’s fluid levels are topped off.  Got antifreeze?  Store that FAR away from animals and children (tightly sealed, of course).
  • Store ice scrapers and brushes in the car.

Furniture & Summer Items

  • If you have a pool, drain or cover it for the season.
  • Clean and store all summer toys.
  • Clean and put away patio furniture to prevent damage.

Odds & Ends

  • Replace outdoor lights, as needed.
  • Sweep walkways and driveways.  Do you see any large holes or cracks that need to be fixed?
  • Get out waterproof door mats, if you have them.
  • If you are one of those families that doesn’t grill in the winter (unlike my husband), clean your grill (scrape the grates while they are hot) and either cover it or store it in the garage.
  • Clear debris and lint build-up from the dryer exhaust tube.
  • Purchase, cut down, and/or stack (or re-stack) firewood.
  • Stock up on salt for your driveways and walkways if you live in icy areas.
  • Drain and store your garden hoses.
  • See if your curbside house numbers need repainting, as they can be difficult to find in inclement weather.
  • Make survival kits for your car and your home in case you get snowed in.  This has actually happened to me twice in two different states, and yes, grocery stores do get barren when freeways close down.  So be sure to prepare for at least 3-4 days worth of items for each of the members in your home (pets included): non-perishable foods that you can eat without cooking, can opener, water, flashlights, batteries, blankets or sleeping bags, chocolate bars (yes, you read that right), utensils, etc.


  • Get out your fall decorations – dust them off and decorate away!
  • Make sure you locate winter decorations and make them easily accessible.

(Remember to check the first fall cleaning post – did you do all maintenance items on the checklist?  Now would be the time to schedule to get them done if you haven’t already done so.)

Now, go celebrate!  YOU’RE D-O-N-E!

Photo Credits 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7


  1. 1

    I always try to recruit the WHOLE family for cleaning :)

  2. 2

    This makes for a great checklist! I’m already eagerly anticipating fall and trying to coordinate what I’ll need to do when, so I really appreciate this. I have heard that it might be worth cleaning gutters more than once a year. What do you think–should that be part of my spring cleaning as well as my fall?

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