"Spring cleaning" suggests that we're okay with wallowing in our filth all winter. Perhaps we hope the dim, pale light of a distant sun will hide the dust and let us off mucking out the vege bin. But there's a lot to be said for autumn cleaning, sprucing up the place before hunkering down in front of Netflix until the tulip bulbs once again fail to come up.

1. As opposed to the weekly-ish once-over-lightly with the vacuum, a full clean requires a bit of prep. Latex gloves protect your hands and give you a ruthless air of surgical precision. A headscarf channels the determined work ethic of Rosie the Riveter. Matching red lipstick is optional, as it gets everywhere and creates even more work, such as explaining it to your wife. You should otherwise be nude. No really, because you're only going to get your clothes dirty and then you'd have to do laundry and nothing is worth that. Close the venetians (which will reminds you they need dusting, good luck) and try not to scare any couriers.

2. Autumn is a great time to clean because summer is the season of the flyspot. Baby wipes easily dab them away. If the problem is serious, use a paint scraper or flick a bit of brown paint around with a toothbrush and tell people Mottled Sepia is the new warm neutral. For prevention, cultivate spiders. The world's spiders consume the equivalent of the world's human population in insect meat every year. Letting them live in your corners and eat little buzzing things is just a way of keeping them from moving on to the main course. Throw a bit of glitter into the cobwebs and call it an artisanal garland.

3. Definitely do the bathroom, because if you put it off again it really will be entirely black and you'll have to nail the door shut and rig a solar shower in the carport. Shine the mirrors and taps first, as if you get interrupted (for example, by the need to open another bottle of Cleaning Wine) it will still look like you cleaned it. Polish until you can admire your headscarf in the taps, then stop doing that. Scrub the bath with the latest in miracle bath cleaners. Ignore any product that mentions soap scum - there's no such thing. That weird beige film is your dissolved body grease solidified on to the porcelain. Cleaning is gross and you just have to accept it.


4. When you've finally finished and the house glows like a phone screen in a cinema, it's time to clean yourself. Except the shower is so pristine it would be a bit tragic to get your lipstick and nude skin grease all over it. Never mind; just blot yourself with baby wipes until spring.