Don't overlook fall cleaning

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We all know the term, "spring cleaning", but if you're like me the effects of that thorough cleaning I did back in March are long gone. My once clean and tidy closets are once again cluttered and disorganized. My patio furniture needs a good scrubbing, and the interior of my home really needs dusting. These types of tasks and several others seem to get overlooked during the busy summer months when we spend more time outdoors and more time traveling and enjoying leisure activities.

With cooler temperatures just around the corner, we will once again be spending more time indoors. That means it's time to "clean up and clean out"! A good thorough cleaning and organizing of your home or workspace doesn't have to be complicated, nor does it have to consume an entire weekend...after all, it is football season! Here are a few simple cleaning and organizing tips that you can do at your convenience to make your living space a little more functional this fall.

- Clean Out Those Closets. Now is the time to clear out any summer clothes and unpack fall/winter wardrobes. If there are items in your closets that you didn't wear very often this summer-don't keep them until next year...donate them! Chances are if you didn't wear something this entire season, you probably won't wear it next year either and if you have growing kids they won't be able to wear many of their summer things next year. Blouses, tops, and t-shirts can be paired with jackets and worn late into the fall, as well as last year's tennis shoes and dress shoes. Don't forget to also go through your fall and winter clothes while unpacking them. If you didn't wear it last year, but packed it anyway...consider donating it.

- Dust Thoroughly. This includes dusting furniture, but think about those places that are covered in dust but often
overlooked. Curtains, drapes, and rugs are among some commonly disregarded items. If these items in your home are machine washable, then follow directions on their labels and then let them air-dry in the fresh, crisp, autumn air. Remember that dry-dusting only stirs around dust instead of actually removing it. Dampen your dust cloth slightly with a dusting polish or cool water. If you are prone to dust allergies, consider passing this chore on to someone who is not affected by dust.

- Watch Out for Insects. When cooler weather arrives, we all tend to move indoors. Insects and other pests also want in where it is warmer. The most typical pests to look out for during the transitioning weather are ladybugs and spiders. If you use household pest controls, just be sure to use them according to their instruction labels.
However, keeping food crumbs and spills off of your counters and floors will go a long way in keeping these pests at bay, as well as immediately sweeping down any spider webs or ladybugs that may find their way into your home.

Protect Outdoor Furniture and Decorations. If you're like me, you probably enjoy using your outdoor furniture well into the fall so you can enjoy a crisp fall afternoon or early evening outdoor fire. Just remember that before it
gets too cold, you will want to clean any furniture cushions and other fabric materials and store them properly for
winter. Some items may be machine washable but be sure and double check the label before tossing them into the machine.

Lastly, make a plan for how you are going to store glass-top furniture. If left out in wet and frigid temps, these items can freeze and break easily. Remember that fall cleaning doesn't have to be a major chore. If you spread
your tasks out over the course of a couple of weeks you will have a nice and tidy space in no time. Also, don't forget to delegate tasks to others living in your household. Older children can help with dusting and cleaning out their own closets and dressers.

Contributed by: Rebecca Seratt, Extension
Agent - Chester County

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