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Fall Inspiration for Your Home Tasks
I have to admit that I have never really understood the whole spring-cleaning routine. The general concept is very clear; after a long and dreary winter, it is a great time to clean and freshen up the homestead.
In reality, we work like dogs to get the house in shape just in time for the kids to complete the last day of school. They bound through the door, dumping all of their year-end art, ragged pencils, and crumpled paperwork in a heap. If you add in all of the summer activities, the house will be completely destroyed before Independence Day arrives.
I think a much better plan is to move the cleaning extravaganza to the fall. I have found there are many advantages switching from spring cleansing to a fall cleaning overhaul including:
As school begins, I find that the prior year’s schedule no longer applies to the current period. There are new school hours, athletic practices and other extracurricular endeavors. This season allows me to tweak my agenda to fit the new requirements and gives me a fresh focus and outlook.
Big projects such as garage clean-up or multi-meal cooking days are much easier to accomplish on a crisp autumn day. I can open up the windows for some fresh air and hit the big cleaning jobs.
Uninterrupted time. Since the children are back in school for several hours, I have larger blocks of time to complete a task. Honestly, I can accomplish three days worth of work when I am not putting out sibling fires or searching for items the family misplaced.
Fall is a great time to purge clutter and unnecessary items from closets and cupboards. This will ensure that you have plenty of room to fill them back up with holiday items and prep work.
Summertime is harsh on my garden so on a cool morning I can clean up flowerbeds, prepare for fall vegetable planting and replace tired looking annual plants.
I have limited storage in my linen cupboard so I use the season to signal storage changes. In the fall, I take all of the beach towels and place them in under the bed storage containers. The blankets and throws that I placed in that same storage spot in the spring are now ready to store in the linen closet.
I take the hint from the fall leaf changes to use color as a tool in my organizing and cleaning tasks. Here are some ways you can do this too:
• File folders – To help make paper filing easier (and more enjoyable to look at) create filing categories by color. For example, green for financial information, yellow for home, blue for family papers, etc. You can also try assigning different color files to each family member and file information accordingly.
• Towels – Assign different colored towels to each child. This way when a towel is rolled in a ball and left on the bathroom floor, you will quickly know who the culprit is!
• Crates – Designate a colored crate for each child. These containers are great for gathering personal items or holding clean laundry. Small crates or boxes are perfect for holding dental supplies; toothbrush, floss and paste all stay neat and tidy.
• Markers – Use a different color marker for each family member and write activities on a master calendar. This is an easy visual strategy for any busy Mom! As you can see, there are a variety of benefits to using the fall time of year to make positive changes in your home and family.
I encourage you to add in some of the examples above to your current routine or tell me about some of your favorite systems!
Paula is the author of Simply Sandwich), a blog providing survival skills for women in the Sandwich Generation. With ten years hands-on juggling experience of multi-generations, Paula shares practical ideas, simple solutions and real stories to help fine tune the family balancing act for any busy mom.