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October Checklist for a Smooth-Running Home

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From the first crisp mornings spent raking leaves, to the last exciting days preparing for trick-or-treaters, October is usually a busy month around the house. Work your way through the tasks on our checklist, and by the end of the month you’ll have your home winter-ready—and a bit more beautiful, to boot.

1. Clean rain gutters after leaves fall. Leaves and other debris that clog your rain gutters can cause leaks, so it is best to get to this chore as soon as possible after most of the autumn leaves have fallen. If your home is more than one story, hire a pro.

2. Repair roof and siding. If you see any damaged areas to your roof, siding or shingles, it is important to take care of the problem before winter storms come through.

3. Scrub and store outdoor furniture and tools. Rather than leave furniture out in bad weather, put it away in a shed or the basement. This month, also aim to clean your gardening tools and put them away neatly.

4. Give your porch a makeover. Sweep away the summer sand, refresh pots with fall flowers, clean front windows and use a broom or soft brush to clean up siding. An armful of decorative gourds and pumpkins makes an easy display that will last all month.

5. Shut off outdoor faucets and roll hoses. Freezing temperatures can damage hoses and water pipes, so be sure to shut off faucets and empty hoses of water before the first big freeze.

6. Check safety devices. Every home should have a carbon monoxide detector, as well as smoke detectors positioned throughout the house. Take a moment to test that yours are in working order, and change batteries if needed.

7. Sort and store clothing. Shift warm-weather clothes and accessories to an out-of-the-way closet in bins with tight-fitting lids. And be sure to store only freshly laundered items—bugs are attracted to dirty clothes but usually leave clean garments alone.

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