What is it about transitioning from summer to fall that feels so momentous? There’s something about the shorter days and cooler weather that just beckons a fresh start, making the end of summer the perfect time to start thinking about new routines and rhythms around the home.
Here are a few last-minute chores to focus on in your kitchen and dining areas, so you can make the most of autumn’s arrival in your household.
1. Prep your pantry.
Your future self will thank Thoughtful, Summer You for having autumn staples on hand (hey, you never know when a Pinterest recipe will inspire you). Depending on your taste, load up your pantry with non-perishable items like canned pumpkin, chili ingredients, cranberries, and wild rice. You can also say goodbye to your powdered lemonade (or, even better, just finish it) and swap it out for fall-friendly options like chai, hot chocolate, cider, and your favorite teas.
Related: 5 Things to Purge from Your Pantry Right Now
2. Toss expired condiments.
You know that ketchup, mustard, and mayo you bought around Memorial Day weekend? It may be time to toss ‘em. Check the expiration dates on your summer BBQ condiments (and other perishable foods, as long as you’re at it), and replenish as needed.
3. Organize your kitchen gadgets.
When cooler weather comes, you’ll be in the mood for soups and stews before you know it. If they’re in storage (read: the basement), now’s the perfect time to grab your roasting pan, slow cooker, or pressure cooker, so you can re-incorporate them into your meal routine at a moment’s notice. Now’s also a great opportunity to start thinking about storing any other summer items — like pitchers, grill tongs, and roasting sticks — so you have more real estate for the stuff you’ll be using on a regular basis.
4. Switch out dining room table items.
Much like switching out your lightweight sheets and blankets for heavier-duty options, you may also want to swap out tablecloths, runners, decor, and other table and dining accessories to vibe with the fall months.
5. Clean your garbage and recycling bins.
Grimy trash can? Get outside when the sun’s still warm and shining and clean out your kitchen bins. First, empty the trash and clean it with soap and water. (Use your garden hose!) Then reach for a disinfectant, scrub the can, and let it dry in the sun.
Read more: How To Clean a Kitchen Trash Can
6. Clean your oven.
You’ll also want to get ready for fall and winter baking by cleaning out your oven. (Especially if it was sitting dormant most of the summer!) Luckily, we have an all-natural (and non-smelly) oven cleaning method. All it takes to deep-clean is baking soda, water, and vinegar!
Read more: How To Clean an Oven with Baking Soda and Vinegar
7. Scrub the kitchen tiles and backsplash.
There’s nothing cute about greasy, splattered tiles. To remove the evidence of summer recipes on your counters and backsplash, use an all-purpose cleaner with a microfiber cloth. Then, scrub grout with a toothbrush using a vinegar/baking soda mixture.
Related: How To Clean a Greasy Tiled Backsplash and Grout
8. Clean your coffee machine and tea kettle.
After making sure your hot-beverage gadgets are in working order, it’s time to give them a good clean (which will also result in better-tasting drinks). Always check the instruction manual on your machines before descaling.
Read more: How To Clean a Coffee Maker
9. Clean wood floors and rugs.
After a long summer of foot traffic through your dining room and kitchen, take some time to freshen things up by scrubbing and sanitizing floors and shampooing carpeted areas and rugs. If you’re feeling ambitious, you can also remove scuffs from wood floors and furniture.
Read more: How To Clean Hardwood Floors
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