It’s Autumn in the Southern hemisphere, but the change of season and temperate weather means it’s a good time for a deep clean (see my post on timing chores for when they are easier to complete). I schedule two deep cleans each year – one in the spring and then one in autumn. This avoids the Christmas period and middle of summer, when I’d rather be doing other things!
I’m not a big fan of cleaning full stop. I find planning for fewer sessions means I’m not constantly cleaning, and I tend to do a better job of tasks because I know how long it will be before I get around to them again. I clean once per month, then a more major undertaking once every six months.
If you’re about to embark on a mid-year refresh here’s a couple of things you might not have thought of, to add to your list.
If you’ve already done the ‘big’ declutter like me, you’ll still need to do regular mini purges to keep on top of the tsunami wave of stuff that is constantly pushing to enter the home. Hot spots for me are my bedside table, clothing and bathroom products. Luckily, because I do this every six months it just takes a quick sweep of items to check in with myself on whether or not they are still needed. I can also use these mini declutters as deadlines for myself – if I haven’t used things since the last spring/autumn clean (seasonal items excepted), then it’s unlikely I’m going to touch it again.
Once every six months is regular enough to clean large appliances like ovens . I also clean the dishwasher and washing machine with an empty, hot run, and clean out any filters (look at the manual for where to find them!). I then wipe down air conditioning units and any filters on these. I also clean less obvious appliances like the BBQ, toaster crumb tray and kettle.
Check for expired food items
I go through my fridge once a month for expired items, but save the pantry for the bi-annual clean-out. Check for herbs and spices that are past their best, as well as tins and packet items that are close to their best before dates. If I don’t get rid of them immediately, I commit to using them up that week. I also eat through anything in the freezer, as six months is generally the maximum I want to keep food frozen for.
Clean seasonal items
Before the winter/summer stuff gets packed away for six months, give it a clean so that it is all ready to go when needed, and nothing festers in the back of the cupboard. Empty the pockets on winter coats, dry out and wipe down camping gear, and brush down hiking boots.
Turn your mattress
To get the best wear out of your mattress, turn it over once every six months. You should also rotate it if you/your partner always sleep on the same side to avoid a ‘sag’ in one spot. I vacuum my mattress once a month to get reduce dust mites etc.
Repack your ‘daily’ bag
The bag you use each day for work/life is a magnet for accumulating old receipts and random items that don’t need to be carted around everywhere you go. Each spring/autumn, I declutter my backpack and purse, and refresh my mini first aid kit with new painkillers, throat lozenges and a top up of plasters (see my checklist for items for your day bag).
Do a digital declutter
When going through mini-purges, I include my digital space. I keep on top of my inbox with a monthly clear-out, and twice I year I tidy up my G-drive, files that are hanging around on my desktop and bookmarks. I also like to transfer any photos I want to keep from my phone to my external hard drive, which acts as a good prompt to print a few out.
Clean ‘forgotten’ areas
My monthly cleaning checklist only covers the basics, and the spring/autumn deep clean is when every nook and cranny gets a wipe down. This include often forgotten areas like vacuuming behind the sofa and under the bed, wiping down the insides of cupboards, cleaning light switches and sweeping out the shed. It’s amazing how much dust and grime can build up in places that aren’t in plain view!
Declutter ‘to do’ lists
Once in a while I go through my ‘someday’ and ‘maybe’ lists. I remove, or move around things that I’ve changed my mind on, where events have since overtaken the task, or items that I want to keep, but deprioritize.
Do you have any other tasks to include as part of your mid-year refresh?