We believe that cleaning, like karate, has different levels of mastery. There are those who can drop-kick a closet full of dust bunnies in seconds, and those (like us) who aren't the sloppiest kid in the class, but fall way behind the black belts. Whether you're a beginner or a master, we've provided a fall cleaning checklist that will match your skill level.
- White Belt: It's not exactly a seasonal checklist, but FlyLady's Crisis Cleaning Guide breaks up the art of the binge clean into 15-minute intervals. Baby steps.
- Yellow Belt: You probably thought Martha Stewart's seasonal cleaning checklist would require the skills of a brown or black belt, but it's a surprisingly simple guide with only one or two feats of strength. (We'd personally skip the suggestion to wipe down the ceiling.)
- Orange Belt: TLC Home's fall cleaning guide is broken up into 5 major categories. You'll feel the burn with tasks like cleaning the furnace and deep-cleaning the carpets.
- Blue Belt: The fall cleaning guide from How Stuff Works has a long list of indoor and outdoor tasks, ranging from wiping down light fixtures to cleaning the gutters.
- Green Belt: Zabitatz includes a lot of the same suggestions as the other checklists mentioned, but steps it up a notch with instructions to clean the grill, chimney, refrigerator coils, and storm window screens.
- Purple Belt: In comparison to the rest of the bunch, Real Simple's fall cleaning checklist is surprisingly complex, with tips to touch up exterior house paint, declutter the attic, and caulk around doors and windows.
- Brown Belt: Not for the novice cleaner, Organized Home provides a detailed checklist that covers everything from stocking up on sidewalk salt to draining sediment from hot water heaters.
- Black Belt: The Home Know-It-All provides a list that's deceptively short. They expect some serious cleaning skills from their readers, with tasks that include cleaning out the garage, inspecting the chimney, and checking the roof shingles.
Photo: splityarn licensed via Creative Commons