Spring cleaning may be THE “official” time of year to declutter your apartment, but fall also offers an ideal opportunity to declutter. With temperatures cooling and the urge to open your windows getting stronger thanks to the start of autumn on September 22, it’s time to do another refresh – if you spring cleaned as well.

“Not only is cleaning your home a health benefit, but it also leaves an impression on guests,” says Lorraine Brock, Founder and President of Get Organized!, a certified woman-owned professional organizing company based in Richardson, Texas. “If people are at my home, I want them to feel comfortable.”

Brock, a member of the National Association of Professional Organizers and National Association of Senior Move Managers, runs her business and offers classes and in-store organization workshops at IKEA.

The chore may seem daunting, but taking it room by room over the course of a few days or weekends will make the process feel less taxing with the same ultimate reward. So, we’ve decided to present four blog posts over the course of the next few days to help you pace yourself when the time comes to dig in and do the deed. Today, we’ll tackle the living room, with the bedroom, closet and kitchen on tap.

The Living Room

Messy apartment living room

The living room is the face of your apartment home. It’s where you entertain loved ones and spend a large quantity of your time. Before getting out your heavy-duty gear to clean, simply open your windows for better air quality and circulation. Not only does it help bring in fresh air, but it also pushes out stagnant air.

Start your living room cleanup with big picture tasks, then move to the smaller details. Clean and dust big furniture items including couches, TV stands, coffee tables, curtains or blinds. Chances are, your rag or duster is dirty if you’ve left it unattended for several months. Be sure to wash your dusting cloth before wiping down your living room surfaces. After cleaning your most noticeable items, focus on smaller aspects such as baseboards, décor, lamps and ceiling fans. Vacuuming or mopping your floors is an easy next step.

“People often clean the areas that are most used like countertops and the floors,” Brock said. “But you forget the baseboards, corners, air vents and the ceiling. Those are the types of things you’ve got to get on a rotating basis with your spring or fall cleaning.”

Don’t forget to wash any rugs or door mats you may have. These can be laundered out on a monthly basis and left on your patio or balcony to air dry - just make sure they’re not hanging on the railing, which could violate a rule at your apartment community.

If you live with children, finding attractive storage that effectively organizes toys can be a challenge. Experts at The Container Store recommend focusing on the material of the storage to maintain a stylish atmosphere in your living room. If your child usually plays with his or her toys in the common living room area, choose storage boxes made from natural materials, like bamboo or wicker, that you can quickly and attractively display on a shelf when company comes over.

The professionals also say to use containers of different colors to organize different types of toys. Label containers if they are not see-through so your child can immediately identify what's inside. For younger children, you may want to take a photo of the toy and place that photo on the outside of the box so it's easy to know at a glance what belongs in the box.”

Deep cleaning your living room is a great first step in your fall cleaning process. Not only is it one of the most used part of the home, it’s  also the most important when it comes to entertaining guests. If you’re looking to clean green, watch our video for a few additional tips.

Living Room Checklist

  • Open windows
  • Vacuum, mop or broom the floor
  • Put any rugs or mats in the laundry machine
  • Wipe down large furnishings including tables, couches and book cases
  • Dust or wash curtains and blinds
  • Move onto cleaning banisters, baseboards, ceiling fans, lamps and décor
  • Wipe down air vents

Fall Cleaning Series

  • Bedroom: A clean slumber space means a refreshed state of mind. Want it? Find out how.
  • Closet: Are you sure you’ll wear that? Get advice on how to declutter the home to your clothes and shoes.
  • Kitchen: The holidays are approaching. So if you’ll be cooking, you better fall clean with these helpful tips.

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