10 tips for getting your home ready for fall | Home & Garden
It's already August 22, and that means back-to-school time for the kids, the approach of the holidays, and, blessedly, cooler weather.
During the fall months when everyone gathers for family meals, football watch parties, Thanksgiving meals, and the like, you will want to have already done one thing to keep your mind free from stress: fall cleaning.
Now, most people don't have days and days to spend on fall cleaning. We have to cram as much as we can in between taking the kids to practice, going to work, volunteering in the children's classrooms, and all the other things that keep us busy.
Here are some tips to help you get your space at home shined up and pretty for the arrival of autumn activities...and inexpensively, too.
1. Clean woodwork: if you have painted cabinets, paneling, doors or moulding that needs a good cleaning, here's an inexpensive solution: add 1/2 cup white vinegar, 1 cup of ammonia, 1/4 cup baking soda to one gallon warm water. No need to rinse after using this solution, and it cleans beautifully. (if you have sensitive skin, make sure to wear your rubber gloves!)
2. Windows can be cleaned to a sparkly shine by using 1 part white vinegar to 10 parts warm water. I save my empty brand name glass cleaner bottle when I've used it all up, and start refilling it with this homemade solution instead of buying more. When the bottle wears out and no longer sprays well, I buy a new bottle full of window cleaner and start over. Also, contrary to popular belief, it's not really the best idea to clean windows with newspaper. The black ink can smear off and get on your windows' trim while cleaning. Also, avoid cleaning windows which are currently in direct sunlight. They will streak like crazy, so wait until the sun has moved on.
Note: If your windows have the new UV coating on them, check manufacturer's directions for cleaning, which may entail nothing more than using a wet microfiber cloth and then drying with another one.
3. Make a big plate of cookies.
This will help entice the man of the house (or whomever you can bribe) to sweep or hose off the leaves and pine needles that have collected on your roof and in your gutters. These should be removed every spring and fall to keep your roof free of the rot they can cause.
4. Wash vinyl shower curtains: Toss a shower curtain in the washing machine with a towel or two for friction, and use laundry powder, if you have it, instead of liquid. Run it through the shortest cycle, then remove and rehang. You can use bleach if needed, but it will ultimately shorten the life of the curtain.
5. Flip and turn around the mattresses in the bedrooms. If you like, vacuum and/or give them a good spray of Lysol and allow to completely dry before replacing bedding.
6. Wash comforters, blankets and other bedding. Some may be too large for your home washer, but taking to the local laundromat or dry cleaner can solve that problem fairly inexpensively.
7. Look around the house for rotted, cracked or otherwise damaged wood. These are prime spots that mice and other critters will find enticing when it gets cold outside and they want to join you inside. Have them repaired, if possible. If you can't do so right away, some have had success by stuffing steel wool in openings that could be used as an entrance. Make sure NOT to use steel wool in areas where children might access it and hurt their fingers with the prickly material or that pets might chew on it.
8. Clean your ceiling fans! One way is to use a mixture of Murphy's oil soap and warm water, according to label's directions, and after dampening a microfiber cloth or other cleaning rag with the solution, wipe off all dust. Dry with a second cloth.
9. Clean out the fridge: Spot cleaning works for small spills, but before your fall cooking/holiday baking extravaganzas begin, get your refrigerator into shape. Remove contents that are still fresh and place in a cooler while you work. Toss old food that is questionable (or that could clearly qualify as a science project) and make way for the new. Run all the newly-emptied containers through the dishwasher or a sinkful of hot, soapy water.
Take out shelves and drawers and scrub down. If they won't come out, get a bucket of hot soapy water and a scrubber sponge and attack all the spills and drips. (you may wonder what some of that stuff is!). Use a clean, dry towel to shine it up before putting everything back in place. Beautiful!
You'll open the door just to look at your shiny-clean fridge several times the first day. This is normal.
10. You should also clean out your dishwasher. Look in there sometime; you may be surprised how grungy it can be. You can use some baking soda on a damp sponge and wipe down the interior, paying special attention to the edges of the door and around the drain. This helps deodorize, as well. You can also make your own dishwasher cleanser by pouring into the bottom of the dishwasher a cup of clear vinegar or baking soda, and then run an empty cycle to clean and freshen.
What are your best tips for fall cleaning? Or do you have a question you need answered regarding homekeeping or cookng? Send them to MamaSteph@kltv.com. She'll do her best to answer!
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