Fall is a great time to give your home a good cleaning because once winter arrives, you’ll be spending a lot more time indoors. And you don’t want to be shacked up for the next few months with a season’s worth of dirt and grime, do you? I didn’t think so.

Take advantage of the cooler weather to give your home a deep clean inside and out. My fall cleaning checklist includes 7 chores. Schedule one a day for the next 7 days – or knock them all out over the weekend. Then you can kick back and relax in your cleaner, happier, healthier home.

  1. Wash windows – Cleaning windows in the fall makes good sense because cleaner windows allow more light to stream into your home during the darker winter months. Plus, that coating of dust or pollen that built up over the summer is just going to get worse. When rain or snow falls on dusty or dirty windows, it leaves behind dirty drips and spots that only accentuate the grime. Consider getting a quote from a window washer – a professional can do the job faster and better and for less than you might expect.
  2. Deep clean your carpets – Regular vacuuming helps your carpets last longer. But vacuuming alone is not enough. Carpets should be cleaned every 12-18 months or so. This is another job that you can delegate. In fact, hiring a certified carpet cleaning technician is something you should do if your carpets are still under warranty as the manufacturer may void the warranty if you don’t. If you decide to buy or rent a carpet steam cleaner, be sure to vacuum thoroughly first to remove the loose debris that makes up 85% of the dirt in your carpet.
  3. finally-60w_single_box-and-bulbClean lighting fixtures and bulbs – Did you know that a dirty lightbulb emits 20% less light than a clean one? Now’s a good time to remove and clean light fixtures and bulbs. Glass fixtures can be washed in warm, sudsy water – or even in the dishwasher. Use a damp microfiber cloth to remove grime from bulbs, making sure first that they are cool to the touch. If you need to replace bulbs, consider replacing with Finally Bulbs, the first energy-efficient light bulb with the warm glow and light of an incandescent bulb versus the cool, blue light of an LED. You’ll be amazed at the difference – they completely change the look of a room while using 75% less energy.
  4. Launder summer clothing and bedding – When putting away clothing and linens for the winter, it’s important to put them away clean. Otherwise, perspiration, odors, and stains on natural fabrics may attract clothes moths that will thank you for the yummy feast! Add Downy Fresh Protect Beads to your loads to help keep out-of-season clothing and linens smelling fresh while stored away. Here’s how to save yourself some time: only wash and store only the clothes you wore over the summer and donate everything else.
  5. Clean out your pantry – Throw away all outdated food items, and give away any others you’re not likely to use. Donate to a local food pantry – they’re always in need of dry goods to make meals for feeding the hungry. Next, sort items into categories such as baking supplies, cereals, canned soups and broth, dried grains, snack foods, oils and vinegars. “Zoning” your pantry items makes it easier to see what you have – and what you might need for upcoming holiday meals and parties. Consider labeling the shelves to help keep your pantry organized.
  6. Organize your garage – What’s in your garage? If you’re like most people, you move things you no longer want inside your home to the garage where they just take up valuable space and don’t do anyone any good. Schedule a free pickup from a charitable organization and get a receipt for your donations that you can write off your tax bill come spring. Or take a photo of anything you want to sell and use the OfferUp app or list on Craigslist to turn some of that clutter in cash for the holidays.
  7. Make your entry way guest ready – When’s the last time you came through the main entrance of your home? It may need some attention. Schedule 30 minutes to sweep away cobwebs, wash the front door, and remove and clean outdoor light fixtures and bulbs. If you don’t have an outside mat, make a note to get one – it will help prevent dirt from tracking in. Inside, remove and shake or clean the indoor mat, clean dirty smudges from around the door knob, and then look in your hall closet. Remove items that no longer serve you to free up space for your visitors’ (and your own) winter coats.

Remember, you don’t have to do your fall cleaning all at once. Commit to spending 15-30 minutes a day, delegate what you can, and then reward yourself for a job well done.