Fall and Spring Cleaning

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We received an email from Nancy asking how to get Fall and Spring cleaning done like her mom used to do. She said it was hard enough just to get regular cleaning done.

Originally when people did Fall and Spring cleaning they had no choice but to do it. They had used wood or coal burning stoves all winter. Their wood stoves weren’t like the air tight ones we have today so there would be black soot everywhere and on everything. There would be soot on the windows, curtains, walls, baseboards, knick knacks, rugs and furniture.

They would also use this time to prepare for the next season. For example, wool rugs would be rolled up and put away for the summer or taken out for the winter. Windows were washed one last time before winter set in or cleaned from the soot that had accumulated on them from the winter.

We don’t notice such drastic seasonal changes in our homes now with thermostats, which provide almost the same temperatures all year round, and air filters, which give us a dust free environment, but old habits die hard.

I have never really done one or two days of heavy cleaning each season because, like you, I didn’t have the time. What worked best for me was cleaning something each week that would normally be done at Spring cleaning time.

For example, one week when I am vacuuming if I see that the baseboards are getting dusty, I will dust them. If I notice my kitchen curtains need washing, I will toss them in with a load of laundry. If there is one wall the looks dirty in the bathroom, I will clean it on the day I clean the tub.

Anything that is broken down into smaller sections is easier to do. It seems to be easier to find 10 minutes to dust the baseboards than to find one or two days to clean everything.

If you like lists, you could make a list of things which need to be done and pick one or two from the list to do each week. There are 52 weeks in a year. That means you could have a list of 104 things to do and at two per week, you could get most things done easily.

That doesn’t mean that I don’t do a little deep cleaning now and then but usually it is only because I want to and not because I have to. I don’t know if it is some ancient thing built into me or what but I get the urge to start nesting this time of year. I have a strong desire to clean, pull out the winter bedding, clean my closet and get out next seasons clothes.

I want to get my home winterized and ready for the cold so that, when the first snow comes, I can curl up with a good book and read guilt free.



photo by: redjar


  1. i_am_4given says

    Great idea!! And old habits are hard to stop, because I would go nuts for a few days in the fall and in the spring to do some deep house cleaning, but I would be miserable, and that’s not good for anyone.

    So, I am going to start breaking things down and doing the cleaning throughout the year!!

    Thanks for the great tip!!


  2. Anonymous says

    I am pretty much like you Jill, I clean all through the year. However, I guess my main seasonal jobs would be: Clean any pictures, wall hangings or other decorative knicknaks of dust/cooking oil film that accumulates. Wash down all the kitchen cabinets with mild dish soap and coat with lemon oil. Wash kitchen curtains. Wash windows and window sils. Wipe down inside of cabinets.

    I hate to do all these jobs, but if I set a seasonal schedule, I know they will be done at least twice per year.


  3. Jill Cooper says

    Carol this is the perfect example of finding what works for you and doing it. You knew what motivates you and what doesn’t and fit the plan (or cleaning schedule) to you. Great tip.

  4. says

    I am getting ready to do some Fall cleaning today! My husband, who is usually home during the day, is out driving his parents around for doctor’s appointments all day today. I am going to work hard to have some sweet smelling clean surprises when he returns–tired and ready to drop into a chair and rest. And I think I’ll bake up some goodies while I’m at it! Thanks for the great reminders though…I do prefer to do a little each week so I don’t get too overwhelmed…I’m just in an Autumn nesting phase right now. We just moved into our house in April so I am still getting things settled in.

  5. says


    Thank you for your wisdom. Based on the ages of your daughter and grandchildren, I think you and I are of the same generation; but you continue to teach and/or remind me of good common sense. Thanks so much!

    • says

      BJ (nice name :) it’s Tawra’s oldest name), I am so amazed how often I learn something new. I keep thinking at my “ripe old”age I would have it figured out by now. What really kills me are those things I learn and think “That is so simple. Why didn’t I think of that sooner!!???”

  6. Kathy says

    Here’s a great recipe for an all natural cleaner I found on the web. I was amazed at how well it works, especially for cleaning a scummy tub.

    Mix any iquid dish detergent with about a cup of baking soda until it forms a thick gel. Cover and store with scrubber sponge (the ones that don’t scratch). Wonderful for cleaning tubs, showers, sinks, counters, etc. Really makes things shine!

  7. rose says

    well .. i just made a list of my spring cleaning .. hoping to get started this week .. some things will take a bit longer than others and i am hoping to have all done (this includes a few repairs i want done too … like there is a huge tree with all the branches going everywhere in the backyard, i want that trimmed down, but have to call the landlord for that) …
    i am hoping to have all this extra cleaning and de-cluttering done no later than march 1st! ..
    we are planning on moving .. so its time to get rid of alot of things again ..
    thanks for the timely post on this …

    • says

      My Rose once you get on a roll you really go for it. You are working like crazy cleaning. Good for you. Oh I hope you can get moved okay. I know you have been talking about wanting to move but didn’t know it was going to be this soon. I am so tickled for you.

  8. barb~ says

    I set a goal of getting rid of 30 items tomorrow. I am trying to move soon, also. Jill- think you said to really got rid of a lot of clothes when you got. You said it helped reduce stress, if I remember correctly.

    I was diagonsed with FM on Friday. It’s really good to finally know what’s wrong with me-the pain, aching, etc. My DR. put me on Savella-in just three days I feel SO much better!!! Pain is almost gone. Have you or Tawra every tried it?

    • says

      Barb, I’ve tried it and it did help for a few weeks and the I went “nuts” on it. Every anti-depressant I’ve tried has made me very moody so I stopped them. I’ve pretty much tried them all.

    • says

      Barb, for me what happens when I have a day when I am really sick it is hard to make even the simplest decisions so by narrowing down my choices for things like clothes it helps me not to stress over trying to decide on something. Does that make sense?
      Hope you are batting down the hatches Barb because we are about to get lambasted with ice and snow. Be careful if you go out and stay in if you can.

      That goes for everyone getting ready to be hit by this storm.

  9. rose says

    me too jill … i really want to move to orlando but my daughter has been finding really decent and affordable homes here where i live ..
    hubby has so many health issues and well i just want him to be comfortable but he has agreed to go househunting with me (even if its just to sit in the car) ..
    and i promised my mom i would not take any furniture (the beds are super old and well, i personally would like to update ours.. hubby and i have twins and we would like full and son has a full but he just wants a newer mattress (he needs one but i refuse, just refuse, to buy another one until we move!) …
    thanks for the encouragement …
    yes i am on a roll but i also want this to be a very smooth (as smooth as i can get it) move! ..
    even tho i say that, i kist know its not going to be but i can always try..
    thanks for the encouraging words jill ..
    i will keep u posted on my progress…

  10. barb~ says

    It makes lots of sense, Jill. I am burdened with entirely too much stuff-things left over from my married life and things my adult children still want me to store for them. I’m trying to move and sell a lot of it. I know I will just get pennies on the dollar, but every penny will help at this point.

    I understand about reducing stress in any lttle way possible. Just the stress of knowing I’m sick is stressful!! Know what mean??

    The snow is supposed to start now in the mid morning, and then blizzard conditions of 40 mi. an hour winds and up to 16 inches of snow. I think we’re headed for another Ice Age-to heck with Global Warming! NYC has had the worst month for snow since the began keeping records! I hope you all keep safe. Might be a good day to make some comfort food tomorrow. Do you have any good ideas?

    Bless you all!

    • says

      Barb to me is anything you can bake in the oven like cinnamon rolls, cookies, banana bread. My favorite is probably to put on a pot of soup, curl up with a cup of tea and a book making homemade dinner rolls later to go with the soup. The best dream of all would be my own personal chef making it all for me with a maid to bring it to me. HA!HA! A girl can dream can’t she. :):)

  11. rose says

    i like ur thinking jill .. a good book, a pot of stew .. some homemade rolls and some homemade cinni buns for dessert to go with the tea ..
    and yes, a lovely dream .. having a personal chef to do all of this for you ..
    i hope u r all warm and safe with all of this snow and cold ..
    not gloating or bragging but its like 70 something here in central fl .. please send some cold our way .. i love the cold .. (so does my son) ..
    we want to enjoy the colder weather a bit longer bc b4 u know it, its super hot again.. ugh! ..
    and barb u might be right . we might be in for another ice age .. nj (where my sister lives) says she cant remember all the snow and cold that they have gotten for the last couple of yrs (along with this yr too) ..
    please stay safe and warm ..
    jill do you have any pets to keep u company? .. just curiuos ..
    we have 2 dogs and 2 cats .. the dogs stay with my son at nite in his room and the cats stay in the living room with me (hubby has had our bedroom since he had all his amputations/bypasses, so he could recover and heal and it is really quiet) .. this was yrs ago but we just left the house as it was since then ..

    • says

      No Rose I don’t have a cat or a dog. I have usually had a cat and dog all the time most of my life. The last cat and dog I had we had had for many years before I go sick but then when I got sick the dog was also getting old. It was really hard on me to take care of him (we treat our animals like family members and then some) but I was having to lift him on and off the bed,couch etc, get up at night with him which none of that I would normally have minded but I was so weak and sick it was very hard for me to do.

      Then when he died it literally broke my heart. I was a basket case to say the least. As much as I wouldn’t mine having one again I know I really can’t physically do it and it was getting very expensive for me too. I was paying almost as much in vet bills as dr bills for me.

      I am not lonely at all though. I babysit the neighbors dog all the time, then I have 2 grandcats and a granddog which I take care of often too so I am not lonely for a pet. HA!HA!

  12. says

    I am going to have to hire my house cleaner back. She owes me money and can’t pay so if I get her to clean for me I will at least get a clean house for it.
    She is not all that good at the little things so I was wondering what is the best cleaner made or brand name I don’t really care to clean greasy walls in the kitchen, and for cleaning appliances that never seem to stay clean.
    I will have her wash all the walls and floors downstairs and do the windows every 2 weeks and the regular stuff every week.
    I have a steamer for doing walls so would that do the greasy walls in the kitchen. I can’t hold it long enough to have tried it. It works great when my husband does the hall way.
    I have old towels for walls and I think they would do a good job on windows am I right?
    I use windex on windows as it is the only thing that seems to work. I prefer vinegar but it just doesn’t cut the grime from the environment.
    Also does anyone have a spider getter ridder. Our basement has them all over the place and I hate them.
    I will have her for about 6 months so I will have time to experiment with different things.
    But this may be the last time I do something to help someone out.

    • says

      I have tried about everything when I was cleaning homes and what I found to work best for greasy grime is Dow Bathroom cleaner. The foaming kind and I prefer that brand because it isn’t as harsh. Vinegar works on grease a little but it is better as a rinse to get rid of things like hard water spots. Ammonia is more of a grease cutter and works best on grease but many don’t like the smell although now they make it so it doesn’t smell.

      But I still prefer my dow. It clings to the surface in such a way I don’t have to do much scrubbing. One example I always use was I did a home once which the people had smoked for about 50 years in this house. All the walls and cabinets in the kitchen had this thick yellow brown film on it. You could almost peel it it was so thick. My daughter in law who was helping me just shook her head and said no way will we get this clean. I said let me try my dow. I sprayed it across the top of the cabinets and left the room for just a couple of minutes. When I went back this thick black gooey stuff was just rolling down and off the cabinets. I took a wet rag and in one swipe it was clean.

      If you are doing something like a wall you don’t have to cover the whole wall just spray across the top and maybe a strip across the middle and let it go to work.

      As far as your windows go if they are extra grimy I just wipe them with soapy water to get most of the grime off then go over with vinegar. I also got some car window cleaner in a spray bottle (I think it was Mr. Clean) for free once and it worked really good but what I love best is called Sprayway Glass Cleaner. Oddly enough it is a foam window cleaner. I find it at Wal Mart and is usually on the bottom shelf where the windex and things are.

      I do hate pushing our books but I have spent a bunch of time writing all of this info in our e books like or cleaning series . It just takes a lot of time and room to write as much as I would like to so that is why I did the e book. For those of you who need more tips and suggestions you might check these out.

      Here are 2 recipes for cleaners from Dining on a Dime if anyone wants to make their own.

      All Purpose Cleaner

      Window Cleaner

      1/2 cup ammonia
      2 cups rubbing alcohol
      1 tsp. dishwashing liquid

      Mix ammonia, alcohol in 1 gallon container and fill to top with water. Add dishwashing detergent and mix.
      * Alcohol is the secret ingredient that most commercial window washers use. I didn’t mention it above but I do love alcohol to shine windows, mirrors or faucets.

      • Sheri says

        Yes. When my bathroom mirrors are dirty, I just use straight alcohol on some toilet paper to wipe them clean. It does a great job! But for some reason, it doesn’t do as well on my windows. That’s where I use the window cleaner.

        Have you tried those magic sponges on your walls? Those are great! I do have to follow up with a wet rag, but it does remove plenty of dirt that I had trouble with before. I find my wall sponges at Grocery Outlet, 3/$1. No soap required! Just water on that sponge!

  13. says

    I think you said the e books are not available in Canada.
    Would like to get them but not enough to move to the states.
    Will try your suggestions. Not sure about dow being available here but will look.

    • says

      Grandma I forgot to mention too – depending on the towel of course but usually they leave lint behind so I have found old name brand diapers are the best for shining windows with no lint (cheaper diapers can leave lint) but also I love my old cotton flour sack towels best. I have heard bar keepers towels work good too but have never tried them and am not sure where to get them.

      Years ago I used newspaper but when the black ink kept getting on my hands I wasn’t sure but that maybe it was getting on my windows too so stopped using it. Not sure on that one.

  14. says

    Thankfully she likes those micro fibre cloths and since Don bought a bunch she can use those. They drive my hands nuts and I get exema from them.

    I stopped using newspapers when newspapers became more expensive than paper towels.
    well not really but they are expensive here and except for one we pay more and get them a day or two late.

    rags are good.

  15. Maggie says

    I thought it was just me. Those microfiber towels make my hands feel really weird. I can barely stand to touch them. My daughter swears by them but I am struggling to use them. Maybe I will use them for washing my windows and wear rubber gloves when I do them.

  16. Grizzly Bear Mom says

    Although I am allergic to everything with fumes, I do use DOW Scrubbing Bubbles in the tub because it makes the job so much easier. I spray it on, let it set until the fumes go away, and wipe it off. I’m thinking of installing one of those daily spay itself ones before I go away for a weekend.
    I used newspapers to clean windows and it did well. It’s the ammonia in the paper and the thickness of the paper and abrades the scum off.
    I hurt my shoulder scrubbing the tub and floor. Been bothering me since July and now I have to go to PT. As I always say, housework is hazardous to your health but one has to stay clean and organized.

    • says

      Yes I agree. To me Dow is probably my favorite cleaning product although like I have said before even though I like it for the bathroom my favorite place to use it is in the kitchen and places where there is greasy gummy build up. My daughter in law and I cleaned homes for awhile and one of them had light colored cabinets covered with a brownish yellow gunk from nicotine. If was so thick you could almost peel it. My DIL said there is no way we can clean that stuff off. I had my doubts too but I said lets at least try the Dow. I sprayed it on and left to clean some other things. When I checked back the stuff was just melting off of the cabinets. No scrubbing was needed. We just wiped them down.

  17. Simplesista says

    Hi! We don’t have Dow that u mention in England. I use mr muscle. It’s quite expensive but it does have half price offers on it often, so I get it then. I only use a tiny amount, spray, leave and go do another job, come back and briefly wipe then rinse off. Leaves everything very sparkly! Although I’m still cleaning my bath as I’m still in it- I have a scrunchie specially that I keep at the side, then I lather it with the my own soapy hands from my shampoo or shower gel and rinse as I get out. Equally as shiny as mr muscle! I think,Jill, the secret must be in the scrubbing and not the cleaner?! Lol! Ps I’m still keeping up to date with all my cleaning and tidying from when I mentioned it last! Happy!
    Best wishes from a starry night in England,xxxx

    • says

      It sounds like you are really doing good. It is funny you said you think it is the scrubbing action that does it because the commercial for our Dow has these little round guys that call themselves scrubbing bubbles and they say that is why it works so good. One thing you might try if you take baths a lot and that is to always add something like a little bubble bath to your bath water as you are filling the tub. I never had a ring around my bathtub when I did this. I put a couple of squirts of dish detergent in for the boys in the family and for myself sometimes too. I said bubble bath because I thought it might be more delicate for ladies. Lots of people did this years ago and it prevented you from having to wash the tub super good each time. Now if a guy worked as an auto mechanic all day you might still have to clean it but not generally.
      Keep up the good “work” (literally :). I don’t think you will go back to your old ways because you have been at it so long now it has become a habit with you.

      This is off of the subject but I watched 3 hours of English murder mysteries yesterday and could not get enough of the beautiful green scenery.


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