I think it's time to start a fall cleaning schedule. One in which you prepare your home for the coming winter.
Here are the things I'm doing to prepare myself for the cold weather (organized by room):
- Bedroom: Go through linens, discard any sheet sets that are threadbare. Refold everything. Put blankets in a more accessible place. Dust surfaces. Go through closet, and put summer clothes that didn't get worn this summer in the giveaway pile. Understand that since you didn't wear them this summer, you are not likely to wear them next summer. Don't be sad. Know that you can get new summer clothes at Goodwill next year. Vacuum floor. Dust walls. Declutter. Make space for winter. Dust heater vent. Dust pictures on walls. Evaluate whether I need more things on the walls. Put flannel sheets on the bed.
- Living Room: Dust walls. Vacuum couch. Rearrange pictures on walls. Vacuum rugs, dust corners of the room. Clean windowsills and windows.
- Dining Room: Clean tablecloth. Make sure there's only dining stuff on the dining room table (harder than it should be!), and clean thoroughly under the table.
- Bathroom: Go through vitamins and medicine, check for expiration dates. Throw out anything old. Reorganize hand towels and washcloths, sterilize shelves, get a new toothbrush. Clean out the bathroom normally as well.
- Kitchen: Go through cupboards, get rid of any pots, pans, or containers for leftovers that you haven't used since the Spring. Take everything out of the pantry, deep clean the pantry. Only put back the things you think you will eat before they expire. Donate the rest. Tis the season! Go through plates, cups, etc. Make space.
- Finances: Make sure I'm on track to max out my IRA for 2012. Decide how many months in 2013 I'll need (and how much money each month) to contribute in order to hit the max. Aim for February.
- Goals: Look at my goals, and see if they still make sense. Realize that I can be flexible.
- Taxes: Re-evaluate and estimate self-employment tax, and save money toward those. Don't wait until Spring cleaning for that.
Going through a cleaning of my home helps me reset and prepare for the next season. This is particularly helpful in the fall, because I believe humans are all a little like squirrels, and we want to settle into our nests (filled with acorns) for the cold. For me, this means projects. I want to make soup, I want to make roasts, I want to make my house smell and feel warm and inviting. Fall cleaning is also somewhat of a spiritual letting go of Summer. Now that the house is ready for the cold, I don't have to be sad that hot dog days are limited, or that watermelon eating has given way to figs and pears. It's easier to embrace the cold when your house is clean and you've eliminated the dust and clutter of Summer.
How do you transition into a new season? Are you ready for cold-weather projects?