Fall Cleaning Checklist



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First, let me manage your expectations: this is not a comprehensive fall deep cleaning checklist. Nothing is complete or definitive (because frankly, these lists make us anxious). So here's also just a perhaps practical, not overwhelming, fall cleaning checklist.

Organize your summer clothes and replace them with fall and winter clothes. This is obvious, otherwise your closet will become cluttered and inefficient. Outside of the first time, choose a sunny day to check those sweaters for holes, stains and odors, and clean them as necessary, preferably with all clothes that support direct sunlight hung out to dry.

Vacuum, turn and de-bacterize mattresses. Because they do get incredibly dirty.

Wash mattress covers and replace them with seasonal bedding: it's velvet pillowcases and cozy wool season. Resurrect the heavier bedding you've been storing and enjoy reupholstering, but wash the shams first.

Check your refrigerator. Get rid of expired food and start thinking about stocking up on some of the most common fall cooking and baking staples: canned pumpkin, beans, nuts and oats - the cold days really need stored energy.

Change your toothbrush: It's time. And the bath mat and shower curtain. If they haven't been in the laundry room in a while, round them up and let them tumble in the washer.

Replace the batteries in your carbon monoxide detectors. Fireplace and space heater season is just around the corner. Make sure your detectors are ready to go.

Clean and store outdoor furniture and equipment. This includes chairs, tables, cushions, umbrellas, outdoor toys and gardening tools. For things that can't be moved, such as barbecue grills or heavy tables, use appropriate storage covers and secure them with elastic cords, straps or rope.

Clean gutters and downspouts. While some gutter experts say to clean gutters and downspouts in early fall, and some say later (after all the leaves have fallen), the bottom line is this: do it in the fall.

Clean major appliances. Your washing machine, dishwasher and oven may need a little love, and it's not as hard as it sounds. Many ovens have self-cleaning features; if not, you can make your own baking soda cleaning paste and leave it on overnight. Keep those dishes sparkling by sanitizing your washing machine with vinegar and wiping the grime from the dishwasher drain.

We don't want to ruin your weekend by suggesting you spend all your time cleaning. You certainly won't get a rating for it, but if you still have the energy, here are some other recommended and sometimes forgotten places to clean. There's also a little fridge and garage cleaning motivation, if you're into that sort of thing. But if you'd rather go apple picking, here we are.
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