Fall Back Plan

Shake Off Summer Slacker Syndrome And Simplify Spring Cleaning

Summer cleaning — if I’m being honest — is just a step above non-existent at my house. The longer, sunny days seem to effortlessly melt away at the beach or poolside with the kids, hiking, picnicking, attending parties and — all too often — sneaking off for an evening ice cream cone. School is out after all, and if the kids aren’t off at camp or with one of their grandmas you can bet this mom is making the most of it while keeping the kids busy – and in line!  

Needless to say, by the time school rolls around and I stop to take a breath, all too suddenly I notice the dust, fingerprinted windows and walls, upholstery stains and a healthy pile of “summer projects” littering the vicinity. Yikes — the house is in need of a deep cleaning and spring is still two seasons away!

Saving deep cleaning your home for spring, as so many of us traditionally do, may not be all that practical. And even if you do keep up with the housework over the summer, the thought of one annual super cleaning can be overwhelming. Consider instead taking a biannual approach to tackling tedious tasks by adding a fall deep cleaning to your yearly repertoire. 

Here are some ideas to help you split the difference with an additional deep cleaning this fall while prepping your home for the cooler days ahead. 

Deep-Clean And Declutter The Kids’ Rooms

You can approach this task one of two ways. Either take advantage of the kids being busy back at school or involve them in the project. Of course, if you have little  hoarders — oops, I mean “collectors,” you may opt to send them off to school so you can purge and clear at will. But if you’d rather make it a family affair, try assigning jobs that can be made fun with a game or letting them use some of your “super cool cleaning tools.” 

Clean Your Kit

Before you get down to the business of cleaning, take a look at what you’re working with. It may have been a while since you replaced your old scrub brushes, sponges and dusters. Make sure you’re well armed with your favorite cleaning solutions, wipes, sprays and the like. Having everything you need on hand will help make the job as painless as possible! 

Back To Basics

I’m talking “to the windoowws, to the walls!” Yeah, blast some Lil’ Jon if you need motivating and whip out your extendable duster. 

  • Hit the ceiling first sweeping for cobwebs, dusting ceiling fans and work your way down.
  • Wash windows, window sills, walls, and don’t forget the baseboards. You’ll want to get rid of summer dust build-up.
  • Spot clean upholstery as needed and of course give your rugs a good vacuuming. 
  • Check your kitchen cupboards for expiration dates and wipe them down inside and out, same with the fridge! Wipe down all other surfaces making sure to get behind appliances and give them a good polishing as well.

Closet Clean Out

Check out our blog “Creative Closeting” for tips and tricks to help you organize and save space, but be sure to go through your summer clothes before turning over your wardrobe. While you’re swapping swimsuits for sweaters, you can also bring out your heavier winter linens to cozy up your bedroom and swap light drapes or curtains for heavier ones.

Safety Sweep

  • Do your diligence by checking smoke and carbon monoxide detectors  and definitely install them if you haven’t already! 
  • Replace the furnace filter if it hasn’t been done within three months and sweep your chimneys or have them professionally done.
  • This is also the time to check caulking, sealants and exteriors of your home and start to shut down the outdoor faucets and tie up your garden hoses. 
  • Replace summer screens with storm windows. Label each screen before putting them away so the summer swap out will be a snap. 

Gussy Up The Great Outdoors

Gardening, pool parties, sprinkler and yard play may have left your outdoor space in need of some sprucing up. Take advantage of the cooler crisp fall air and designate an outdoor clean-up day. 

  • Clean beach toys and outdoor sports gear before storing them for the winter.
  •  Put away your gardening tools and supplies neatly for easy access next season.
  • Be sure to store your outdoor furniture in the garage or shed to protect it during the cold season and take the time to check outdoor lighting as the days grow shorter. 
  • Don’t forget your feathered friends: wash and refill bird feeders!  As fall soon makes way for winter, the birds will appreciate some sustenance. 

Mow And Make Mulch

Skip the grass bagger when you mow the lawn and try mulching instead to save time and give your lawn a nutrient boost. Because grass clippings are 80 percent water they break down quickly and will help revitalize your grass.

Don’t Huff And Puff — Grab A Leaf Blower

Leaf blowers are great not only for the obvious, but also for clearing out your gutters. Bob Vila suggests taking a leaf blower to them using an attachment that will make this chore much easier and quicker than doing it by hand. Of course be sure to clean the gutter before raking the leaves in the yard so your don’t have to do it twice!

 Leaf Peeping

If you partake in the fall tradition of raking leaves you’ll find it easier to rake them into rows rather than a large pile. This method allows you to bag up much more manageable portions than one giant pile. You could also utilize a large tarp that can be dragged off to your composting area, the neighbor’s yard (kidding) or wherever you plan to dispose of them properly. Your can also use a tarp when you’re cleaning up your landscape beds to haul away debris.

Savor Your Summer Snapshots

Summer may be over, but the memories remain. Take a day to print, organize and arrange your summer photos in frames and albums that you’ll appreciate for years to come. By clearing some space on your smartphone you’ll be ready to capture all the fall fun with your family from apple picking and leaf peeping to pumpkin carving and trick-or-treats!