Thursday, April 2, 2009

Spring Cleaning Tips

When the kids were little, the house was small, and I had unlimited energy, I would attack the our home with gusto and have it done in no time. Now, however, we have a large house, have accumulated lots of stuff and my schedule has many outside requirements. Not to mention that I'm twenty years older!

Now I need a schedule and a plan. If I didn't I'd be easily overwhelmed and inefficient.

Some random bits of advice and tips for your Spring Cleaning:
1. Divide and conquer.
2. Start small and easy.
3. Decide what areas bug you the most.
4. Be content with the messy process.
5. Designate a spot for "get rid of" pile.
6. Don't let children near your "get rid of" pile.
7. Be ruthless with your junk.
8. Make detailed lists. The more you can cross off the happier you'll feel.
9. Have the right cleaners on hand.
10. Have ziploc bags, plastic bins, etc so that you can organize and store your things.
11. Enlist the help of your kids. Bribes and rewards work well.
12. Don't bite off more than you can chew in a day.
13. Reward yourself with your favorite treats.
14. Assign negotiable tasks to your children; non-negotiable, must-be-done-in-a-certain-way jobs are yours alone.
15. Don't underestimate the power of caffeine and well-timed sugar.
16. Cleaning days are NOT cooking days. Frozen pizzas or MacDonald's is more than OK.
17. Resist the temptation to get overwhelmed or discouraged. Life is a process, not a destination.
18. Play "happy music" in the background. The faster the beat, the faster you'll work.
19. Wear comfortable clothes & shoes. Who wants to bend over or crawl on the floor in tight jeans?
20. Enjoy! Working hard feels good and nothing compares to a clean, well-ordered room, closet or drawer. Even if it only lasts a few hours!

I started with the front hall closet. This was the smallest and least complicated area in the house. (Early success is a key!) Completely emptied out, I swept and wiped down the shelves. I decided that only half of the items would go back. Some coats were put away for the season, but many went in the box headed for Goodwill. I store our abundance of tableclothes in bins on the floor of the closet. All were measured, labelled and had their pictures taken. Someday, I'll put together a digital inventory.

This week I tackled the upstairs bathroom. The closet on that room had been a source of irritation for a long time. Linens and toiletries were so intermingled that no one knew where to put things any more. Again, my strategy is to empty, clean, sort, organize and then put things back. Three large bags of garbage went out from the closet, drawers and cupboards. Every inch was scrubbed clean. Ahhh ..... I find myself going in and opening the closet or drawers just to see how tidy they are!

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