11 Tips for a “Fall Prep Punch List” – Preparing Your Home for the Holidays and Winter Months

Rip staining doors, back porch cabin
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Fall is here, and that means the holidays, and some cold winter months, will be here soon.

Have you ever wished you had a check-list of sorts that would help you get all of your home, inside and out, ready for the holidays? Ready for guests? Ready for celebrations? And ready for colder weather?

Me too!

So, that’s why I created my own, “Fall Prep Punch List.”  Aaaand … I wanted to write this post to help you write your own customized “Fall Prep Punch List.”  It’s actually not hard to do at all, but only takes some designated time, focused attention, and unhurried thought and planning.


From exterior cleaning and repairs, to interior cleaning and repairs…October is the perfect month to give your house some intentional “fall focus.”

1. So, start with making a MASTER PUNCH LIST. This may need a spiral notebook or a 3-ring binder so that you can divide all the exterior and interior spaces into sections. But here’s how I would suggest tackling this fall home project:

  • Start outside at the curb and look at your house. Then, start writing down everything you immediately see that needs: repair, restoration, or a refresh. Then, walk all around your house making notes of all the places you now see (even more closely) that need attention.

Then … 

2. Start with the exterior. In the above featured image, the homeowner hired our company to restain their doors and the back screened-in porch, and all the cypress wood trim. They also had a stove vent-a-hood on their back porch that needed cleaning and fresh staining. Some of the screens had been torn and needed to be replaced. The back doors of the house that led to the back porch also needed an uplift – so they all got sanded, stained and sealed.   So – be sure to look at your roof, soffits, gutters, facia. What do you see around the entire exterior of your home that may need: repair, a fresh coat of paint, or to be cleaned?

But when you look at the photo, there were other areas of the exterior to prepare and give a refresh:

  • Metal Roof – In the fall, it is a good time to hire, (unless you know how to do this yourself), a metal roof installer to make sure the screws are tight and not loose. Harsh heat can cause what’s called, “thermal movement” in metal panels. Hot temperatures expand metal, and cold temperatures contract it and this movement is responsible for most metal roof leaks. Your home’s metal roof could be leak-proof one season and show signs of weakness the very next season. A professional metal roof installer would also know that the screws should NOT be screwed too tightly that causes the the middle washer to press down into the metal. Fall is a great time to simply have the roof inspected and then properly cleaned. (Never clean a metal roof with Bleach or Bleach based products. Only use a mixture of  ¼ cup of Dawn or Ivory Dish Detergent, (or car washing soap), with a gallon of water. Then, you’ll need to apply the solution to your metal roof with a sponge, microfiber cloth, or soft-bristle brush, and let it sit on the surface for 5-10 minutes. Using a water hose, you can then rinse it clean.
  • Cypress Posts – These posts need to be examined for any cracking due to heat and if they do have cracks, again, a professional (like Rip) knows how to properly fill the cracks with stainable caulking and then sand, stain and seal them before the cold weather.
  • The Porch – The porch on this house is concrete – check all your concrete exterior floors and driveways to see if they need to be pressure washed, cracks filled or possible overlayed.
  • Low Hanging Branches – Check your house to be sure there are no low hanging tree branches laying on the house roof or pressing against any gutters or facia.
  • Door Refresh – Check all entry doors to your house – do they need a fresh staining? A fresh coat of paint?


3. Check all drip boards, fascia and soffits. Do they need to be newly caulked and painted?  Rip makes sure that our clients houses have all three (drip boards, fascia and soffits) properly sealed and painted. No rotting wood and no mildew.



4. Decking Support – This is sometimes overlooked, but is all decking full supported? We were at a client’s house lately and a big hole was in the middle of their deck because of rotted support. Rip makes sure all supports and floor joists are solid, level, and evenly distributed.


5. Bleach clean certain exterior areas of the house – Especially where you may see mold or mildew. If you do not like cleaning with Bleach, this product is an excellent exterior cleaner for removing algae, mold, mildew from concrete, siding, brick and stucco.


6. Pressure Washing – This is such a perfect time for ALL pressure washing – patios, porches, driveways, siding, … any surface that is safe for pressure washing.


7. Check all Windows – do they need adjusting? Fresh caulk? Painted along the trim? Any broken that need to be replaced?


8. Interior Clean, Clean, Clean – A clean home is an inviting home. From one room to another, clean everything – windows, window trims, floors, walls, furnishings, etc.


9. Organize – purge out all the clutter, throw away all that is unusable – donate what you can – and be so intentional in PURGING out what you do not need. Then, with all that is left – organize it.  Typically during the holidays, “things” come into our homes – decorations, gifts, different kinds of groceries, etc. We want clean and readied spaces to welcome it all!

Here’s a pantry before I purged, cleaned and organized it for a client.

And I wanted to show a close-up of how we organized all her cardboard contained items into clear food safe heavy plastics. This has been my “rule” for kitchen pantries for as long as I can remember having young children myself:

C  C  C  – which stands for Cardboard Causes Clutter. 


10. Prepare for guests – If you have a guest room or guest suite, live in it for a weekend. “Guest” in your home in the space where you want them to feel most loved and welcomed. Does the room need a fresh coat of paint? Does it need decluttering in the closet? In the bathroom they will use, is there a quick tote or basket of things that you can provide to them during their stay … deep cleansing face masks, fingernail clippers and file, mini shampoo & conditioner, lotions, q-tips, mouthwash, etc.  Look to see if the bathroom also needs repair or a refresh of paint, stain, or are any of the faucets leaking?


11.  Pray daily in your home AND in each room, consider placing the Word of God. This is only a suggestion because in our home, as we walk from room to room, you will see the Word of God either in a frame, etched in wood, painted on canvas, or on small strips of paper tucked into a piece of pottery.  As our homes are prepared physically, we can prepare it spiritually every single day in how we use our homes to the glory of God.





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lisa rippy

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