Home improvement projects to complete in October.


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Home improvement projects to complete in October.

By emily.bailey

Monday, October 4, 2021

October home improvement checklist | Schlage

This guide to home improvement projects to complete in October can help you stay on top of DIY and maintenance tasks. 



When you’re not decorating your entryway or front yard for Halloween, spend some time on these October DIY projects. By staying on top of monthly jobs, you’ll keep your home working efficiently and looking beautiful the entire year. Don’t forget to check out our other monthly DIY lists and download the October home improvement checklist.

Indoor home checklist

We’re moving back indoors and so is cold and flu season. Now’s the time to make sure your home is clean and healthy.

  • Disinfect high-touch surfaces. Go through your home with fresh eyes and disinfect everything you touch so frequently you no longer even think about it. This includes door hardware – bedrooms, bathrooms, all exterior doors, pocket door pulls, closets, kitchen pantries, basement and garage entries, sliding patio door grips – as well as cabinet pulls in your kitchen and bathroom, oven and microwave handles, and coffee maker buttons and switches. Also disinfect lighting switch plates, remote controls, personal electronics and your cell phone. It’s a lot, but it will be worth keeping your family safe. Be sure to follow the manufacturers’ recommendation for disinfecting as some cleaning chemicals can harm finishes and functionality. This guide to cleaning your door hardware can help to keep it looking and working great.

  • Get the mudroom ready. Most of the U.S. is about to track more leaves, mud and snow into the house. Prepare your mudroom to handle the extra traffic by adding a sturdy floormat or rug, a boot tray to corral wet shoes and a stand to hold umbrellas. You might also include a laundry basket for soiled clothes so they don’t have a chance to leave a trail of dirt throughout the house. Don’t have a mudroom? Use these hacks for instantly faking an entryway.
  • Vacuum. Ideally, you’re vacuuming your floors often. This month, include heating elements like radiators, baseboard heaters and grates in your vacuuming rotation. Get under the couch cushions, around the refrigerator coils, between your side-by-side washer and dryer, along your lampshades, and between the keys on your computer keyboard, too.


  • Deep clean the bathroom. Address mold and mildew in your shower. Remember that not all mold is dark or green. That pink residue in your tub is also a form of mold caused by bacteria. Clean or replace your shower curtains and bathmats, too. If your faucets and other fixtures have hard-mineral buildup, try soaking them in a solution of warm water and distilled vinegar. Finally, organize your cabinets, disposing of anything that’s expired. Expired medications should be dropped off at a National Prescription Drug Take Back Day rather than thrown away or flushed to avoid putting harmful chemicals into the environment. You can also contact local law enforcement or your pharmacist for more safe options.


  • Make it smell like fall. Switch to an autumnal scent for hand soap in the kitchen and bathrooms. Do the same with candles or try one of these flameless options.

Outdoor home checklist

Winter can do a number on your home if you let it, but these DIY projects offer protection from the elements.

  • Clean and store gardening equipment. When you’re done gardening for the year, drain and store your hoses where they won’t freeze. Clean rust and chemicals from your tools so they’re ready to go again in the spring. Now’s a good time to organize your shed or garage, too. Just like you do with your clothes closet, get rid of anything you didn’t use this season or that is broken. Store fertilizer, chemicals or dangerous tools in a locked cabinet.
  • Trim trees and shrubs. Remove branches that could break under the weight of heavy snow or ice, especially if they’re near the house. Depending on the size of the tree and the job, you might want to hire a professional. This could be a good time to have the pros inspect for pests like tree bores, too.


  • Inspect the home’s exterior. While you’re trimming your trees, do a thorough audit of your home’s exterior, noting and repairing anything that might cause problems over the winter. This includes loose or missing roofing shingles, broken gutters, gaps where critters can sneak in, broken handrails and gate latches, and burned-out porch lights.
  • Turn off exterior faucets. Do this before your first freeze. Make sure you get all the faucets, including the spigot you use for your garden hose, outdoor kitchen or utility sinks, and dog washing stations.
  • Winterize the pool. Drain, clean and cover your pool or any other water feature, including garden fountains. You might be able to leave smaller bird baths out a bit longer depending on your weather.


For the future

‘Tis almost the season. Will you be ready?

  • Schedule holiday photos. If you’re going to hire a professional photographer for holiday pictures, schedule them now. It’s not uncommon for the pros to be booked up by October and you don’t want to be delayed if you plan to put those photos in your holiday cards. This is a great time to support a local business, too.
  • Prepare to bake. When you’re cleaning your kitchen, start a list of everything you might need for holiday cooking and baking. If you’re low on spices, add them to a grocery list. If it’s your turn to host Thanksgiving, make sure you have enough serving spoons and dishes for the sides. If all you really want is to be comfy and cozy, stock up on cider, cocoa and all the fixings.
  • Start saving. Make a budget and start a fund – a separate reserve in your bank account, an envelope in your sock drawer – for holiday gifts or travel. You can also use this time to brush up on smart online shopping strategies to protect your money and personal information.



For the greater good

Lacking motivation to finish a project? Try putting your efforts into improving someone else’s life. It might be the nudge you need.

  • Recognize National Animal Safety and Protection Month. Update your pets’ immunizations, learn basic animal first aid and take recent photos to help identify them if they got lost. If your pet isn’t chipped yet, do that now. If you’ve moved with your pet recently, make sure your new address is in the chip database. Check that your emergency supply kit has everything your furry friend needs, too. You probably already have food and water for you, but what about Fluffy? Pet-proof your house –know what houseplants are toxic and how to keep pets safe during the holidays – and have an evacuation plan ready in case you need to get out of the house quickly because of a fire or other natural disaster.
  • Commit a random act of kindness. Observe what those around you need most and deliver. It doesn’t have to be a grand gesture. Offer a hug, write a note of encouragement to a child who’s struggling at school, invite a single friend for a homecooked dinner or leave a winter coat at a homeless shelter.

In case you missed it

We understand if could have used a 25th hour in the day to get everything done in September. Cross these tasks off your list if you haven’t already.

  • Stop drafts and add insulation. If you have drafty windows and doors, test to see where the draft is coming from, then add caulking, install weatherstripping or use insulation film as needed. For the rest of your home, consider adding insulation to walls as well as attics, basements and crawl spaces, as well as pipes and water heaters to keep your home working efficiently.
  • Winterize the outdoor kitchen. Houzz recommends shutting off water lines and draining water leading to refrigerators and sinks. Also clean your grill and cover everything to avoid damage from winter elements.

Time to buy

You’re likely to find some good deals blowing in with the new month. Take advantage of some of these items Consumer Reports says are good buys in October.

  • DIY: Chainsaws, leaf blowers, snow blowers
  • Electronics: Smart speakers
  • Home goods: Mattresses, smoke and carbon monoxide detectors


If you’re big into celebrating holidays, your life is about to get a lot busier. Schlage can help you stay on task and make some of those responsibilities a little easier. Find DIY hacks, technology tips that make your home more convenient and hosting suggestions on our blog.