4 Smart Ways to Take Care of Your Home (and Yourself) This Fall

published Oct 21, 2018
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(Image credit: Lauren Kolyn)

As much as we all love autumn, the transition from summer into the cooler, darker fall months can be a rocky one for many of us—from abrupt changes in routine and the sudden resurgence of cold and flu viruses to the gloomy feeling of darker, shorter days (FYI there’s light therapy for that). Struggling to take full advantage of those cozy, fall vibes? Start with how you take care of your home environment. Here are a few ways to adjust your cleaning regimen for the autumn months:

1. Take one day to prepare your home for hibernation mode

From the practical elements to the aesthetic ones, creating a cozy-conducive atmosphere takes a little work, so try to carve out time on a weekend to make it happen. Not sure where to start? Start by switching out all your lighter bedding for heavier blankets, and bring your scarves, hats, and sweaters back into your rotation, keeping them easily accessible near your entryway. You’ll also want to make sure your pantry is stocked up with soups and starchy foods, which can feel comforting and hearty in colder weather, and make sure your slow cooker or Instant Pot are geared up to go. Finally, it’s time whip out the fall decor—we’re of the mindset that it’s never too early for decorative pumpkins.

2. Re-incorporate seasonal maintenance

As long as we’re on the topic of fireplaces, keep in mind that fall and winter months might require a bit more maintenance (and, as a result, more planning in your budget). Since you’ll likely soon be switching from air conditioning to heat, make sure your HVAC filter is fresh, and replace your fire alarm and carbon monoxide detector batteries. If you have a fireplace, get that and the chimney checked out by a professional so you are ready to build a fire on that first cold day of the season.

(Image credit: Minette Hand)

3. Create a seasonal checklist

This one holds true for every season. As your routine and the climate changes, your cleaning and organizing routine inevitably will, too. To keep anything from slipping through the cracks, whip up a basic checklist of tasks you know need to get done on both a weekly and monthly basis—for example, you will want to include outdoor tasks like raking and checking gutters for leaves, plus indoor routines like sanitizing (more on that soon) and keeping your kitchen well-stocked for fall recipes. If you live in a climate where there’s snow in the fall months, plan accordingly for shoveling, snow-blowing, and removing salt from the floors in your entryway.

4. Sanitize what you touch

Sadly, with the arrival of fall means the arrival of more frequent sickness. There’s nothing like feeling a flu bug coming on and knowing it’s too late to do anything about it. To keep your home low on germs and minimize your risk of sickness this fall, sanitize frequently and widely with chlorine, hydrogen peroxide, or sanitizing wipes. Focus on spots that get touched the most, like the remote control, door knobs, your phone, laptop, and faucet handles. Also, keep in mind that the flu virus can survive for up to 48 hours on hard surfaces, so be extra vigilant if someone in your home was sick, by changing sheets, doing extra laundry, and cleaning all your hard surfaces.