Please do remember that these lists are a collection of things that may need doing in any given month. Many should be done at least once a year or kept in mind by a homeowner and even a renter.
Inside: Dust ceilings, walls, baseboards and woodwork. This is especially important now, because dust that collects during summer is often laden with allergy-inducing pollen. A vacuum cleaner’s brush or even a swifter is a good tool to use for this job. Clean ceilings first, then work your way down.
If you have a wood burning fireplace have the chimney cleaned for fiery nights to come.
Rearrange furniture with the fireplace as focal point.
Rehang heavier curtains and window treatments. Have sheers dry-cleaned or wash by hand.
Take off summer slipcovers and make plans to pack up jute, coir, and fiber rugs in exchange for wool rugs.
Vacuum upholstery — vacuum all sides of cushions, as well as underneath.
Plant amaryllis bulbs in pots for holiday blooms.
Purchase summer bulbs for October planting.
Have your heating system checked by a professional, replace filters and make sure the system is in peak condition so that it runs at its best when cold weather sets in.
Clean dirt and lint from inside of your washing machine. Wipe the interior of the tub with a clean, damp cloth; them run a short hot wash cycle with detergent, rinse with a plain water cycle. If your machine is really dirty, fill it with a disinfecting solution of 3/4 cup chlorine bleach and 1 tablespoon powdered detergent for every gallon of warm water. Let it sit for a few minutes, then drain and rinse a few times.
Rotate your mattress, wash mattress cover and vacuum the mattress.
Clean carpets. Do this before it is too cold to open the windows, airing out the house helps carpets dry.
Organize closets to make room for new school clothes. Unpack sweaters and take dust covers off of cold weather clothes.
Outside: Take storm windows out of storage and clean them, before putting them in. Wash screens before storing them.
Caulk around windows and doors.
Select a few garden mums for lively color, as the nights grow longer and cooler.
Get your soil in shape for fall planting. Remove spent annuals and vegetables, dig and turn top 4 to 6 inches of soil, lightly water once a day for a few days, and pull any weeds. Add 2 to 3 inches of compost.
As perennials go dormant, dig them up and divide those that need it. Don’t fertilize your lawn until after trees have gone dormant, say around Halloween.
Clean up under and around fruit trees. Fruit left to rot is an invitation to disease and animal problems.
Bring potted plants inside before first frost. Tend to hitch hikers — read that — bugs. Submerge planters in water for up to 15 minutes then reduce watering and allow the containers to dry out. Clean terra cotta planters, store inside garage or shed to prevent cracking and decay.
The hottest days may be behind us but lawns and gardens still require watering, especially because dry spells are common this time of year. Add a layer of mulch to beds to help retain moisture and decrease weeds.
If you haven’t aerated your lawn in a few years think about having this done. Creating small holes in soil increases the amount of oxygen that reaches the roots and makes it easier for the soil to take in water and nutrients.
Susan Woody has been a garden writer for marathon 25 years and is a master gardener.