Saturday, April 19, 2014

Show and Tell Saturday: Spring Cleaning

This week started my Spring Cleaning around here. I'm hitting it harder than I ever have before. It's taking me longer to clean than I thought, but I'm blaming that mostly on having a constant cleaning buddy who thinks that if I'm not looking at him that I've abandoned him. Good thing he's cute. ;) I've started Spring Cleaning before and have bummed out before I even got 1/4 of the way through. This year I am bound and determined to have a successful Spring Cleaning session. So I started looking through Pinterest and Google for tips, lists, and ideas. So far it seems to be going good. I'll share what I've found and what has worked out for me so far. 

First, I found me a list. Two lists actually. I love making lists, but I figured seeing someone else's list would help me make my list.

So here are the lists that I found:

I copied and pasted them into Word, combining them room by room. I got the list condensed down, deleting duplicates, taking out rooms we don't have in our house, putting check boxes by each item, and putting it into columns to reduce the number of pages (I love efficiency). I had a ball making the list. I love lists. I think I've mentioned that before. Someday, I should make a list of all the reasons why I love making lists.


At the top of my list I had these instructions (which I condensed from this site):
1.       Work from one end of your house to the other.
2.       Plan some easy meals for the days you will spend cleaning.  
3.       As you clean, keep a list of any jobs you notice that need to be done around the house.  Don't get distracted by these chores during your cleaning, save them for when you are done. 
4.       Keep another list of things you notice you need. 

5.       Take an empty laundry basket and pile in it anything you need your hubby to sort through.

So I had my list, thank you Pinterest. Next, I knew I wanted to declutter as I went along. We have more things stuffed in this house than two adults and a baby need. I'm tired of cleaning it all up. As I go through each room I am thinning out and decluttering. My two guides for this are two pins I found on Pinterest as well:
I printed the list of questions out and wrote the quote from William Morris on the side and kept that paper with my cleaning checklist. I already have 3 large black trash bags of things to give away. So excited to get rid of extra stuff! It was beginning to own us, and it feels so much better to get it out. 

Now, the cleaning:

In previous years I tried to take one task and carry it out all through the house and then move on to the next task. For example, I'd clean all the windows in the house, then move on to wiping down the base boards, then cleaning the ceiling fans, then move on to finding a good book and just "finishing that chapter", then making a pot of Mac and Cheese and eating it all myself, then hopping on Facebook and my Spring Cleaning went out the window. I really liked the idea of just starting at one end of the house and going room by room. So that's what I've done this year. I'm now 1/3 of the way through my house! That doesn't sound like much of an achievement, but let me tell you what that's doing for me. I now have 3 rooms (the Master Bath, the Master Bedroom, and Darrow's Room) completely finished, and those rooms feel heavenly. I just want to sit in there and read or paint or sing or turn an old dryer into a hang glider. Those rooms just feel light and free and my creative juices get going and I feel happy. This makes me want to get the rest of my house that way. I want my whole house to be a place where ideas can flow and where it just feels good. Every room I get done makes me excited to start the next. That one tip, going room by room from one end of the house to the other, has made such a huge difference. 

The next biggest help has been the checklist. I've done deep cleaning before, but just running off a list I made in my head. Inevitably I always forget something or I just quit. For my personality, having a list in front of me is a challenge that I can't back down from. I have to check off everything on that list or I've let the list beat me. If you know what motivates you and/or keeps you working best, then use that to your advantage! The lists also helped me to not forget the little jobs. I found it easy to look around the room and think, "Oh good! I'm done!" only to find "Clean the doorknobs" or "Scrub the switchplates" still unchecked on the list. Those little details really made the room sparkle. As I move from room to room I have with me my checklist of spring cleaning chores, my list of declutter questions, as well as my lists of honey-do's for each room, items each room needs, and ideas I was getting for each room as I clean it.  
I always use a fun colored marker to check off items on a list. It makes it easier to see the progress I'm making and adds color. Color is happy!
Yea lists! Because of the lists I was able to go from this bathroom (I may or may not have tidied up slightly didn't need to see my complete mess, trust me):

To this:

Added counter shelves to store our various shaving/hair/makeup/soap items so they don't live all over the counter. Added a hook to the cupboard door under the sink to hang up the shower caddy holding my blow dryer, curling iron, and flat iron so they are out of sight and there aren't cords hanging all over. Everything is scrubbed and laundered. It feels wonderful. More organization. More light. Less mess. More awesome. Yes! 

Cleaning isn't my favorite thing by a long shot. But I'm almost enjoying it this time around. As I'm cleaning each room I'm coming up with decorating ideas, organization ideas, and repurposing ideas I wouldn't have had otherwise. Who knew cleaning could be so inspiring. 

This has been a slow process for me this week (only 3 rooms finished since Monday), but the days I took off of cleaning were totally worth it (I got to check an item off my bucket list! I got to be the secret photographer hiding in the bushes-literally-photographing a wedding proposal!), and I'm making progress, so I am happy.

What resources do you use for your Spring Cleaning? 


  1. A list would probably help me immensely. Usually I just hit a room, throw everything in a central spot, dust and wash (everything! Windows, walls, sills...) then put everything from the central spot away. I have a bucket with cleaning supplies, a laundry basket for donations, and a garbage can for broken things and other garbage. When you have 2 teenaged boys, garbage ends up in the oddest places....

  2. Lists are my favorite! (My husband calls me his Listmaker-in-Chief". We are weird.

  3. This is know as the Mont Vernon method. When cleaning Mt Vernon they take their checklists and work around the rooms. The next day they start where they stopped and continue. Since its a large place they can't finish a whole room in a day. But the same idea. The hardest part is not to get distracted by the cookbook in the family room that belongs in the kitchen, so you run to the kitchen to put it away and the books are crooked so you straighten them which leads you to the ripped page hanging out so you go find the tape and see the drawer won't close so you start cleaning that, ect! LOL so stay in one room! LOL it really helps.

  4. Replies
    1. I know! Of the 4 places we've rented since getting married, 3 of them have had carpet in the bathroom. One had carpet in the kitchen too. Not my favorite, but these rentals are only temporary so it works.

  5. I just moved into a new apartment that is closer to my work, but smaller than what I am used to. These tips are all really creative and practical and I will be using them to keep everything organized in my new home. It sure is going to be nice when I can find everything the first time I look for it. Also, I think the title of your blog is very witty.

    Alex Burke @ ICA Supply


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