Add These 5 Things to Your Fall Cleaning Routine and You Can Skip Spring Cleaning Completely

published Oct 2, 2019
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Credit: Joe Lingeman/Apartment Therapy

Whenever I think about The House that Cleans Itself, I get a bit nostalgic because it was my first article ever on Apartment Therapy. The really interesting (and far more relevant) thing, though, is that almost six years, three kids, and about a thousand more square feet to clean later, I still use just about the same cleaning schedule as the one I outlined in that article. It’s not because I haven’t tried changing things up. It’s just that breaking things down into manageable daily chunks is still the best way I’ve found to keep my house reasonably clean most of the time. Nothing stays dirty longer than a week, but I never have to clean all at once.

There’s another little secret tucked into that weekly cleaning schedule, and it’s what I’ve called the “big to-dos.” Even if you don’t clean with a weekly cleaning schedule like mine, incorporating similar tasks into your regular fall cleaning routine might mean you can skip spring cleaning entirely.

With six months until spring cleaning, you have plenty of time to break down larger cleaning tasks into bite-sized pieces that you work on for 10 to 30 minutes each week.

Here are some examples for “spring cleaning” tasks broken down into smaller components:

This can be done incrementally, either by room or by type of task. For instance, you could do the windows in one room on one day, and in another room the next opportunity your “big to-do” time crops up on your schedule. Alternately, you could dust all the window frames one time and then clean all the inside window panes another time. Cleaning window tracks could take a few “big to-do” times, but once you work through all the window cleaning tasks, a big chore can be checked off.

Curtain Cleaning

This is an extension of the window cleaning, but also includes shower curtains. You can use your “big to-do” to take down one set of curtains or shower curtains (both the outer curtain and the liner), wash it, and hang it back up. Or, you can steam them. Pretty painlessly, all the curtains in your house will be clean before spring cleaning season even starts.

Credit: Joe Lingeman/Kitchn

Appliance Cleaning

Deep cleaning your big and small appliances might seem like very involved tasks, but much of this is a mental hurdle. You can thoroughly clean a microwave or toaster oven in the time allotted to your “big to-do.” More mammoth chores like cleaning the oven can be broken down into a few steps, if necessary.

Credit: Viv Yapp

Cleaning Exterior Doors

You may not realize how many exterior doors you have or how dirty they are until you decide to clean them, but trust me: Your entries and exits, including doors, thresholds, and frames, need cleaning. Break this down by location or task (such as taking a Magic Eraser to the door frame interior) and insert these in your “big to-do” time slot.

Credit: Joe Lingeman/Apartment Therapy


Rather than letting hot spots go unchecked for months (I’m looking at you, closet floor and kitchen junk drawer!) or leaving piles of stuff untouched indefinitely, build decluttering into your cleaning routine. Keeping the time short may actually make you more efficient and decisive about what you keep because the chore won’t feel insurmountable.