There’s something about the start of a new season that inspires me to do a deep home cleaning. Sure, everyone thinks about spring cleaning, but what about summer, winter, and fall cleaning? A new season can mean a clean slate and can be a perfect time to do a little bit of tidying around the house. Plus, the change in weather often brings a change in clothing, activities, and food cravings to consider.
Even if you keep a tidy home week-by-week, the new season is an ideal opportunity to go a little further in your cleaning routine. It can feel really nice to know your home is somewhat cleared of clutter and is ready for the next season.
Everyone approaches cleaning and decluttering in their own way. My personal preference is to write a general list of what needs cleaning and then schedule one focus point per week. For example, maybe week one is all about closets. During that week, the whole family is responsible for looking through and organizing their own closet. At the end of the week, you can check that item off the list and move onto the next focus area.
If you’re not sure where to begin, here are five areas of your home to get you started.
1. The Pantry and Refrigerator
It’s actually quite shocking how quickly many foods expire. I’ve lived in my house for less than two years and recently did an audit of my pantry. I was horrified to see exactly how much expired food I owned.
It’s helpful to go into the depths of your pantry and also the corners of your fridge to check dates. During this process, you’ll probably have some empty fridge shelves, so it’s the perfect time to wipe them down. Toss expired products and pull items that are close to expiring up to the front. Hopefully, this will mean less waste in the future.
Remember, as the season changes, so do our food preferences and cooking styles. So right now you may be gearing up to make fall comfort foods like pumpkin bread and hearty stews. Check your spice cabinet, see what needs to be refreshed, and fill your shelves with staples you know you’ll use in the coming months.
2. Carpets and Soft Surfaces
Though you probably vacuum on a regular basis, there is likely deeper dirt and grime you’re missing on your carpets and sofas. Let’s be honest: kids are just dirty year-round, but summer probably meant sweaty, dirty, and maybe even sandy kids running or crawling around your house.
Before the new season fully takes off, it can be a good time to do a deep clean on your carpets and upholstered furniture. If you have a carpet cleaner or deep cleaning device, you can do this on your own, or consider hiring a professional cleaner to handle.
3. Your Closet
The weather is changing and, likely, so is your wardrobe. Hopefully, the hottest temps are on their way out, and cozy fall vibes are on their way in. Make this transition reflected in your closet. Instead of simply tossing your summer clothes into the back of your closet or into bins for storage, actually spend some time going through the items.
If you want to go all-in Marie Kondo style, take everything out of your closet and look at each item individually. From your summer wardrobe, have items been worn to death and need to be tossed? Or perhaps there are other pieces you didn’t wear and can be donated or sold? Do this now so you can make room for fall clothing and so you don’t have to deal with these items again in a year.
As you bring your fall clothes to the front of your closet, decide whether your items from last year are still serving you or if it’s time to sell or donate as well. Take inventory and make a list of what items need to be replaced so you can keep an eye out for fall sales.
4. Kids’ Toy Bins
I don’t know about you, but my daughter has accumulated way too many toys. A mixture of registry items, gifts from family, and hand-me-downs have resulted in countless bright, colorful, and noisy/annoying toys. Of course, her favorite “toys” are snacks from the pantry or my workout resistance bands. This doesn’t mean I’m going to toss all of her actual toys, but I am going to organize and purge this season.
It’s probably a good idea to go through your kid’s toys every few months. Set aside items they’ve outgrown or ignored. Consider which ones to save, store, and pull out later so they seem new to your child again. Or pass them along to a mom friend (maybe not the annoying ones), sell them, or donate them.
5. Outside Furniture and Seasonal Items
It’s hard to let go of sweet summer, but cooler temperatures mean different outdoor activities for you and your family. Depending on where you live, you may get a few more months of leisurely outdoor time, or it might be time to clean and store your backyard items, like outdoor furniture, rugs, and pillows.
Additionally, give outdoor kids’ toys like the baby pool and water table a good cleaning. Carefully store them so they can be used next summer or reimagine them for indoor play when the weather turns cold; a baby pool ball bit inside could be almost as fun as splashing in it outside.