With Daylight Savings Time come to an end, we seem to naturally prefer being indoors, wrapped under a blanket with a mug of hot chocolate warming up our hands as we binge on Netflix as much as possible. We know you’re thinking the last thing you want to be doing is taking care of household tasks, but fall makes a great opportunity to pack away the summer gear and get ahead of the holiday season by getting more organized.

As the temperature drops, tackle these five essential tips to help you prepare for the shorter days and busier evenings ahead.

Thoroughly Clean Your Pantry

I’m not sure about you, but I have the urge to bake a lot during those longer fall evenings. Which means that my pantry better be easy to access so I can whip up whatever I need to bake quickly!

Pantries usually accumulate a lot of things and don’t get the attention they need frequently. Before the holiday season arrives officially and you are tending to those last minute guests, tackle your pantry so that you have easier access to the items you need in a hurry. This will cut down on unnecessary time that you may spend hunting for an item.

You can begin by removing every item from the pantry. Once this is done, clean out the shelves, making sure to discard any dust or crumbs that may have been hiding in the back and corners. Do an inspection of each of the items and get rid of the ones that have expired. If you’re feeling extra savvy, throw in a couple of baskets to organize items by category.

Pro-Tip: Not enough time? Call in a cleaning or organizational service that will take care of the organizing for you!

Clean and Test your Smoke Detectors

In theory, most of us know that we are supposed to put new batteries in our carbon monoxide detectors and smoke alarms. However, many people forget and this can be very dangerous. To easily remember this, schedule this in you calendar to coincide with the seasonal change in your clocks during Daylight Savings Time. In addition, run a quick check on how dusty your detector may be. Unfortunately, just as it does anywhere, dust may accumulate and affect the performance of the unit. Clean around any inside openings of the detectors using the soft brush attachment of your vacuum cleaner.

Clear your Gutters

It is very important not to have clogged gutters as the drainage system of your roof depends on clear gutters. This means that if your gutters become too clogged, the system won’t work smoothly and cause structural issues such as water lodged in your basement or damaged surfaces.

Fall is a great time to make sure that your gutters are free of dirt, debris and leaves. Grab a ladder so you can reach the debris easily or make use of a leaf blower with extensions for gutter cleaning. You can also hire a professional company to do the job.

Prepare Heavier Blankets and Linens

We love our blankets during the cooler months! But if you are like us, you’ve packed them away during the summer months neatly in a closet somewhere. To avoid rummaging through your home to pull these out when the temperature drops in the middle of the night, set aside a time in your schedule to bring out all your winter blankets and linens and have them ready to go.

Winter Gear Lineup

You may not need these, yet. Yet. But you know that time is drawing near as the temperature keeps dropping every day, reminding us that winter is just around the corner. I know, Debby Downer much? But fall is a fantastic prep time to pack away the summer gear and take out your winter wear. Wash anything that finds it necessary and get it ready for when that first snowfall hits in the middle of the night, unbeknownst to you!

Photo by Gordon Chibroski/Staff Photographer. Friday, April 5, 2013. Mudroom designed and constructed by Caleb Johnson Architects + Builders (cq). This side is filled with winter gear and has plenty of room for shoes, coats and helmuts.

Whether it’s preparing for the holidays or getting a head start for the grueling cold temperatures to follow, these five essential tips will be sure to help you right through the holidays and into the grueling temperatures beyond.