Summer Savings for the Fall: Cleaning BEFORE and AFTER

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6 Cleaning Hacks to Save Time

There's a lot of talk about spring cleaning, but not nearly as much attention is paid to summer and fall cleaning. Spring cleaning is popular in part for its psychological boost — after a season spent cooped up indoors, spring is eagerly awaited and cleaning is a great way to prepare one's self for the lifestyle change that comes with warmer weather.

But summer has plenty of cause of cleaning, especially after kids have had their run of the house during their school break. At the start of summer as well as when the fall season appears on the horizon, there are plenty of things you can do to shape up your house. Here are a few tips.

Clean and store school supplies (and then pull them out)

Your children probably don't need their backpacks and other school supplies during the summer — in fact, they'd probably be happy to never see them. So grant their wish by storing away unused supplies and washing backpacks before putting them away. Now that the school year has arrived, you can dispense leftover supplies as needed and refill their backpacks, but as long as school's out, there's no need for them to take up space in your home.

Remove unwanted nests from around your home

You might be fond of birds nesting by your home, but other nests — such as those made by bees, wasps, ants and termites — could pose a safety threat to your family. The longer you allow these nests to exist, the tougher — and more expensive — they'll be to remove. At the start of summer and then at the beginning of fall, go around your home and check for any bug infestations. If you can't take care of them on your own, bring in an exterminator to eliminate the problem.

Give floors a thorough cleaning

Children can track all kinds of things in on their feet. Mud and dirt from the backyard, sand from the beach — it's easy for these to find their way into your home and nestle into corners and carpet fibers. Take time at the end of the summer to thoroughly clean all of your floors to clear out these unwanted sediments. For mud and other stains, hire carpet cleaners and give your floors a nice wash.

Cleaning up outdoor toys for storage

Once school starts and temperatures cool, your children will have little need for pool toys and other objects that were once vital to their summer fun. Give all of these toys a good wash before tucking them away for the year. Rinse off dust and mud with a hose. For other contaminants, such as the chlorine from pool water, mix 1/3 cup chlorine bleach in with one gallon of water, then wash and rinse the objects. You can do the same with plastic tablecloths, metal or plastic outdoor furniture and other outdoor accessories.

Do a dusting and give an allergy check

The summer is a prime time for allergies to harass your family members. Pollen in the air is hard to avoid, but other allergens can be managed to protect your family. Do a solid dusting of the entire home to remove potential irritants from the air. Make sure furnace filters have been replaced. While it's nice to open the windows and enjoy the summer air, if you have anyone in your home with very sensitive allergies, it may be best to keep windows closed — especially at peak allergy times.

A little cleaning can go a long way in helping you transition from one season to the next. With kids spending their summers carousing with friends and having fun, parents should be even more vigilant in keeping up with cleaning and preventing messes before they start. Make a cleaning plan for the summer can take some of the stress out of managing a household and make the summer itself a more pleasant experience.

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