Well if you read this blog or follow me on Snap/IG then you know I make my moolah making other’s homes clean and pretty! I get asked plenty of questions about cleaning various areas and finishes and even more questions about organization and storage. Today I thought I would just put some of my tips and tricks in a blog post for those who are interested.
There are really three times a year that are just perfect for doing large-scale clean outs. The first one is January. Since we turn the calendar to another year most people are energized to declutter, organize, and donate. With the holidays having just ended a lot of people (me included) have a huge desire to purge! Purge away sisters and brothers. This is also a great time to do a good disinfecting and deeper cleaning of your home as you take down any holiday decorations.
The next great time to clean out is when the weather begins warming up (April/May). We know what this is called because this is how so many cleaning product companies make lots of money – SPRING CLEANING! You can start doing more organic things like “sunning” pillows, blankets, etc. Spring is a fabulous time to go through your garage and trash, donate, or sell anything that isn’t necessary to you any more.
Then comes September – particularly late September and early October. Fall clean outs are necessary and that is why I’m writing this post. To make this easier to write and read the remainder of this post will be in bullet points.
- Fall is the time to do your exterior cleanings of your home. This is when you can pressure wash vinyl and brick; clean those windows; and get porches and deck freshened up. The temperatures are dropping and that makes cleaning easier on you.
- Take this time to evaluate your outdoor furniture. If it is time to replace then go ahead and donate the old or find a recycling center for it. Also, patio furniture is on clearance this time of year so if you have storage now is the time to get new.
- Look at upholstery! Your outdoor cushions and pillows do not need to be forgotten. If you did not Scotch Guard over the summer then (shame on you) evaluate the fabric and wash (yes, in a washing machine, gentle cycle). If they are stained with mildew make the decision on what you need to do.
- Buy a good broom. This is the time of year of falling – falling leaves, seed pods, etc. Invest in a good broom for walkways, porches, and decks.
- Replace your air filters in your home. The summer clogged it up with dust, hair, and whatever else you can imagine now is the time to clean that air.
- Clean your fan blades on ceiling fans. You will be super surprised at how much dust you do not see on them from the tops of the blades!
- Bugs love fall – the weather is not freezing them out so they can come out in droves to finish up any work they think they have to do. Get your exterminator out to help eliminate lovely fall bugs like stink bugs, spiders, and other creepy crawlies that are busy prepping their own spaces for winter.
- Do not forget corners of rooms – bugs congregate in corners (the tighter the better). Knock down the webs, vacuum up the corner mongers, and make sure you move the furniture and get the areas that the vacuum generally misses. Chances are you have dust, crumbs, perhaps toys, and change under the couch. Get these things vacuumed and picked up now so that bugs don’t have extra “restaurants” to visit so they can stick around longer.
Do the drapes
- I suggest you take care of your curtains two times a year. Take the curtains down and put them in the dryer for 10-15 minutes (no heat) to get the dust off and out.
- Wipe down furniture (leather) and use the upholstery tool (it came with your vacuum) to handle furniture that is not leather. Remember to take off cushions and vacuum up those areas too.
- Dust those hanging frames! The tops can get super yucky. If you have time then clean the glass too – dust build up on glass is just gross.
- Got bookshelves? Then go through the items on them. Is there anything you are ready to let go of? Now is the time!
- Lampshades are often forgotten – dust them!
See the light
- Windows, windows, windows! Dust your blinds with a microfiber cloth or Swiffer style duster. I want to stress that if you haven’t done this before and your blinds are a year old then you may have a very big mess on your hands. One thing we all hate is cleaning blinds – try to get them super clean now and maintain them once a month.
- Clean the interior and exterior glass of your windows. Most (if not all) windows today can be opened up from the inside to clean the outside (this is called double hung.) Use a good glass cleaner too, I prefer Glass Cleaner (yes, that’s the name.)
- Take the time to clean your light fixtures in the fall. Unscrew them, wipe them down, and put them back.
- Disinfect light switch plates. And do this regularly since we are in germ season.
Eat off the floors!
- There are no secret things to do to your floors. Maintain them the way you always do vacuuming, mopping, no shoes in the house, etc. I do like to do a good hand and knee style washing on my floors (clients and my own) every three months. A great time to do it is when you know you will be hosting an event – so look at your calendar with the holiday season starting on October 31st you will know when you need to scrub those floors!
- Carpet – do people still do that? Ha! I recommend Stanley Steamer or another professional carpet cleaning service. They generally offer great add ons as well and can clean your furniture for you as well. If you’re down to wash your own carpets then rent a machine from your local home supply store.
- Wash the baseboards in the fall. This will eliminate dust, dirt, and bugs in the fall.
Fish won’t fry in the kitchen
- Don’t fry fish in your kitchen. In North Carolina many folks head to the coast to go fishing and bring back pounds and pounds of what I call “good eating!” However, do not cook the fish in the kitchen. I have entered homes where they have fried fish inside and I want to curl up in a ball and cry.
- Clean those cabinets! Inside and outside. Evaluate your cooking tools, pots, pans, dinner ware, beverage ware, etc now. I say this because if you’re still eating off that 1988 Anchor dish set that is chipped and thinning from thirty years of use then feel better about replacing it as these items will be on sale for Thanksgiving beginning in October!
- Appliances need cleaning too. Make sure you disinfect the handles and buttons on your kitchen appliances. Clean out the fridge and freezer – summer brought ice cream and sometimes it can make a huge mess (even frozen…half the time!)
- Fall and baking are besties so how about you go ahead and clean that oven.
- Evaluate your cupboards check dates on boxed goods, canned goods, spices and seasonings. If you have stuff you will never use that is still in date donate it.
Aren’t you pretty!
- Go through your closets. Now is the time to part with summer pieces you never wore and fall pieces that do not fit or are just not you anymore.
- Clean under your bed. (Let your mama’s voice haunt you now.) Even grown ups have stuff under their beds….I know this.
- Take time to go through your drawers. If the drawers are so full they will not close we need to go through them. May I suggest you turn on Netflix as you do this?
- Wash your bedding – vacuum the mattress or turn it if it is that type; wash your mattress cover, sheets, blankets, and comforters/quilts.
Excuse me while I go to the powder room
- You know how to clean your bathroom let’s do a few extras now. Your shower curtain needs to be washed or replaced. If you have a liner and it is pink or black or green then please throw it away immediately.
- Go through your vanity cabinets and toss anything out of date or anything that you will not be using. If you bought it six months ago and have not used it then you will not use it.
- Pet peeve – in your shower if you have more than three bottles of product and they have less than a tablespoon of product in them either use up the product today or empty the bottles and recycle them.
- Go through your cosmetics and get rid of old and broken ones.
- Take time to go through your linens. Are there towels that need to finish disintegrating elsewhere?
Kids rooms, junk rooms, that closet door that you better not open…
- The holidays are coming up and you need extra loot. Go through those kiddos closets – they grow fast – clothes that are too small donate or have a yard sale. The same goes for toys, books, electronics, etc.
- If you have a junk room then you have a yard sale. Those items that you buy just to toss in a room are items you probably did not really need. Get those spaces cleaned out.
- I have several clients who have closets that are never touched except to throw something into and then use military tactics to close the door to the closet back up. This is another area of donation materials or even garage sale materials. Remember there is absolutely no point in keeping things you never use.
Basements, attics, and garages
- Pick a weekend and make these are priority. Going through and eliminating items, throwing away things that are on their last leg, and actually being in the space can help evaluate any problematic areas in these spaces.
- Does your house have a funny odor now that the temperatures are dropping a bit? Clean out these areas and check for structural issues. More than likely there could be a water leak, HVAC issue, or (and I hate to say it) critters! Squirrels, raccoons, mice, snakes, birds – all can leave some bad smells as they bed.
A few more tips:
- Cut the sentimentality and realize that not everything needs to be kept.
- The holidays are approaching – take time to weed through the toys (without the kids around.)
- A good cleaning requires little product. And that is what I will share with you tomorrow!