Fall Cleaning

It never ceases to amaze me at how time passes by so quickly!  I was sure it was just yesterday that I put out a few pumpkins, setting up vignettes for the autumn holidays (that I didn’t have time to post about) and today I was throwing them out; already rotten.

fall decor

I took this as a sign that it is time to clean out the fall decor and prep my house for the Thanksgiving and Christmas holidays.  This year we will be here in South Carolina for Thanksgiving and doing a little a lot of entertaining as well, so I want my normally fairly clean house to really sparkle and shine!  With a traveling husband, teenagers and a puppy sharing this space I spend a lot of time doing daily cleaning tasks (and delegating some as well) such as vacuuming, washing dishes, keeping the laundry going, and just making sure when I come in from work at night that I’m not bogged down in chores.

While that is all good and well, my house still manages to collect the clutter as well as the dirt I seem to be the only one to notice.  As I break down the decor from one season preparing for the next it’s a wonderful time to do a little deep cleaning so that I feel my house is truly company ready.  I do this deep clean seasonally (and sometimes when I have a little extra time in-between).  I cannot stand a dirty/messy house.  By cleaning daily and deep cleaning multiple times a year I can be company ready in a very short notice.  Besides, life is so much calmer (and the house smells better) when you can contain the clutter and mess in all aspects!

Before I get started I like to set the mood.  I do this by putting on some great music (‘Tis the season  and Fa-La-La, Y’all!), lighting a few fragrant pumpkin spice ( or other favorite scent of the moment) candles.  Nothing like creating a happy and homey atmosphere to get you in the zone for doing household chores.

Now let’s dive in and get something accomplished!

Fall Cleaning

1. Clear the clutter.  It’s time to go through that stack of mail that occupies space on your desk, coffee table, kitchen counter, or even your dinner table.   It’s also time to clean out those magazines that you have not had time to read or have been hanging onto because you are sure there was something that you wanted to save.  I can assure you that if you have not read the magazines in the three four nine months since you received them it’s safe to say you won’t ever.  Take them to a library, senior citizens center, or if appropriate, donate to a middle or high school.  I feel like such a hoarder when I start this task as I have such a mess to work through.  It’s so easy to come in from work and toss the mail on the table to “Look at later”.   Keep what you need and throw away the rest.  Seriously, don’t hang on to stuff that will just collect dust.

2.  Speaking of dust, it’s time to hit those corners, baseboards, heat/air return vents, and ceiling fan blades that we often miss when doing our everyday run through of the house.  I take advantage of the wand & brush attachment on my vacuum clean and hit those hidden spot sucking the dust right up.  That brush attachment is also great for running along baseboards.  If you still feel they need cleaning, grab a Mr. Clean sponge and give them a quick wipe-down.  When the seasons change is also a perfect time for cleaning fan blades.  We keep ours spinning year around so I don’t always recognize that they are dusty.

vacuuming fans

When you go to reverse them for winter (or turning them back in the spring) works perfectly for cleaning because you might find yourself showered with dust confetti when you turn it back on.

Not that has happened to me or anything.

3.  Wash your windows, inside and out.  Yes, it’s a job we all hate, especially if the temperatures have already dropped, but I love the glow of twinkling lights through clean glass.  And I can assure you that when you sit down to supper for a family meal and look at your French doors, you will be glad you have washed off little (or big) hand prints, puppy nose impressions and kitty cat paws.

Cleaning windows

I like to use Fish Foam when my windows are in need of deep cleaning and I use Honest Window Cleaner (no harsh chemicals) for everyday maintenance.

4.  Deep clean your carpets.  Vacuuming a couple of times a week to clean up after the hubby, kids or pets is grand and all, but believe me, your carpets are not clean!  Transitioning into the holiday season is the perfect time to really clean your carpets as you want your home to look (and smell) perfect once guests arrive for whatever you are hosting.  There are several ways to do this:  hire someone to come in and shampoo (an expensive but easy solution), rent a carpet cleaner from Lowes, Home Depot or your local grocery store (easy but sometimes difficult to find available when it’s convenient of you), spot clean with Resolve (not really effective & extremely tiresome), or invest in your own carpet cleaner.  Having raised four kids, owning cats and dogs and formerly living on a farm, owning our own carpet cleaner is the absolute best investment I have ever made!  The cost of renting three times in a year paid for it, and I have the machine at my convenience for large or small area cleaning.  I usually choose two or three nights (in a row) and hit a couple of spaces before I go to bed and they are nearly dry when we get up int he morning for school and work.  So very easy and convenient.

shampooing carpets

This is an older model of a Hoover Steamvac Agility. We’ve used it for about eight years now and you just can’t beat it!

5.  Take care of the little things.  Change those central heat/air filters, vacuum and flip your mattresses,  check your smile detectors, changing batteries if necessary, and clean out the pantry and refrigerator of expired or open items you have forgotten about.  It’s also the perfect time to wash out the inside of your refrigerator so that it’s clean and ready for all of the food you will fill it with during the holidays.  You don’t want your strawberries to smell of last weeks chicken and taste like lettuce that is slowly rotting in the crisper drawer.  Add fresh boxes of baking soda to your freezer and refrigerator (Arm & Hammer makes a couple of options just for the refrigerator) to help soak up any unwanted orders as well.  Now is also a good time to check your lightbulbs around the house.  Make sure your outside lights work for family and friends coming at night as well as the little chandelier lights in the dining room.  These blow easily if you haven’t switched to LED lights (I LOVE Cree bulbs; you can purchase them at Home Depot), so keep a few extra on hand for last-minute swaps.

Keeping up with the little things seasonally helps prevent a “to-do” list you are struggling to finish the week before company arrives.  Letting the small tedious chores pile up honestly adds so much stress to your life,  Taking care of the little things now leaves nothing but maintenance and general clean-up for you to delegate to the family throughout the season. Take advantage of a weekend now to wipe out the list now and start the holiday season off with a load off of your shoulders.

I tried to include links to many of the products I use throughout the post to make finding some of these great products a bit easier.  Let me know if you have any questions!

Have a fabulous week!

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