Crisp mornings and falling leaves make autumn one of the most beautiful times of the year. It’s impossible not to fall in love with warm sweaters and pumpkin cookies. As fall sets in, you are probably thinking about getting ready for the holidays and colder weather. Much like a bear, I feel myself wanting to gather my own little “cave” and gear up for winter. Although we often think to deep clean our house in the spring, fall is an important time to give our home a little love. Here is my fall cleaning checklist. I love having one place where I can find a reminder for the things that I need to do every fall to get ready for winter.
Fall Maintenance checklist: indoors
- Vacuum and shampoo upholstered and carpeted surfaces. With cooler weather means more time indoors. Prepare for all the extra time inside by cleaning your carpets and any other upholstered areas.
- Clean out your pantry. The holidays are coming. Remove everything from your pantry, wipe out the crumbs, and only put back what you are going to use within the next few months. You could even spend a week or two eating out of your pantry to clear things out and save money. We did just that during our Super Savings Month.
- Wash windows and window coverings. Winter is dark enough on its own without dirty windows clouding up the sunlight. Wash your windows. Dry clean or wash your curtains. Wipe down blinds.
- Wipe kitchen cupboards. We have white kitchen cupboards and they show everything. I like to joke with my husband that I clean our kitchen cabinets more often than I clean the bathroom. Our kids leave handprints, crayon marks, and more. It doesn’t matter if you have kids or not, your kitchen cabinets are collecting dirt and grease and grime every day. Take some time to wipe them down.
- Clean walls, doors, and doorknobs. Like your kitchen cabinets, your walls and doors gather grime over time. Not to mention that doorknobs are a common area for cold and flu germs to hang out. Give everything a good scrub.
- Dust light fixtures. When was the last time you dusted your light fixtures? While you are there go ahead and change out any light bulbs that have burnt out.
- Evaluate your closets. Change over seasonal clothing. This is a good time to pull out your favorite sweaters, winter coats, and boots. If you have kids, check that their clothes are the right size. Get rid of clothes that have holes or are too small.
- Clean out toys. Heading into the holiday season means there will be more toys strewn about your home. Get ahead of the holiday influx of gifts and clean out your kid’s toys. Involve them in the process by letting them have a say in what goes. Find out what I learned about donating my kid’s toys here.
- Clean refrigerator coils. Use a soft vacuum attachment to clean dust and grime away from the back of your refrigerator.
- Clean your oven. It’s easy to ignore your oven until it becomes overwhelmingly dirty. Get it in tip-top shape before you embark on any marathon cookie-baking sessions.
- Clean keyboards and remotes. Like your doorknobs, your computer keyboards and TV remotes are hiding all sorts of germs. Wipe them down to curb those winter-season germs.
- Dust your plants. Dusty plants, real or plastic, don’t look great. Gently wipe them down and give your greenery a bit of love.
- Clean your washer and dryer. Wipe down the doors. Double-check drain areas on your washer for clogs. Replace the dryer light bulb. Clean out your dryer vent.
- Wash baseboards. Dust collects and it’s not pretty. Give them a quick wipe to get rid of dust, hair, and grime.
- Dust ceiling fans. Turn the blades so the air goes upwards while you are on the ladder.
- Flip your mattress. If you have a pillowtop mattress, turn it 180 degrees. Vacuum your mattress. Pull out cold-weather linens.
- Wash and disinfect garbage cans.
Fall Maintenance Checklist: outdoors
- Clean gutters and downspouts.
- Rake leaves.
- Drain and store garden hoses. If you leave water in them, they can freeze, crack, and become broken over the winter.
- Get your garden ready for next spring. Remove spent plants from the summer. Save seeds for next year. Deadhead perennials. Replace mulch as needed.
- Clean and store patio furniture. Depending on where you live, you will want to store or cover your patio furniture to protect it from the elements. Right now is a great time to clean it up before putting it away.
- Check weather stripping. Caulk or replace as necessary
- Seal granite or countertops. How often you seal your countertops depends on what type of countertops you own. Granite should be sealed every six months or so.
- Change your furnace filter. A new furnace filter will help your furnace run more efficiently. It’ll also help keep allergens out of the air in your home. If it’s been several years, schedule vent cleaning for the same reasons.
- Replace batteries in your smoke detectors. While you are at it, wipe them down to remove any dust that can interfere with how well they work.
- Have your fireplace inspected and/or your chimney cleaned. You don’t want to start a house fire because you didn’t think to check your fireplace before using it.
Getting your family involved
The biggest hurdle I face when it comes to deep cleaning my house? I don’t have enough time. I’d venture to say that none of us do. When you are in the thick of raising littles, cleaning your house is like trying to brush your teeth in-between eating Oreos. You spend most of your days chasing kids and simply trying to keep up with the mess. When your kids finally get old enough to help, you end up chauffeuring everyone to activities and trying to squeeze dinner in between homework and school. There’s just never enough time. No matter the age of your kids, deep cleaning by yourself can feel overwhelming. Getting your family involved in your fall cleaning will lighten your load and encourage family togetherness.
- Keep things age-appropriate. Your three-year-old can help wipe down baseboards, but probably not get on a ladder to clean out the gutters.
- Break it down into bite-sized pieces. Don’t expect to tackle your entire fall cleaning checklist in one Saturday. Instead, break down the tasks into several days or small 30-minute sessions.
- Don’t expect perfection. Sure, it would be great if your teenager would get all the dust off from the blinds. But, even some semblance of clean will help you out in the long run.
- Celebrate wins. This fall cleaning checklist is not short. In fact, if you get through all of it with (or without) your family, you are a rockstar. If you don’t get through all of it. Celebrate anyway. Maybe you only got to cleaning out the dryer vent. Bam! You are awesome! Do a dance and take a well-deserved nap. Your list will still be there in the spring (or whenever you get to it).
Need spring cleaning help? Here’s how I get it done: Why spring cleaning is important: spring cleaning tips.
I love autumn. When I carve some time out of my busy schedule to deep clean and maintain my house in autumn, my whole winter goes better. Try it with this fall cleaning checklist! Not only will your home feel cleaner, but it’ll help your holiday season go better, and keep you safe and warm when winter blows in. What do you do to get ready for colder weather? Do you have any must-do fall cleaning items on your list?