Autumn is upon us. Before you start spending more time indoors, you will want to make sure the outside of your house is ready to face the new season, and that the inside of your home is warm and welcoming as the days begin to shorten and the temperature slowly cools.

To help you prepare, here are eight jobs that should top your priority task list this fall.

Organize your garage or shed

Shift the trappings of summer — lawn furniture, umbrellas, and beach toys — to the back of your storage area, and bring your fall and winter tools — rakes, snow shovels, winter sports equipment — to the front so they are easily accessible. Give yourself a break when spring rolls around by cleaning and repairing your lawn furniture before you put it away!

Prepare your garden

If it turns cold in your neck of the woods, then it's time to empty and pack away garden hoses, add a layer of mulch to your flower beds, and clean and fill your bird feeders. For those who enjoy a warmer winter, prepare to plant garlic, leeks, onions, lettuce, and potatoes.

Clear the gutters

You'll need to get on a ladder (or hire someone else to!) to clear out debris and check for breakage. Remember to inspect your downspouts as well, and check your extensions are firmly attached so that rainwater is running away from your home's foundation.

Put on a coat

Autumn's lower temperatures and low humidity make it a great time of year to freshen your home's exterior paint.

Fire up the furnace

Check that it's working properly before you really need it — you don't want to be waiting for the repair service when the temperature's dropped into the single digits. Better yet, get a professional cleaning and inspection. Oh, and change your air filter!

Install a programmable thermostat

There are many affordable choices, and some can be controlled by your smartphone. Preset temperatures for peak and minimal usage times and save yourself some money on heating bills — plus, ensure you've got a cozy home to wake up in and return to.

Set up humidifiers

Portable humidifiers are an inexpensive remedy for dry skin, sore throats, and even cracked wooden furniture, which doesn't much like the dry heat your furnace kicks out. Start using them as soon as you turn your heat on.

Inspect your fireplace

Have the chimney cleaned professionally, clear out any leftover ashes from last year, and fix cracked glass doors and damaged fireguards.


Be sure to change the batteries in your smoke alarms and carbon monoxide detectors. While you're at it, check the expiration on your fire extinguisher and review your escape plan with your family as well.

By France Forbes