Most of us kick our cleaning routine into high gear after the winter is over in the tradition of spring cleaning set by those who came before our grandmothers’ grandmothers. As the temperature dips and the leaves blow, fall is another great time to go through the house and get some extra deep-down cleaning done. Before you have everyone over for Thanksgiving or add more belongings to your stash during the winter holidays, get your home into tip-top shape. If nothing else, it will make your spring cleaning easier when March or April rolls around. Here is a list of chores that you should try to get done. Don’t be afraid to put your kids to work; many of them are easy enough for a school-aged child to do!
- Clean the windows. During the winter, you’re going to want to let the sun shine in, and streaky or dusty windows will block some of the rays. Use window cleaner for regular dust build-up. If your windows are very dirty, use a sponge and water with a squirt of dishwashing liquid first. For a streak-free finish, dry with newspapers or coffee filters. While you’re at it, wash the window treatments; be sure to follow the care instructions on your draperies or curtains.
- Go through your cabinets, organizing and wiping down as you go. This is too big and tedious a job to do all at once, so choose one or two cabinets to go through per day. If you have 10 cabinets in your kitchen, you’ll still get them done within a week. Lower cabinets are a great task to assign even younger children!
- Have your chimney and furnace cleaned. This isn’t a do-it-yourself job, but it’s still important to have it done before the heating season starts, if possible. Soot and ash buildup can cause a malfunction, or worse, a fire or carbon monoxide poisoning. Also, change the batteries in your smoke and carbon monoxide detectors to avoid tragedy this winter.
- Get the yard cleaned and ready for snow. Once the leaves are done falling, do a thorough raking job. Also, bring in any lawn toys and furniture that you won’t be using until spring comes. If you have a swimming pool, drain it if you normally do so before the winter and haven’t done it already.
- Clean out the gutters. If ice or snow accumulates on top of heavy leaves, they might fall. While you have the ladder out, check the roof for loose or missing shingles, and get them replaced now. Also, check for any hanging branches that might damage the house if they’re blown down during a winter storm.
- Replenish your emergency kit. While this isn’t really a cleaning tip, make sure that you have flashlights, batteries, non-perishable goods, bottled water and anything else that you would need if you were to become stranded at home or lose power for a few days. If snow and ice make roads impassable, you’ll feel secure knowing that you will all be cozy and safe until you can get out again.
Getting the house ready for winter is easier now, before the severe weather hits, than it will be next month. Gather your family and spend a weekend or two preparing, then celebrate your success with a fun family movie or pizza party!