The benefit of ‘Autumn Cleaning’ your home

It is a very popular practice throughout the world for households to carry out an annual ‘spring clean’ of their homes. Spring is the time when natural light becomes brighter, following the darkness of the winter season, and home owners begin to notice dusty spots throughout their homes that have been neglected throughout the colder period.

By carrying out a thorough clean of our homes during this period we are able to throw open the windows and doors and allow fresh, warm air to circulate throughout.

However, during autumn we may not find this as pleasant an experience as we do during the spring, due to it not being as warm outside, but it’s still a vitally important thing to do.

The best time to do this would be at the beginning of September. The children will have returned to school, the house should be a little quieter and hopefully the weather shouldn’t be too cold or too damp, so we should still be able to throw open the windows and allow the air to freshen up our environment as we deep clean, declutter and organise our environment.

As I advise all my clients, my preferred method with any deep clean is to work room by room. Select the room that you would like to begin with. Either start with the room in which you have the biggest issue. For example, if you are having difficulty sleeping then begin in the bedroom. If you have a home office and it has become the household dumping ground throughout the summer holidays, and you are struggling to work efficiently, then perhaps start in that room.

My personal choice of room to begin in is the smallest one, as the room will be cleaned and organised the quickest, and will bring a sense of satisfaction of having completed a room.

The autumn season is when we all start to seriously plan ahead for Christmas, the most expensive time of the year for most of us and any extra £££’s always come in handy.

Use your autumn clean to serve 2 purposes

1)As an opportunity to thoroughly clean your home following the summer period, when you will have had more dust and dirt blown in from having the windows open and the family home more. You may also have allowed some jobs to be missed (e.g. tidying of drawers and wardrobes due to enjoying the summer hols).

2) To have a thorough declutter and to organise your home. By doing this you can set aside any unwanted items that you can sell online to raise some much welcomed money toward Christmas. This benefits you AND the buyer who may find themselves an amazing bargain too.

How do we effectively and efficiently declutter?

Begin in one room and focus on that room until fully decluttered, organised and cleaned.

Personally, I would suggest decluttering and organising the items in one room prior to deep cleaning it, as doing this can bring dust and dirt into our environments.

When decluttering and organising I recommend starting from the bottom and working upwards (the opposite direction from when cleaning a room).

The reason I recommend this is because simply having a clean and clear floor can do wonders for how our environment looks and how we feel (have you ever picked everything up off a messy floor to hoover and noticed how much of a difference such a simple thing makes to how that room looks?)

Start by emptying and organising any boxes/ bags on the floor. Then do the same to all surfaces that you can see, working upwards at all times. Only once all this is done do we open up drawers and doors. Don’t forget to use this time to find your winter woollies/raincoats etc. and safely put away any summer items that you will not be needing for a while.

Once Decluttered and Organised-Get Cleaning

There are bigger, individual jobs that may be worth starting with, such as defrosting the freezer. By emptying and defrosting our freezer completely it allows us to spot any food that has been in there a while and could do with being used up, it opens up space for us to add in more food (particularly important throughout the colder months when we tend to go out less often) and it makes the freezer operate more efficiently.

This is also the perfect time to change your summer curtains for your heavier winter ones, and also take down and clean any net curtains or blinds that you may have.

Use this opportunity to thoroughly clean the inside window panes and windowsills.

If you do this deep clean early on in the season it should be warm enough outside to shampoo your carpets and upholstery and leave the windows open to dry. If you prefer to just freshen up the furniture then sprinkling on some bicarbonate of soda and hoovering it up an hour later can help eliminate odours.

This is also the perfect time to give your washing machine a thorough clean, both inside and out.

Cleaning your oven in readiness for making all those tasty casseroles and roast dinners is also a great job to do now.

If you are able to, then pop your pillows and duvets into the washing machine, and thoroughly vacuum and shampoo your mattresses.

When it comes to cleaning each room I always advise my clients to start from the top and work their way down:

Begin by tackling any cobwebs on the ceiling and down along the walls and edges. Clean any light fittings at this point too.

Clean all higher surfaces first, working your way downwards.

Don’t forget to clean doorframes and electrical sockets too.

Use this deep clean as a chance to pull out furniture to clean behind and under. Don’t forget to clean the hard to reach parts on the actual furniture too.

Skirting boards are often neglected during weekly cleans so use this as a time to not just dust them but to clean them properly.

Once all this is finished then give all areas a thorough hoover/vacuum and place all furniture back in place as you go along.

Once you have completed you home declutter and clean, if you have time then look at the environment outside your home- your external doormat and path may benefit from being cleaned and swept. Are you able to safely clean external windows and frames?

Thoroughly cleaning and keeping our homes clutter free can help our physical as well as mental health. Less dust and dirt results in healthier lungs and better sleeping. An organised and clean home helps our minds to stay calm and organised too.

We can find items more easily and don’t need to move things on surfaces before using them.

Having a clear environment also means that we know where everything is and wont double up on items.

Having a cluttered living environment can cause anxiety as it can be overwhelming to be surrounded by a lot of items. This in turn also makes it more difficult to keep our homes clean.

Take your seasonal deep clean step by step, room by room. Take regular breaks and remind yourself regularly of how well you are doing. If you start feeling overwhelmed then finish the task that you are on and try and get outside for a walk or take time out to enjoy a cuppa and a completely different activity.

For further information on home decluttering, organisation and cleaning please join my free Facebook group Tidy with Heidi-for a less anxious mind

By Heidi Phillips anxiety and lifestyle coach

Heidi Phillips is an anxiety and lifestyle coach, working with clients to reduce anxiety by focusing on organisation, self-care and lifestyle changes

She also owns a busy domestic cleaning business in South Wales

Heidi's Links: ( Tidy with Heidi- for a less anxious mind) (Cleaning company Facebook Group)

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