Monday, March 30, 2015

Why You Should Do An Annual Spring Cleaning


I'll admit it.  I have yet to do a full-house spring cleaning....ever.  And I've owned homes for fourteen years!  Maybe you're like me and you have good intentions.  You start spring cleaning, but then get overwhelmed after a day or two and decide you'll get to the other tasks next week, which turns into next month, which turns into next year again.  And then you have another year's worth of dirt and grime all over the place.

The problem is that your regular household duties like laundry, making dinner, getting groceries and helping the kids with homework don't stop during spring cleaning.  So your piling on more work on top of your already overstretched schedule.

But spring cleaning is very important and shouldn't be put off.  If you should ever need to sell your house quickly, you'll be so ahead of the game if you've kept up with annual cleanings.  What would normally take you over a month could probably be accomplished in a week or two if you didn't have so much grime to banish.

So we know we need to do it and we know that it takes a lot of extra work and effort.  So how can we tackle this and stay sane?

The key is to divide it into steps and tackle the most essential spring cleaning tasks first.  These are the tasks that you almost never get to during regular cleaning and really only tackle once a year.  Here's how to work it all out.  We've put together a four week schedule that should help you get the most important (i.e. most neglected) tasks done while still leaving you some space to stay sane.

Week 1:  Setting The Stage To Clean

During week one you are going to work hard, but you're not actually going to be doing any spring cleaning.  You're going to plan it out and tackle some normal household duties to clear room for the coming weeks of spring cleaning.

  • Plan quick and easy meals ahead of time - get out your calendar, figure out which days you're going to devote to cleaning (days that don't have a lot of running kids around) then find your easiest recipes or those that only require a crock pot.  And by all means do not forget lots of paper plates and plastic forks!
  • Get groceries...lots of groceries!  With shopping list in hand based on the meals you planned, you're gonna shop like there's no tomorrow.  Have everything on hand to make your easy meals, have lots of snacks, and decide that you won't die if you don't have fresh produce for a couple of weeks other than apples and oranges.
  • Set a cleaning schedule and determine the supplies you'll need.  Again, try to devote big chunks of time to cleaning.  Not just 2 hours, but whole days if you can or at the very least an entire morning or afternoon.
  • Get any cleaning supplies you will need. 
  • Enlist help whenever you can find it.  It will make everything faster and more fun to have company.
  • Be okay with letting the rest of the house go for a couple of weeks.  Each night enlist your family to help you straighten everything up so you can stay somewhat sane.  But let dirty sinks and unwashed floors go for a couple weeks.
  • Find some good tunes that will keep you motivated.  Whether you download a bunch of tracks to your phone or have a bunch of old CD's that you can play, make your time upbeat and fun.

Week 2:  Low and High Woodwork

We neglect almost everything that is way below or way above our eyesight.  This means baseboards, the tops of cabinets, and ceiling fans.  Spend the week tackling these areas.

First vacuum or sweep off the top layer of dust.  Then fill a bucket with your favorite cleaning solution for wood and hit the baseboards in the entire house.  Work from low to high.  Next tackle stair railings, raised panels, built-ins and lower kitchen cabinets.  Then grab the ladder and start hitting the high points like upper cabinets - including the tops, door frames and ceiling fans.  It's amazing how clean everything looks when your woodwork is shiny and spotless.

Week 3:  Work on Walls

Walls are something we neglect unless its to quickly clean up a big splatter.  But clean walls feel so good!  You will use different cleaning solutions based on the type of paint that you have on each wall, but plain old dish soap and water work well on most.  And don't forget those magic erasers!

While you're washing, carry a notebook around with you and note areas that need repair that you can get to at another time.  It's so easy to over look little dings and scratches when you're going about your day to day.  Make a list of repairs needed and then set aside time at a later date to Spackle, sand and repaint these areas.

Week 4:  Kitchen and Laundry

This final week, you're going to spend in your workhorse rooms.  In the kitchen, clean inside all your cabinets, and maybe put down new contact paper while you're at it.  Pull out your appliances and clean under and behind them (have help with this).  Wipe down all your chairs and stools, too.  Clean in the corners on the floors where the mop never can reach.

In the laundry room, do a thorough cleaning of your washer and dryer.  Pull them out and clean behind and under them as well.

Source:  Michelle Schwake for Stafford Family Realtors

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