Forget Spring Cleaning…Fall Cleaning!

Jenn fall cleaning

Every year about this time we fall clean in our house. It’s my excuse to get rid of things so “Santa” can bring in the new for the upcoming holiday. We are pretty “organized”, however with the extra kids come extra clutter and crap ends up everywhere without reason. Bomb…explosion! We inherited about 9 years worth of boy clothes when C1 was born. Over the years I have given away and let go of so much, but still its never ending. This weekend I went through and got rid of so much, from 0 to 4T. That felt good. So I moved onto the next thing. So far, the ledges, closets, garage, kitchen drawers, just about anything that can be a catch all has been removed of excess. Boy does it feel good! Toys accumulate faster than you can imagine. Neighbors and family drop by with hand me downs. I am all for it, except when we have 2 or 3 of everything and there are more toys than space.

Below I have made a list of my Fall “declutter” routine:

I begin in the garage. Why? Well…. The garage is the ULTIMATE catch all. If I leave it for last, more than likely everything I clean inside will go to the garage. That can be extremely overwhelming and a weekends worth of work. I love shelving and Tupperware bins. Everything can remain organized in this instance. I inherited three 8 shelved units. The kind you stack. It has brought everything worth keeping up rather than out. Letting go of baby items that I just don’t use, throwing out old containers and organizing the lawn care and car maintenance area made a significant dent in the appearance. Moving things that we use on the regular basis and storing what we don’t has made items more accessible as well.

From there I move into the house. I like to tackle closets of rooms first and then spread from there. I start in the kids rooms. I like to rotate out clothes and reorganize drawers every 3 to 6 months. Going through toys every 3 months is a lot of work, but totally necessary. With two boys and a soon to be toddler, toys become broken VERY, VERY quickly. They also can become choking hazards and dangerous as well. I can also weed out toys that I KNOW my kids don’t play with. We have been fortunate to never “want” for anything with our children. They are blessed to have the luxury of toys that most cannot afford or have access to. So, it becomes tradition to give to others what we don’t use. I also almost always find some cooking utensil or necessary item I have been searching for weeks for. By the time it’s found I have either forgotten or bought a new one. I also redo the closets and go through shoes and the mysteriously missing sock pile. Vacuuming crevices and carpet corners and dusting the fan is essential in this step. You’d be surprised of all the crap you find. And yes, lots of money gets spent on CRAP.

I do this from room to room working from one side of the house to the next. Hall closets are no exception. Those get organized top to bottom and most items get refolded or donated seasonally.

Bathrooms are interesting places that products hide. Bath toys are a cesspool for bacteria, mold and fungus. I throw those in the tub with vinegar, sometimes a little bleach. I also examine them for broken pieces, sharp anything and take immediate action if they’ve reached a point of NO return. The bathroom gets an extra special scrub down too. We are routine on chores, but every 6 months the bathroom needs a top to bottom scrub down.

Moving to the living room we find the couch. The one item EVERYONE put their butt on. Vacuuming the couch is a pretty regular action in our home, but cleaning it will surprise you. We have microfiber couches and they are cream/beige…. Which can quickly become brown when dirty. We used to rent a steam cleaner every couple of months from Publix. Home Depot has a rental center with professional tools for rent. It’s pretty awesome and considering how expensive some things like a trusty steam carpet cleaner can be…. Home Depot is AWESOME. Moving the couch can be quite the surprise. Cheerios, dust ball and change heaven. Having carpet makes this all very possible. The trusty Dyson gets a very good “meal” with kids anything is possible. Cleaning the curtains and the windows, dusting and getting into the nitty-gritty areas behind and on the TV stand.

Next thing on the list would be my kitchen/dining area. I like to go through the cabinets and pantry and eliminate food to donate. We get rid of Tupperware containers that magically loose their tops and cleaning out the silverware drawers. The junk drawer gets extra special attention and I like to move the refrigerator out for some much needed, extra attention. I clean the drains with baking soda and vinegar and run vinegar through the dishwasher as well. The microwave is next on the scrub down list as is the refrigerator on the inside. So much accumulates in the freezers that we forget. Sometimes things are half empty, need to be finished off or ice cream that looks like frozen…. Just needs a little bit of lovin. Consolidating cleaning products and discarding the, you guessed it, CRAP.

When it’s all said and done, out with the old allows for in with the new. And sometimes out with the old just feels better by it self. If you need some inspiration, an episode of Hoarders will do the trip!

Happy Hunting!

The Naturalist Mama

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