Fall Cleaning is the New Spring Cleaning
Spring cleaning has always been a thing. It was a way to welcome warmer weather, open the windows and literally air out the house. Rugs were hung outside to air out, everything that wasn’t moving got cleaned and dusted and polished. Today, fall cleaning cleans to the same level, but in seasonal climates, the focus may be on buttoning up the house for winter. Many of us spend more time at home in the winter. Between the cold temps and the gray skies, being home just feels better and having a clean house before the days get too short makes it even nicer. Bonus: you have a sparkling clean home for all that holiday company!
What’s involved in fall cleaning? A lot of the same things that are done during spring cleaning, plus a few extras to prepare for the change of season. If you live in a single-family home, make sure to clean your gutters before freezing temperatures set in. Check your humidifier and furnace for maintenance needs like new filters – stock up on filters and water softener salt for the winter now. If you have a chimney, get it professionally cleaned. Check the weather stripping and caulking around the windows and doors and repair so you don’t lose heat energy to the outdoors. If you have an attic, inspect it and make sure that no furry friends have found a way in that could cause energy loss (and a potential mess!).
We all know to replace smoke detector batteries every 6 months. But what about flipping and rotating your mattresses? For optimum wear, that should be done twice a year – you might as well make it part of your fall cleaning routine!
The change of seasons offers a great opportunity to clean out closets and donate outgrown clothes and toys to charity. While you’re assessing what needs to go, it makes sense to reorganize the rest of your closet at the same time. (Is there anything in that attic that could be donated?)
If you’re a cook or baker, the holidays are always a busy time, and a fall cleaning spree provides the chance to clean out and organize your pantry, spice rack and baking supplies. You don’t really need that 4-year-old jar of Hungarian paprika or 1/2 inch of ice wine maple syrup, do you? It will be easier and more efficient to work in a cleaned up, organized space. Take a look at your kitchen gadgets while you undertake this step: if you haven’t used that spiralizer in 2 years, consider giving it to a charity thrift store.
When’s the last time you thought about cleaning your dishwasher? The drawer below your oven? Your washing machine? Taking time for these tasks will make the next few months much easier! Cleaning frequently touched but overlooked items like light switches, door knobs, remote controls and keyboards can help keep down the spread of cold germs too.
Of course, like spring cleaning, your fall cleaning list should include thoroughly dusting and vacuuming the house and cleaning the floors, curtains or blinds and maybe even your bathroom grout, if you’re really ambitious!
If you live where winter is a real season, you’re going to be indoors more in the next few months. Some fall cleaning effort now will make that homebound time much more pleasant.