I know a lot of people get really jazzed up about spring cleaning. I.... am not that person. When spring comes I just want to get outside, who cares how messy the house is? Fall is another story though. *This post contains affiliate links, which means I receive a small portion of the sale if you buy something after clicking through it. This does not impact the price. Thanks for supporting Hey Jillian.* Every fall I get a serious urge to pull out my copy of Martha Stewart's Homekeeping Handbook; a lot of the information isn't relevant to most people, like schedules for polishing your silver, but overall I think this book is a must have for any homemaker, whether working outside the house or not. It is full of suggested schedules for what to do daily, weekly, monthly, every six months, etc as far as the care and keeping of your home, and I always find myself reenergized in my efforts to keep our home pleasantly tidy after flipping through it. It also contains great guides for getting stains out of things, the best products to polish what surfaces, how to conduct basic repairs yourself, etc. Despite being published in 2006, it's definitely a bit of a throwback to the 1950's housewife era, but that doesn't make the information less useful. Martha certainly recommends keeping an even keeled and constant attention on the care of your home, but I think most people tend to have a cyclical approach, as I do. These are my top five reasons I think fall cleaning is the best and most important time to really turn your attention to getting your home in order:
1) Air Quality: If you live in a colder/temperate climate, the transition to fall and winter means closing up windows and doors that have likely been open all summer, letting fresh air in. My husband has asthma, and the fall is such a hard transition for his health. I like to re-wash all our linens, even pillows, and blankets and sheets that have been stored in closets, mop all the floors, wipe hard to reach surfaces that collect dust, and address any mildew that may be creeping into the corners of the bathroom. Taking the time to do this refresh makes a huge difference, but we do also run this HEPA air filter during the winter as well. Ridding the house of as many dust mites and possibilities for mold makes a huge difference not only in my husband's breathing, but in the feeling of the house, as we close it up for cooler weather.
2) Mental Health: As I mentioned in my introduction, in the summer we spend a lot of our time outdoors, and the condition of the house doesn't have as much of an impact on me. As the air chills and biting winds and eventually snow roll in, we start spending more time inside, and the condition of our space becomes a major factor in my mental health. Everytime I cram something in an overstuffed, disorganized closet, or add another piece of mail to an unattended stack, I unconsciously and consciously absorb negative messages about myself and the state of my life. Getting organized to the point of it being pleasing to me every time I open a closet or make my bed has immeasurable positive impacts on my mental health as the sphere of my everyday world shrinks down to primarily embrace my little home as our family gets cozy for the winter. One of the strange small things that makes a big difference in how I feel about my home is a set of matching wooden hangers. They feel like the pinnacle of adulting to me, and they don't get caught and tangled on each other like wire or microfiber covered ones tend to. I also really like to organize my clothes by color, mostly because of how nice it is to look at.
3) Updating Your Wardrobe: A lot has changed since last winter, and it's very likely that what you loved last winter just doesn't bring you joy this year, or you've changed sizes, or even changed climates. I think doing a full closet purge at least once a year is necessary, a deeply beneficial. Over the last couple months I have sold about half my clothes on sites like ThredUp and Poshmark, and used the accrued credits to those sites to get new pieces I really love. If you've never used Poshmark, I think it's your best bet for getting a decent price for somewhat valuable items; to get a $5 credit when you sign up, use the referral code jillkvt. For example I sold off my winter boots from last year, which were fine but weren't quite heavy duty enough for our winters, and I was able to use the proceeds directly towards a pair of $350 winter boots I have been coveting for years, that I found gently used on Poshmark for $50! Going into winter and the holiday season fully prepared with clothes you feel comfortable and confident in, spending little or no money, is well worth the effort, and getting clothes that don't work for you out of your closet does a lot towards #2 on this list.
4) Holiday Cash: You very likely have items sitting around, in good condition, that you never use. Breadmaker collecting dust? Do you have three irons for no reason? Do you have clothes your kids have outgrown packed away in storage, or taking up room in their dresser? Are there electronics you've updated, but never gotten rid of the old ones? All of these things are taking up space in your house, and they could be turning into money! Sites like Craigslist, and the Marketplace feature on Facebook make it easy to sell unwanted or unused items locally, and you don't even need to leave your house! People often keep items around because they are "perfectly good" even when they aren't getting use. Anything you have had put away for over 6 months and not touched, unless it has deep sentimental value, is a good candidate for resale. If you have items like this that you think you will use, challenge yourself to do so for the next two weeks. If you love it, great, you're finally using that awesome thing you have; if you find you really aren't, it's time for it to go.
5) Space: In cold weather, everything comes inside. Getting organized, getting rid of what you don't need, and cleaning out junk all go a long way to making room for outdoor stuff coming in and stored away for next year.
This article from Apartment Therapy has a lot of great suggestions of good fall cleaning tasks. What do you think, are you ready to tackle fall cleaning?
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