Spring cleaning makes me happy, I just can’t help it! Everything is beginning anew, and I am itching to do a whole-house reboot. After all, there are 10 of us who run around with dirty shoes and fling our dirty underwear into the hamper (hopefully).
For me it goes in cycles and seasons. In order to get homeschooling and creative projects done, there are times when I need to put cleaning on automatic, sort of in the back of my mind. However, before long disorder starts to build up and I know it’s time for a change.
Too much junk, clutter, and filth keeps me from enjoying other ares of my life. Disorganization makes it harder to roll with those proverbial punches life on planet earth throws at me.
Are you feeling it, too? Maybe you have been itching but just need that extra little nudge. Here are some ideas that might just put you over the edge:
1. Get revved up.
2. Spend time visualizing.
I consider imagination a gift from God. I like to grab a steno pad and walk the house, looking carefully at each room and seeing it as it really, really is. Then I try and see it as it can be and jot down some notes or make a diagram or two.
3. Make lists.
I like to split the whole house into either rooms or zones. Then I take all the things I’d like to get done and put them into categories. Using 3×5 cards helps with this one!
4. Delegate tasks.
The children are automatically part of my team. The older ones can take special projects on such as painting the trim or raking the yard. They can also keep the rest of the house going while I concentrate on a special project.
Instead of thinking of the little ones as “in the way,” I find extra chores for them as well, things that make them feel special and big. I might offer a sweet snack for folding socks together or have them gather up all the shoes in the house and pair them up. I give really tiny ones a spray bottle filled with water and a rag so they can feel as though they are cleaning, too.
5. Ditch the clutter.
This is a biggie. I could work all day putting all our junk into piles that will be messed up by tomorrow, or I can get rid of the piles altogether!
Oftentimes I begin with a a vengeance, then bog down as my enthusiasm wanes. This is when I again turn to posts like this one.
6. Use boxes and baskets.
I try and have some next to me for dirty laundry, trash, give-aways, and misplaced items.
7. Make a cleaning caddy.
This really saves a lot of steps. I like to put one of each cleaner: all-purpose, window, and disinfecting as well as an old toothbrush, a few rags, and some gloves for icky work.
8. Wear an apron.
This serves a number of purposes:
- Protects clothing
- Keeps you from transferring germs and dirt throughout the house
- You have pockets to capture bits of trash or tiny things that need to be preserved, such as earrings or special Lego pieces.
- You have pockets for things such as a multi tool or a small pad and pen to jot down ideas and lists
Here’s a little bit of information about my apron (hey, I’m wearing it now!)
9. Plan meals.
Even if I can get so engrossed I forget to eat, the rest of the family still needs food. For this reason I try and have some easy-to-fix stuff on hand, such as a few frozen pizzas or sandwich stuffs.
10. Have snacks ready.
When the toddlers start getting cranky the whole gig is up! I take that apron and fill the pockets with packets of goodies (I’m talking good, old fashioned candy here) to pass around as necessary.
11. Keep hydrated.
There’s something about hustling about that dries me out. Purified water in some sort of bottle is the most convenient since you can close it up and set it anywhere without worrying it will spill.
12. Get your appliances ready for double-duty.
Taking care of the vacuum cleaner, rug shampooer, washing machine, etc. before you begin a huge purge and clean is optimum. There’s nothing worse than having piles of curtains piled next to a washing machine that is on the fritz!
13. Take frequent trips to the Goodwill.
If I let bags of giveaways sit in the garage for too long the children will go through them and “rediscover” all sorts of treasures!
14. Save stuff back for a yard sale.
This could give you and your team some extra incentive to be ruthless with clutter and accumulation. Tell the kids you will use some of the proceeds of the sale for a special outing and watch them volunteer all sorts of items to sell!
15. Pace yourself!
Our house is 3500 square feet, with six bedrooms, four bathrooms, and three common areas (not to mention a 15 passenger van, a covered porch, deck, garage, two garden plots, and the rest of the yard). There is no way I am tackling all that in one day. I would make myself sick if I dug in and tried to finish it even in three consecutive days. No, I can only do about six hours a day for a week or two, with breaks for normal life in-between.