4 Eco-Cleaning Chores for Fall

Reader Contribution by Kayla Matthews
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Spring might be the traditional time for cleaning, but fall is a great occasion to get your house prepped for winter. Since it’s starting to become a bit cooler out, getting your house ready for winter, when you’re going to be stuck inside more often, should be on your to-do list. Making the right preparations now can ensure that your home is more efficient and environmentally-friendly when the seasons change. Here are some simple ways to get your house ready for the cold seasons ahead.

Photo by Kaboompics.

Batten Down the Hatches

Drafts in winter are usually less than pleasant. They also give the warm air your furnace is working to produce an easy escape route.

Check your windows and doors to see if there are any gaps around the edges. Some caulk should be able to fix any draft problems in those areas. Even if you’ve re-caulked the seals in the past year, moisture, temperature changes and the swelling of wood can cause more gaps to appear or old caulk to come loose. Check it regularly.

In addition to the windows and doors, there are other sneaky places where air can get in. Old houses with wood floors can fall victim to cold air seeping up through the floor boards, especially above a basement. If your home has an attic, this is also a great place for cold air to sneak in. Knowing where to add insulation can save a pretty significant amount of cash in the winter.

Up in the Air

Winter usually means you won’t have the doors and windows open to let in fresh air (unless you live in Florida or California, of course). Use this time to get in one last airing-out and take a look at your air filters to help keep your house comfortable during the colder months. Air filters are easy to replace, and they’re cheap. Think less than $5 cheap, and you replace them when they get gross or about every three months. It can be more often, however, if you have animals, smoke inside or if your appliance’s manufacturer recommends replacement more frequently.

Clean Out the Closet

Sadly, it’s getting to be the time when we put away the shorts, sundresses, tank tops and flip-flops. It’s time to make room for chunky sweaters, jeans, heavy jackets, hats, scarves, mittens and boots! All those bulky clothes can be hard to fit into the closet, so take this opportunity to clear out what you can.

Old clothes that no longer fit or that you don’t want to keep can be donated. However, not everything will make the cut. You might have pieces that simply aren’t wearable anymore. You don’t have to trash those items if you can find a way to reuse them—break them down into rags for dusting or other household chores.

Clear the Garage

Since we’re talking about getting rid of your old stuff, don’t neglect the garage! After all, you’re not going to need to get to the weed-whacker and lawn mower over the winter, but you will want easy access to snow shovels, salt, ice scrapers and sleds. If you start making the switch now, you won’t be stuck hunting for the ice scraper when you’re already late for work. Of course, you’ll also need to move a rake into grabbing distance, too, for all those leaf piles in the fall.

Since you’re working on finding space for the things you need, now is as good a time as any to get some old junk out of the way! Broken gardening tools, hoses with holes, empty spray bottles and leftover paint cans can be tossed. You’ll just want to make sure you dispose of any paint correctly to avoid contaminating the environment with dangerous chemicals. You’ll want to consider similar options for things like bug sprays and other pressurized cans.

These simple steps can help keep your home in good shape for the cold season. You’ll be able to see the difference reflected in your energy bill, too. Bring it on, winter!

Kayla Matthewsis a health and wellness blogger who loves jogging, yoga and hiking. Follow Kayla on Google+ and Twitter to read all of her latest posts.