As the leaves fall and colder temperatures set in, October is the time to get organized before winter and the holidays take over. Take some time this October for a few home maintenance and safety tasks that keep your home warm and clutter-free.
In honor of fire safety month, check your fire extinguisher’s pressure gauge. The needle should stay in the green if the fire extinguisher is still good. You should also check the nozzle and hose for cracks. Teach your family how to use the fire extinguisher in case of an emergency too.
Organize the junk drawer and cupboards
After months of collecting items, your junk drawer and cupboards could use some attention. Decrease the clutter by cutting down on Tupperware, old papers, and plastic bags. Save and organize items you may need later like batteries, flashlights, and first aid items so you can find them easily when you need them.
Escaping a fire from the top floor can be dangerous business. Add a fire escape ladder for each of the bedrooms in your home for an additional exit in an emergency.
Replace the furnace filter
You’ll be in hot water if you forget to replace the filter in your furnace, so check it every 4–6 weeks during the winter months.
Test the sump pump
Don’t let flood water sneak up on you. Test your sump pump to ensure it’s still connected and properly siphoning water out of your basement and crawl spaces.
Insulate the pipes
If you live in an area that gets chilly in October, wrap the pipes in your basement to prevent them from freezing during the coming winter.
Deep clean your bathrooms
Who doesn’t love a fresh bathroom? Mold. Cleaning out the loo regularly can keep mold spores from settling. Be sure to get the vents, baseboards, and walls in addition to the usual suspects like the shower and toilet.
Test and change smoke and CO detector batteries
These vital safety devices don’t do much if they aren’t charged and connected, so test both your smoke and carbon monoxide detectors regularly. Stock up on those AA batteries and get it done. Earplugs required. You should do the same for your carbon monoxide detector, especially if your home burns gas.
Turn off and flush outdoor water faucets
It’s time to hang up your gardening gloves for the winter, so go ahead and turn off and drain any outside water faucets to avoid freezing pipes.
Cover and store outdoor furniture
Find a place to stow your favorite chaise safe from the elements before the snow buries it. If you don’t have space in your shed or garage, at least cover outdoor furniture to avoid wear and tear on the upholstery.
Winterize perennials and clean out annuals
Prep your garden, landscaping, and flower beds for the cruel temps that force plants into hibernation, and clear out the dead stuff so you’ll have room for your next bright idea in the spring.
Rake the leaves and mow the lawn
Give that lawn one last rake and mow to sweep up any remaining debris and get your grass in tip-top shape for next year’s season of growth.
Decorate for Halloween
All the ghosts and ghouls will be out this month. If you’re in the Halloween spirit, decorate your yard with pumpkins and spooky decorations.
What’s the best way to remove leaves in my yard?
Raking leaves is a notorious October chore. Whether you like an old fashioned rake or go for a high-powered leaf blower, don’t just leave the leaves you collect. Leaves can be helpful for composting and easily turned into mulch. Or you can check to see if your community has a collection service that can take those leaves off your yard.
When are my kids old enough to trick or treat on their own?
Young kids shouldn’t be left to trick or treat alone, so it’s best to wait until they’re older. Even for kids in elementary school, make sure they go in groups and stick to neighborhoods they’re familiar with. See our full trick or treating safety guide for more tips.
How can I keep my energy bill low during October?
In many parts of the country, October can switch between warm and cool in a few hours. Consider a smart thermostat that will take the outside temperature and light levels of your home into account. These products are an initial investment, but they’re easy to install and can save you money in the long run.
Kaz is a journalist who covers home security, parenting, and community and child safety. Her work and product testing in the security and safety field spans the past four years. You can find Kaz in HuffPost, SheKnows, Lifehack, and much more. Her degree in education and her background as a teacher and a parent make her uniquely suited to offer practical advice on creating safe environments for your family. Learn more