Fall is the ideal time to clean up a summer’s worth of detritus–that’s right, once again, it’s time for end of season cleaning. True, cleaning can be super stressful, but if you make a plan and stick to it, your home and property will be in tip-top shape, ready to weather the winter and give you a head start for next year’s warmer weather. Whatever you do, don’t try to tackle everything in one weekend, or you’ll be left exhausted and discouraged; space out your projects to give yourself ample time to finish, with a little rest in between. Check out this list of cleaning tips that’ll take the guesswork out of this tedious chore.
1. Clear the Big Clutter
If you have any large pieces of furniture lying around, now is the time to get rid of them. Patio sets that have seen better days, oversized artwork or decorations, and even old mattresses are perfect candidates for this first step. The best way to tackle this task is to rent yard waste dumpster; it’s small enough to fit in your driveway but large enough to handle furniture–and anything else you may want to dispose of. Clearing out these unneeded items will give you the space to clean more effectively and, of course, make room for some spiffy new furniture.
Pro tip: when discarding furniture, it’s a good idea to break it up into pieces using a large hammer or mallet. This way, you can lay some pieces flat and pile them in semi-neatly, allowing you to fit much more in than you would otherwise.
2. Work Room by Room
Now that you have the big clutter out of the way, you can move through the rest of the house with greater ease. Plan on cleaning a room or section of your house at a time so you don’t get overwhelmed. You may want to start by cleaning out your closets and donating or tossing what you can along the way. After all, a clean closet is a fresh start and an awesome motivator to keep going.
The bathroom is another prime spot to hit; clear out old toiletries, cleaning products, ratty towels, and old prescription medications. Remember, though, never chuck old medications down the drain or in the trash; bring them to your pharmacy, where they will dispose of them safely.
Also, consider oft-ignored areas of the home. Hidden places in your home can collect allergens and contribute to your discomfort. Dust above and below appliances, wash your curtains and tablecloths and give your baseboards some extra attention. Vacuum your mattress, wash your pillows, and clean any areas that your pets may frequent.
3. Don’t Forget the Outside
Now that the inside of your home is sparkling, give the outside some love too. Plan and spread your jobs over several weekends so you don’t get overwhelmed, just like you did for the inside. If the weather is not your friend and is impeding your work, switch it up and work on an indoor project instead.
To prepare for fall and winter, your gutters will probably be needing some attention; clean them of any debris and make sure the water is channeling through them smoothly. You’ll be thankful you didn’t skip this step when the rainy season hits.
If you have any dead or dying trees or branches that need attention, call in a tree company to have them remove any hazards and double-check that your other trees are healthy. Also, clean out any flower beds to prepare for winter and around any trees so they can be mulched.
True end of season cleaning can appear to be daunting, but it doesn’t have to be. If you plan your approach and work on projects a little at a time, you’ll be much more likely to follow through. It takes work and isn’t always fun, but after it’s done, you’ll be left with a beautiful property, a clean house, and a sense of pride and accomplishment.