Fall Cleaning Challenge Week 2: Tackle The Middle Spaces

Fall Cleaning Challenge

Hey, Fall Cleaning Challenge-takers!

How did cleaning those high-up, often-neglected spots go for you last week?

Photographic evidence of how it went for me


Ugh. But you know what? This actually wasn’t as much filth as I thought I’d find on those fan blades and light fixtures, and the majority of that dirt came from two rooms – the tops of the door frames in the kitchen and the window frames in the living room.

For some reason the windows and door frames in the kids’ bedrooms and entire upstairs hardly turned up any dust or dirt at all. Anyone want to venture a guess why? (It’s certainly not because they see regular cleaning.)  

If you read last week’s post you know that I’m following my mother’s advice and working from the top of each room down – that way, dust and dirt that falls from up near the ceiling will be eventually tackled when we get to lower surfaces, which wouldn’t work nearly so well in reverse. (One big caveat: I did not include kitchen appliances in zone 1, even the top of the fridge, because I like to combine “like” tasks with like so I’ll be doing all the appliances at once.)

And really, Zone 1 – which I defined as those “up high” spaces that often get neglected, like the tops of door frames and window frames, high shelves, cobwebby ceiling corners, fan blades and light fixtures – didn’t take too long to clean when I got right down to it. It was just the “getting right down to it” part that was the challenge.

The tasks themselves didn’t seem too momentous, but somehow the prospect of having to lug the stepladder and vacuum and all the cleaning supplies upstairs caused a mental block and I procrastinated. Then, rather than working in small daily chunks like I’d planned, I wound up doing the whole house in about an hour and a half one day.

But actually, since I was just moving from room to room repeating the same tasks over and over, lumping it all together made it really efficient. So if you haven’t tackled Zone 1 yet and can spare an hour or two to just knock the whole job out at once, you should be able to catch up pretty quickly.

This week, we’re moving on to Zone 2 – the in-between spots.

I’ve defined Zone 2 as:

  • Windows. (I know, I know. But I’m only planning to do the INSIDES, if that helps any…)
  • Vacuuming window wells and cleaning sills 
  • Dusting furniture, TVs, lamps, electronics, and book shelves.
  • Wiping down dirty spots on walls and door frames

Whew – that seems like plenty for one week, yes? Especially if you live in a house that’s full of windows, like I do.

Tools/Supplies you’ll need: 

For Zone 1, I really just used the vacuum, some rags and a gentle all-purpose cleaner. But for Zone 2 I’ll be using some more specialized tools and supplies:

  • Dusting spray or a microfiber cloth.
  • A Magic Eraser for ground-in dirt on walls and door frames
  • Glass cleaner for windows and TVs
  • Streak-free cleaning cloths for windows. Hey, if I’m going to go through all the hassle of doing the windows, I want them to SPARKLE!

Speaking of windows: my husband just informed me that his mom really didn’t want to do the windows in her house, so she wound up hiring a professional window washer and was very surprised by how relatively inexpensive it was. They already have all the supplies and know-how needed for the job, which counts for a lot. 

So if you just can’t see how you’re going to get to that part of the job but have some wiggle room in your budget, you might want to consider hiring out just that part. From what I’ve been able to find, a pro might charge anywhere from $4 – $8 per window, or $145-ish to clean all the windows, inside and out, in a typical house. For a job that doesn’t need to be done very often you might just find that it’s worth the investment.

This seems like plenty for a single week of work, hm? I’m still shooting for no more than 30 minutes a day of deep cleaning on top of my regular cleaning chores, so it’s possible I will find I’ve bitten off more than I can chew this week. 

Please weigh in and let us know how Zone 1 went for you and if you have any tips, tricks or techniques to make the job easier for your fellow fall cleaners!

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  1. Bruno
  2. Maria