Ahh, autumn. The leaves change colors and start to fall, the weather is cools down, school buses parade the streets, apple pies are a-bakin’, trips to the pumpkin patch, the sun retires sooner, and mornings have a cool bite to them. That’s when I know it’s time to start Fall Cleaning!
Fall Cleaning? What’s that?
So glad you asked! It’s like Spring Cleaning, but it’s in the Fall. (For those of you wondering, cobwebs do accumulate all year round, so you must clean them.) Why do a Fall Cleaning? I can give you 6 quick reasons…
- I LOVE autumn. The weather is still relatively nice, so you can still work outdoors and keep windows open without worrying about snow (for the most part anyway). Plus, the cool, crisp air is energizing, especially after this past long, hot summer heat.
- It will put your mind at ease. I know my mind is more “restful” once everything is cleared out and thoroughly cleaned, especially now that I have a crawling baby in the house.
- It makes your house much more manageable come Spring Cleaning time.
- It makes the holidays less stressful. (Read reason #2.)
- Your mother, mother-in-law, grandmothers and aunts (fill-in-the-blank) won’t have anything to complain about when they come to visit for the holidays. Well, maybe your cooking or how the kids are too rowdy, etc., etc.
- It’s a good workout.
I will be dividing this into a few different installments over the next couple of weeks. My tips to you are:
- Especially if you tend to shy away from tasks when you feel overwhelmed, don’t take on these projects all at once. Chip away little by little everyday for the next few weeks and by Thanksgiving, or Christmas (depending on when you start), everything will be finished. Personally, I tend to do it all at once over a weekend or two, but that’s just because I don’t like for it to drag on. “Get it done, and enjoy the rest of the season” is my thinking.
- If you feel up to it or are extra ambitious (you know the type, the one who asks for extra credit at school?), do more than I suggest on a particular day.
- If you need to, take a day off and pick back up the next day.
- Remember that you don’t have to do everything on these lists. And if you want, just do the bare minimum. Anything you do now (no matter how small or how big) will make it easier for you later.
- Hire some help, if you need to. Better yet, make it a family affair. Recruit your older kids, spouse, best friend, neighbor. Or have them take care of the daily routine (cooking, dishes, chauffeuring the kids, etc.) while you tackle the “big stuff.”
- Make it a fun time – turn on some music.
- Whatever you do, don’t procrastinate until the last minute.
Hopefully, by now you have de-cluttered your home using Lindsey’s 30 Items Less post back in August. If not, I highly suggest you do this first before all the cleaning begins. I also recommend reading her End of Summer post, and then following through – get rid of summer items (this includes summer toys and summer patio furniture) and expired products, clear out your closets, store seasonal clothing, and drop off your donations.
Got that done? Now we can move on to the nitty gritty… put your cleaning gloves on, tie back your hair and get comfortable. Not that comfortable. I’m talking sweat pants (or shorts if it’s still warm when you get to doing this).
This day is pretty easy. Well, sort of. At least it doesn’t require that you wear anything special, not even your cleaning gloves. It just requires that you decide which of the following services listed below you will perform yourself and which you will need to hire a professional to do. If you determine you can do some of them, make sure you have all the proper equipment you will need (if not, go purchase it). For the ones you can’t or decide not to do yourself, get out the phone book, call around, “interview,” and check prices before settling on a particular company.
Beat the procrastinators to the punch! Make sure you call to get these services scheduled in the next few weeks before it’s gets too cold (many professionals get inundated with phone calls near holidays and after the first real freeze):
- Regularly deep cleaning your carpets extends their life, so either schedule a professional to steam clean the carpets, rugs, upholstered furniture, and curtains, or schedule a day where you can do it yourself. Places like Lowes and Home Depot (and even some grocery stores) have rentable units. Or, if this is something you would like to invest in, you can purchase your own. (I’ve had my eye on the Oreck XL Shield Power Scrubber. It deep cleans carpets and bare floors!) A couple of notes: 1. Sometimes you can take down the curtains and wash them yourself (just read the labels). 2. Leave the carpets to be done last, as you will want to clean them after the dust has been cleaned up and “traffic” (from the services you will be getting done) has settled down. However, I will stress this again – you will want to get this scheduled now, as companies can get extremely busy closer to the holidays.
- If you live in a cold part of the country, schedule to get your sprinkler system “blown out.” Obviously, do this when the weather gets cooler and you will no longer need to water your lawn. Getting the sprinkler system drained and cleared of any water will avoid any pipes from cracking after a freeze. You can also try to do this yourself. Here is a helpful link about doing it on your own.
- Schedule a lawn aeration. Don’t ask me about the details on aerating a lawn. All I know is that it helps the lawn’s quality and appearance come summer time. It also makes your lawn temporarily looking like some soccer players, wearing their cleats, played several games on your lawn. Husbands may like doing this chore themselves.
- Hire someone to take care of clearing your gutters of those fall leaves (or look into getting something like Gutter Helmet installed so you don’t have to do it again), trimming limbs off of trees, and checking the roof for any damage before the snow and ice show up.
- Schedule a winter “hibernation” service on your lawn mower. Make sure you are completely done with mowing for the season before you do. This is also a good time to inspect your leaf and snow blowers. Also check to see if your snow shovel needs replacing, as now would be the time to buy one. If you wait until snow comes along, chances are every store will be out of them. (Been there, done that – twice!)
- You don’t want to be without these on chilly winter nights, nor do you want them to cause any unnecessary fires and/or smoke damage – get your furnace and fireplace ready and in their best working condition. It’s best to get your furnace, chimney and flues cleaned, inspected and serviced by a professional, but there are plenty of websites that will walk you through the chimney cleaning if you want to do it yourself. If you want to do your furnace yourself, check it for leaks and replace dirty filters.
- With the allergies that have been going on around here lately (it’s harvest season in my neck of the woods), I highly recommend getting your air ducts cleaned. You can check out this article to determine if this service is something you would even consider, as it can be very pricey.
- Get your vacuum serviced. Yep, your vacuum. It, too, needs special care – filters changed (if you have one with a filter), belts replaced, roller brushes cleaned, etc. This will help lengthen the life of your beloved cleaning buddy. One thing I have loved about my Oreck vacuum is that it comes with a free yearly maintenance. This alone makes their vacuums worth their weight in gold. I’m an Oreck girl for life! In fact, I love my vacuum so much that I will be hosting a giveaway tomorrow for the new Oreck Edge upright vacuum and handheld canister unit!
Stay tuned for more Fall Cleaning posts this week and next.