7 Must-Do Adulting Chores You Shouldn’t Avoid This Fall

published Sep 12, 2018
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(Image credit: Carina Romano)

Spring might get all the attention when it comes to cleaning, but it’s pumpkin spice latte season, and you know what that means—winter is coming. Fall is the time for hoodies and boots, but also the time to tend to some of those yearly chores. So get busy!

1. Check those smoke detectors

It’s easy to forget about smoke detectors. They’re those things we sort of take for granted most of the time, but they save lives. Today, in fact, at my house, we’re adulting by installing additional smoke/carbon monoxide detectors and changing batteries in an existing one. Even if you have one of the ten-year battery types, it still needs checking—just pop it off the wall or ceiling and check the date. Go ahead and test it while you’re at it (which you should be doing once a month, anyway).

2. Clean your vents and check your HVAC

When you’ve had your A/C blasting all summer, it’s strange to think about cranking up the furnace, but it won’t be long until it’s in use again. Now’s the time to clean out your vents—vacuum or wipe up any dust or pet hair—and change your filter if you haven’t kept to the three month schedule most professionals recommend. While you’re at it, why not change any other filters you’ve neglected lately? Think HEPA/air filter and water filter on your fridge. Those things aren’t doing any good if they’re clogged.

3. Go window shopping

Unless you live in a place that’s tightly buttoned down, chances are you may have a drafty window. Now’s the time to switch from light and airy window treatments to those that do double duty and block cold air. And it may not be pretty, but I can speak from experience—that window insulation film really does help.

4. Wash all the things you never think about

In my Airbnb, I keep a cleaning schedule and checklist so nothing’s ever overlooked. I’m not nearly that organized in my own home, but I do like to use spring and fall to do an epic laundry weekend. Now’s the time to wash your pillows and any other linens that rarely see the inside of the washing machine: think duvets, curtains, mattress protectors, and that throw blanket that’s been on your couch collecting dust all summer.

5. Clean your range hood

When’s the last time you took a look at the filter in your vent hood? Before you start cooking up all that hearty fall fare, how about you get the gunk from summer’s BLTs out of there first? It’s tempting to just toss it in the dishwasher, but, if it’s been a minute, apply some elbow grease first.

6. Switch the ceiling fan

Ceiling fans go a long way towards cooling us down in warm weather. But they’re just as helpful when things cool down. Take advantage of rising heat by switching the blade direction. Changing them to rotate clockwise (as you’re looking up) creates an updraft that forces the warmer air up by the ceiling back down into the room, keeping you cozier.

7. Bring the outdoors in

Even patio furniture needs some care and tending over the colder months. Don’t follow my lead and leave your umbrella to the mercies of the cold and wind. I got busy (or maybe just lazy) last year and left a nice, new umbrella up. Well, that is until winter beat it down. By spring it was not only filthy, but it also had several rips and wasn’t salvageable. Find a sheltered spot for those outdoor cushions – and while you’re at it, bring in any outdoor plants that won’t survive the winter.