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Fall Cleaning - 100+ Tasks to Prepare for Winter


Why a Fall Cleaning?

Why should you deep clean your home in the autumn, especially if you "just did all that stuff" back in the spring? One (hyphenated) word...


No, seriously. Fall is the officially the opening of visiting season. Everyone's summer vacations are over, the weather is going to get cooler, and the holidays are just around the corner. That means more people will drop by.

And don't you want your house to look all spring fresh and tidy in your holiday photos? Won't you be glad later that you don't have to do all of this while trying to plan a Thanksgiving guest list or bake pies or untangle a million Christmas lights?

Yes, you will.

Even if your home doesn't need a really, really deep clean, it probably needs some winterizing touches and a little freshening up in the nooks and crannies. So check out the list below and ready to go to battle!

But First, Plan Your Attack

You've probably done many of the tasks on this list recently. If so, and the jobs aren't the sort that need to be re-done already, go ahead and check them off. Then congratulate yourself on how quickly you are getting through the task list. Check off things that don't apply too, and your list is already a lot shorter, right?

Now, for what you have left. Instead of mentioning the same tasks over and over per room, I'm starting with some cleaning jobs that should be done in all rooms.

Whether you do all that stuff first, or do it per room as you are tackling the room-specific lists is up to you. Make your own system.

Here is what we will cover:

  • All Rooms
  • Kitchen/Dining
  • Living Areas
  • Utility Room
  • Bathrooms
  • Bedrooms
  • Office
  • Outside
  • Extra

The tasks on the list are in no particular order. I'm assuming you do some cleaning on a regular basis. Like washing your dishes and putting away your laundry. So those tasks aren't on the list. If I'm wrong, and you only do those things once a year or so, then feel free to pencil them in where needed.

You will need your favorite cleaners and tools for fall cleaning.

You will need your favorite cleaners and tools for fall cleaning.

All the rooms in your house share some dirty spots in common. They all have walls that eventually get grungy, junk that gets dusty and stuff that needs to be tidied. Here are the essential tasks for deep cleaning each and every room:

  • Clean walls
  • Clean doors
  • Vacuum furniture
  • Polish wood
  • Clean mirrors and glass
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  • Sanitize switches, knobs, and chain pulls
  • Wash, wipe or dust knick-knacks and decor
  • Launder curtains
  • Clean windows
  • Dust shelves
  • Deep clean carpets and upholstery
  • Shake or beat rugs, mats and decorative pillows
  • Clean fan blades
  • Wash light globes
  • Wipe or dust books
  • Clean underside of chairs and tables (especially if you have little kids with sticky fingers!)
  • Declutter and sort items to put away, throw away or donate
  • Brush, vacuum or wipe ceilings
  • Sanitize remote controls
  • Empty and clean organizers and bins
  • Scrub and polish floors
  • Rotate linens (seasonal linens, or replace worn linens)
  • Carefully clean paintings and woven baskets/furniture

Now. On to the cleaning jobs for specific rooms and areas!


The main living areas in your home tend to get grungy fast. Probably because that's where everyone tends to hang out.

For the purpose of this article, these rooms include foyers, hallways, living rooms, dens, media rooms, and parlors (if you are super fancy.)

  • Wipe window blinds
  • Remove DVDs and CD's and dust the shelves
  • Clean DVD's, CD's and video games
  • Clean game consoles and accessories
  • Clean under large furniture
  • Rotate or replace books and magazines on coffee table

I only have a small living room and a hallway, so I have to work to keep on top of clutter such as stacks of recently watched DVD's, toys, books, and treasures that my husband brings home. I find that keeping hidden "clutter baskets" helps a lot. I fill them up all day then sort them to the right areas before bed.


Kitchens always seem to be in need of some cleaning. No matter how hard you work to keep up, there will always be a fork in the sink, a drip on the cabinet door, or a trash can that is full again already!

Under all of that stuff are the other jobs. I like to tackle the kitchen first and get the "baddest" job out of the way while I am still enthusiastic.

  • Clean and polish sink
  • Clean counters, cabinet doors and shelves
  • Clean stove, burner plates and oven
  • Clean small appliances thoroughly (Don't forget keypads and crumb trays)
  • Empty fridge and freezer and wash racks, shelves and drawers
  • Empty and wash ice bin
  • Clean fridge coils and vents
  • Clean dishwasher and/or drainboard
  • Clean and tidy under sink
  • Sort and tidy pantry
  • Toss expired food
  • Take an inventory of foods to replace
  • Pull out holiday serving trays, seldom used dishes, etc. and wash
  • Polish any silver for the holidays
  • Replace shelf liners
  • Sanitize trash can
  • Clean drains

If you give up after this room, at least you can take comfort in knowing that you have an awesome kitchen!


Why is that the rooms we use specifically for cleaning things seem to get the grimiest? Utility rooms, (or laundry rooms, if the two are separate) can get pretty out of shape if they aren't regularly tended to.

They can also end up as "catch-all" rooms for odds and ends, nearly empty containers, things that need mending, etc. Take the time to clean the utility room and make those winter laundry days a little less dreary.

  • Throw away empty or expired chemicals and cleaning products
  • Wash ironing board cover
  • Clean iron
  • Clean washing machine
  • Clean dryer vents
  • Take inventory of cleaners, paper goods, light bulbs etc. to be replaced
  • Clean laundry hampers and baskets

And of course, tidy up any clutter that has accumulated. Especially if it gets in your way while you are doing laundry.


Who likes a icky bathroom? I'm sure you keep yours clean. But bathrooms could always use another once-over.

  • Scrub shower and bathtub
  • Clean shower head
  • Clean Toilets
  • Sanitize trash cans
  • Polish faucets and towel bars
  • Clean cabinets and drawers
  • Toss expired toiletries and medications
  • Wash or replace shower curtain
  • Clean drains
  • Clean soap dishes, cups, toothbrush holders, etc

I find that with three children under the age of five, I have to deep clean the drains at least twice a year. I'm not sure what all goes down, but I suspect it is all those missing rolls of toilet paper.


Evict dust mites and allergens so you can sleep better after all the hard work you've been doing.

  • Launder heavy bed linens (quilts, comforters)
  • Flip, rotate and vacuum mattress
  • Launder pillows (including decorative pillows) or replace
  • Vacuum under bed
  • Rotate seasonal clothing
  • Sanitize and store summer shoes
  • Tidy drawers
  • Rotate seasonal linens (such as heavier blankets, flannel sheets, heavy drapes, etc.)
  • Sort, sanitize and rotate toys
  • Sort outgrown kid's clothing

This is the perfect time to toss clothes you are never going to wear, mismatched socks and gloves that will never have mates again, and worn linens.

In kid's rooms, sort toys to relocate all those missing pieces that have vanished under beds and dressers. We like to rotate toys and books for those kept in storage.

This provides "new" and interesting stuff to hold them over until Christmas and to alleviate the monotony of being stuck inside during cooler weather.


Cleaning the office or office space is usually one of the easier jobs. You might as well get a head start here, and organize all the stuff you will need for tax time. No sense waiting until the last minute.

  • Wipe power cords
  • Clean keyboards and other computer accessories
  • Clean phones and other gadgets
  • Sort and file paperwork
  • Clear and wipe desk top
  • Test and toss faulty ink pens and other useless supplies
  • Clean storage on phones and computers, organize files

If you really have a lot of extra time, or just want to be super-organized, you can take a break from scrubbing and dusting and organize all of your online bookmarks and pins about holiday decorating or cooking.


If you've worked through the list so far, then you are probably ready for a change of scenery. That's great! because you might want to tidy up your outside space too, while the weather is still fair!

  • Clean outside furniture and cover (or store)
  • Clean and store outside toys
  • Clean grill
  • Clean and oil gardening tools and store
  • Clean up flower beds
  • Service lawn equipment
  • Trim low-hanging branches that could fall during storms
  • Detail and winterize vehicles
  • Clean around house and use repellents to deter unwanted winter guests
  • Touch up paint on mailboxes, house numbers, etc.
  • Put out bird feeders
  • Sweep porch
  • Clean up garage
  • Hose out garbage bins
  • Clean out gutters
  • Insulate outside faucets
  • Perform pool and pond maintenance
  • Trim houseplants and clean pots before returning inside

If you still have some energy left, here are a few more things that you might need to get done.

  • Clean or replace old pet bedding and accessories (bowls, litter boxes, brushes, etc.)
  • Replace old pet toys
  • Clean aquariums or cages
  • Test smoke alarms and replace batteries
  • Cover or remove window cooling units
  • Service and clean vacuum cleaner, floor scrubbers, steamers, etc.
  • Replace mops and brooms
  • Sanitize or replace cleaning tools (Sponges, toilet bowl brushes, even toothbrushes and bath poufs)
  • Change any household filters (even on the fish tank)
  • Buy space heaters (or pull from storage)
  • Update winter storm supplies (make sure flashlights have batteries, oil lamps are filled, etc. )
  • Refill or replace hand soaps and room deodorizers
  • Replace clock batteries (I always try to do this when the time changes)
  • Clean or tidy basement and/or attic
  • Have furnaces and fireplaces inspected and cleaned
  • Refill propane tanks
  • Update your car's emergency supplies
  • Update your first aid kit
  • Make an inventory of supplies you need for winter
  • Caulk windows and doors
  • Oil any squeaky hinges or stubborn drawer rollers
  • Organize your recipes for upcoming holiday menus
  • Pull out those decorations!

Enjoy Your Clean House!

Now that you've tackled everything from dust-bunnies under the bed to mysterious stuff hiding behind your appliances, you are ready to kick back and relax.

Let the holidays come. Let the winter storms come. You are prepared, right?

If you haven't started cleaning yet, I recommend checking out the video below. It will either inspire you to clean or it will cheer you up when you realize your house isn't so dirty after all!


RTalloni on November 04, 2015:

A fall cleanup may be the most important "spring cleaning" we can do for our health since the house will be closed up for the winter. The stuff and such of life makes a mess and if we do not prevent the build up it will eventually seem unmanageable. This very useful guide to use as a checklist is especially good for busy people.

moonlake from America on November 04, 2015:

My house needs a good cleaning. I'm just one person living here, but it seems to get in a mess. My husband helped me with so much of the heavy stuff windows, etc. Now I can't reach many things so it doesn't get done. Like you I keep a basket handy just for newspaper, mail and things that collect during the day that I need to go through and put away later. Every time I watch one of those shows on tv I start cleaning my own house. They are so bad at times I can't even watch them.

Jayme Kinsey (author) from Oklahoma on November 03, 2015:

@Victoria Lynn--That is why I love that television show! Before I saw an episode, I thought my house was dirty. Then I realized that no. Mine was just cluttered and a little ragged where we are doing the remodeling. Maybe some dust and a few fingerprints.

I've had the "pleasure" of being in a couple of real life houses that were truly nasty, recently. If the video makes us feel better about our own houses, then being in one of those nasty homes is enough to make anyone OCD!

Thanks for reading!

Tricia Deed on November 03, 2015:

Yep, you covered everything and more. You brought into view not only the necessity of keeping the house clean, but also how important the people who do the cleaning are valuable for keeping our living quarters healthy. And there are very few compliments made to the one who cleans the house.

Deb Hirt from Stillwater, OK on November 02, 2015:

I try to make sure that I do what I can when I can, so that things don't accumulate. Then it doesn't always turn out so bad. I'm not saying that it always works out, but I try. Thanks for the reminders on those often missed areas.

shahid hussain raja on October 28, 2015:

Excellent tips.thanks for sharing

Chin chin from Philippines on October 28, 2015:

Love this cleaning checklist. I'm not very good at cleaning up. This list will help me get going and accomplish my goal of having a cleaner home.

Shasta Matova from USA on October 28, 2015:

I am better at cleaning in the fall than I am in the spring too. I want to be ready for the long time I will be staying in the house in the winter, and I have outside yard work to do and busy season at work in the spring. Your list is quite comprehensive, and I am going to have to go through it one by one to make sure I don't miss anything!

Jayme Kinsey (author) from Oklahoma on October 25, 2015:

@Lipnancy --I confess I'm rarely able to get all of this stuff done at the same time. Not with 18 month old twins. But I do get it all done within the month. Those videos are serious motivation to tackle the stuff I usually try to avoid!

Thanks for reading!

Jayme Kinsey (author) from Oklahoma on October 24, 2015:

@rebeccamealy--Its easier for me in fall than in spring. In the spring I just want out of the house for awhile! In fall, I know I will be spending months cooped up, so I like to start the cabin fever season clean and bright. :)

Thank you for reading!

FlourishAnyway from USA on October 24, 2015:

Now I feel like my house needs a deep clean. I thought it was clean enough, but it looks like I missed more than a spot.

CrisSp from Sky Is The Limit Adventure on October 24, 2015:

Wow! That's well too detailed. You can be as much qualified to have your own cleaning company. I'm gonna hire you! :)

I used to watch that show "How clean is your House" even though I'd feel gross about how dirty one's place could be. Maybe they exaggerate it for TV purposes but I love those English ladies. It's not onTV anymore for quite some time now, at least not in any of my channels.

Now, back to cleaning (and hubbing) as I usually do on my days off!


Victoria Lynn from Arkansas, USA on October 24, 2015:

Well, my house isn't usually very clean, and I don't have a deep-cleaning system, but it's nothing like the home in the video. Yuck! Nice hub--very comprehensive.

Nancy Yager from Hamburg, New York on October 24, 2015:

I started out thinking I had a clean house, now I am not so sure.

Rebecca Mealey from Northeastern Georgia, USA on October 24, 2015:

Boy, you covered everything! Anyone getting ready to clean has the perfect checklist here. I agree, fall is a great time to deep clean.

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