Autumn To-Do List

Inveterate list-makers know that lists are great tools to sharpen memory. You’ll never forget an important household task again, thanks to our monthly To-Do list. We’ve put together your list of important monthly to-dos, along with some fun things. They’re gentle reminders without the clutter of sticky yellow post-its. Have we forgotten something? Send us an email:

  • Tidy your garden for its winter slumber. Read the story here.
  • Harvest seeds from plants that you intend to sow next spring. Dry them, place them in labeled paper envelopes, and store in a cool, dry place throughout the winter.
  • If you have a forced-air heating system, schedule a cleaning of its ducts to ensure the circulation of clean air once your furnace is operational.
  • Have your home’s eavestroughs cleaned to ensure that water can run off the roof without impediment.
  • Test your home’s smoke and carbon-monoxide detectors. Change their batteries.
  • Turn off the outdoor faucets and lawn irrigation systems. Drain all standing water from them.
  • Check windows and doors for drafts. Move a lighted candle or stick of burning incense around each door and window; if the flame or smoke flickers, there is likely a draft. Seal leakages with caulking or weather-stripping.
  • Close the swimming pool.
  • Check small apertures on the outside envelope of your home that could provide access to small mammals, such as mice. Plug any holes with steel wool to prevent entry. Read the story here.
  • Check your trees once the leaves are down for possible dangerous proximity of their limbs to roofs and power lines.
  • If you own a snow blower, check that it’s in working order. Change the oil if you didn’t do it before last spring, and repair anything that isn’t functional.
  • Ensure that your heating system is in working order. Hire the professionals who can do the repair and maintenance on it.
  • Wash your outdoor furniture and store it indoors in a dry place. If you lack indoor space for it (a garage or shed), ensure that it is protected from inclement weather under tarpaulins.
  • Stock up on sand for walkways and driveways so you’re ready for the first snowfall or freezing rain.
  • Take your winter duvets and comforters out of storage. Launder them or have them professionally cleaned.
to do - autumn to do list
  • Plant spring bulbs—tulips, daffodils, crocuses, scilla, snowdrops, etc.—for next year’s gardening season.
  • Take winter coats and footwear out of storage. Dry-clean if necessary.
  • Order firewood if you have a wood-burning fireplace.
  • When raking leaves, ensure that you leave a patch of them in the yard to protect pollinators.
  • Have your chimneys swept.
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