I can still hear it now.
That loud, heavy, high-pitched purring from our old Hoover vacuum, as it rolls across the carpets of our 3-storey townhouse. Back and forth, back and forth – making neat V-shaped lines in the light tan fibers of our living room floor.
Back then, there was no such thing as bag-less, HEPA filtered, quiet-as-a-cloud machines with 32 different tools and accessories for your cleaning job. No, you had a vacuum, that was it.
You were lucky if it didn’t weigh as much as a ton of bricks, so you could relegate the Spring cleaning task of vacuuming all the rooms to your 8-year-old daughter, while you took care of other jobs around the house.
That was me – the 8-year-old daughter. 🙂 And Spring cleaning was one of my favorite times of the year. That feeling of cleaning out the old, making room for the new. Clearing the air, washing the floors, and dusting the long-forgotten nooks and crannies that haven’t been seen, let alone touched, in months.
And when it was all said and done?
It felt like we had a new house again. A place to start new. To start fresh. To finally put our feet up after a long week of deep cleaning three floors of living space and say, “hello, Spring! Welcome!“
But we’re not talking about Spring cleaning today.
(Unless you’re one of my down under friends, in which case – Happy Spring to you!)
Right now, the Fall weather has been tickling our senses – teasing us with vibrant reds, yellows, and oranges, saturating skylines and grassy fields alike. The crisp, cool breezes blow through the air, shocking our senses and reminding us that Summer is, in fact, truly gone.
But that’s ok, because…Sweater weather! And furry boots! And pumpkin-flavored everything!
And as I sit here sipping on my warm, steamy cup of coffee, snuggled up on the couch, typing away at my keyboard, I can’t help but wonder…
Why is “Fall cleaning” not a thing??
Think about it – we deep clean our homes to welcome the newness and freshness of Spring, but we don’t really think about preparing our homes for the Fall and Winter months. Isn’t that just as important, if not moreso? I think so!
So let’s get (Fall) cleaning!
Before we get started, you need to gather some supplies. Don’t worry, it’s not a mile-long list of special tools and concoctions you need to special order from halfway around the world. You probably already have everything you need right in your kitchen. And if not, they’re just a click away, or a short trip to the store.
We’ve come a long way since the days of that old Hoover vacuum. Back then we used all kinds of chemical cocktails masquerading around as conventional household cleaners. Thankfully, you can clean your home without feeling like you need to wear a special mask and goggles to do it!
I use my homemade All-Purpose Cleaner to clean just about every surface in my home. Literally from the top to the bottom, and everything in between. This stuff rocks. (The only surface you want to steer clear of is granite and other stones – for those, you want to use this granite cleaner.)
If you need a little scrubbing action, just whip up a quick batch of this non-toxic scouring scrub – a la Comet or Bar Keeper’s Friend. Except this one has just two ingredients, and neither of them are hazardous to your health. 😉
And once you’ve cleaned and scrubbed your pretty little heart out, you can give a quick spritz of this homemade “disinfectant” spray to the surfaces that really need it. Growing up, I shared a bathroom with two younger brothers – believe me, those surfaces need it.
Is it possible to fall in love with a mop? Spoiler alert: Yes, yes it is. If you haven’t discovered the magic of spray mops, oh man you’re in for a treat. Because no one wants to lug around a messy, heavy bucket filled with 5 gallons of water, splishing and splashing all over the place.
That’s why they invented the spray mop – for people like us. People who don’t have the time or the energy to be dealing with something as ridiculous as a 5-gallon bucket of water! I mean, seriously!
But I digress…
Spray mops. They’re awesome. Get one. You’ll thank me later. Oh, and make sure you get some extra pads to go with it, because you’ll need them!
And finally, you need to use something to actually wipe those other surfaces you’re trying to clean, don’t you? But you don’t want to go through 8 rolls of paper towels just to deep clean the house. And those old rags? Well, they just don’t hold up as well as they could, and they can get really dirty really fast.
Enter: microfiber cloths. The absolute best thing that has happened to my cleaning routine since…well, since I started making homemade cleaners. 🙂 These small, but mighty cloths are so awesome, I wrote a whole post about them here!
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Alright, now we’re ready to start.
Plan to tackle these Fall cleaning tasks over a weekend, or spread it out over two weekends if you need to. Take your time, and don’t stress it. And focus on the most important tasks (for you) first.
1. Clean up before you close up
Before closing up your home for the cold winter months, you want to clear out all the dust, dirt, pollen, and muck that’s been accumulating throughout the summer. The last thing you want to do is get stuck inside with all of that for the next few months – especially if you have allergies!
- Check and clean your air filters
- Wipe down the blinds, wash the curtains, and clean the ceiling fans, floors, and carpets (use this carpet freshener to eliminated odors!)
- Wash the walls, windows, doors, baseboards, etc.
- Get behind and under all the furniture like couches, beds, bookshelves, etc.
2. Declutter and tidy up
I don’t know about you, but regularly purging our home of unwanted and unused items just makes us feel better! Sell what you can on Craigslist or have a garage sale, donate to a shelter or thrift store, and don’t be afraid to send some stuff straight to the dumpster if you need to.
Whatever you choose, getting this done at least twice a year just makes the job that much easier.
And if you want to take decluttering to the next level, check out this revolutionary book which promises that if you properly simplify and organize your home once, you’ll never have to do it again. Seriously, go check it out; it’s awesome!
3. Get rid of unwanted guests
Our homes tend to get invaded during the summer and become safe havens for critters like bugs, spiders, flies, etc. Fall cleaning is the perfect time to get into all the crevices around your home and get rid of those guys before hunkering down for the winter.
- Vacuum and wipe down all the corners and creases at the ground and ceiling level
- Wash the window sills
- Don’t forget the closets!
4. Prepare the outside
All those pool days, cookouts, and garden work really take a toll on our homes, so now is the perfect time to clean up, touch up, and get things stored away for the winter.
- Wash the windows, and check the gutters for any debris
- Clean and put away outdoor furniture, kid’s toys, bbq grill; drain and store your garden hose, wash the trash cans, etc.
- Clean and inspect the exterior doorways. Get rid of any critters, spiderwebs, etc. Check the caulking and weather stripping, and replace if necessary
5. Cozy up the inside
Pull out the blankets and sweaters, diffuse some Fall-inspired essential oils, and get your home nice and ready for warm, cozy nights by the fire.
- Wash the bedding and pillows
- Flip the mattresses
- Clean the upholstery
That wasn’t so bad, was it?
Fall cleaning can be just as important as Spring cleaning. Get your non-toxic home ready for the colder months – and the best part? You don’t have to deal with that noisy Hoover vacuum to get the job done. 😉
Image: Brooke Raymond, under Creative Commons
good article! i usually do a garage sale if i want to dispatch my old things and i make some money out of my old things.
Thanks for the great ideas! I will definitely look at adding some of these ideas to my fall cleaning plan. Only last week I started adding white vinegar to the wash to counter the smell of mildew in my towels. They really don’t dry very quickly at this time of year.
Oh yes, vinegar in the rinse cycle is a must for us!
I agree with you and the commenters below about the benefits of seasonal cleaning. During the summer, I am always surprised at the amount of gunk in my rugs, despite removing our shoes inside. Inbetween pollination periods, we beat the big ones and soak them with a hose. The small runners can fit in our our washing machine.
Possibly relevant: We are in India again this winter. None of the homes or hotels we visit have large rugs in the entryway/parlor. All (homes) have a doorside spot to remove shoes. Alaska is big on removing shoes at the door, too.
Below is big compliment to you:
I am not a big “joiner” person, so I wanted to let you know that yours is one of three blogs I subscribe to. Your writing is perky and uplifting, which is delightful, but even more important is that you are (a) succinct, (b) practical and (c) explanatory. (You are a professional and focused writer vs. so many bloggers who natter on about their day and finally, maybe get to some long winded point.)
I also support your decision to focus your attention on clean homes. Permaculturists have food production covered. They don’t touch clean. Thank you for doing so! –Laura
Laura, you just made my week! Thank you so much for those kind words. 🙂
And yes, we take off our shoes in the house as well. I think a lot of places around the world are big on leaving shoes at the door; it’s really only the US and Canada where I’ve seen it’s normal for people to wear shoes in the house. Too many nasties and bacteria to trek into the house!
Enjoy your time in India!
I agree! cleaning during fall and winter is just as important of spring cleaning.. I always do this especially getting rid of unwanted guest
Emma Maids Atlanta
We totally agree with you. When a thorough cleaning during the fall is done, we know that our home is protected from unwanted appearance of insects during the winter. Besides, all garden appliances are ready to use during the next summer season. I hope more people will start doing fall cleaning.
Paul's Cleaning Sydney
I do a one-off seasonal cleanup of my house once every four months. The deep cleaning really helps me reduce the accumulation of dust and germs to a bearable degree that can be handled in a quick, 15-minute cleanup once every few days. By the way, I tried your Floor / All Purpose Cleaner 2.0 and I fell head over heels in love with it. It works great for regular cleaning as well as more thorough spring cleaning. I did add up a couple of orange peels to the vinegar and it gave it a really fresh scent.
Ariella @ Paul’s Cleaning Sydney
Yes, the orange peels really makes it wonderful! Thanks for sharing your tips, Ariella!
Lovely ideas! I’m starting the fall cleaning session at home and was in search of some fresh ideas. Your post was quite useful and helped me to change a bit my routine. Thank you for sharing your ideas!
You’re welcome, Kylie. And good luck!
Shannon @ GrowingSlower
I think this explains why I’ve been getting the itch to clean and deluctter this fall! However, with all the new routines starting in the Fall I find I have a lot less time to get it done than I would like. 🙂
Ahh time – the great decider LOL. I’m trying to carve out a little time each week to tackle different tasks on my Fall cleaning list. 🙂
Thank you for your nice article, Sarah! I absolutely agree with you! Fall cleaning is just so important as spring cleaning. I even make summer cleaning just before my vacation because that is the only time when I am free. My point is that every time is a good time for cleaning, it just depends on you! Greets!
Ooh, Summer cleaning before vacation sounds great! Thanks for sharing, Judy! 🙂
I am so happy that its not just me that fall cleans i make sure my home is clean and decluttered before more and more windows get closed during the day even though my bedroom widow is open all year round and curtains get closed earlier in the day, I love nothing more than knowing my home is cosy yet thoroughly clean
That’s interesting that you leave your bedroom window open year round! I wish I could do that 🙂 Happy Fall cleaning!