In this “Spring Fever” series, all of us TBB contributors have been pondering what inspires us or what we are inspired to do in the spring or maybe hoping to inspire all of you this season.
I tossed around a lot of of ideas for this post and asked everyone who knows me what activity they associate with me in the spring.
I think it was my daughter Brennyn who nailed it.
I just happen to be at Brennyn’s house in Ft. Worth as I am writing this, so we decided to call Lauren, my other daughter to see if she agreed that cleaning was the one thing that makes me feverish in the spring.
And then for 15 minutes, with Lauren on speaker phone and my granddaughter Cady in the back seat listening, my two daughters lamented the springs of their youth when their mother (me) would take all of the mini-blinds in the house down and put them in the driveway so we could commence to scrubbing them on our hands and knees.
Or how I would wash and iron all of the curtains (both window and shower), the windows inside and out and the screens, then struggle to put them all back on the windows again.
How I found…ok, ‘found’ somewhere a telescopic pole for attaching a squeegee or other cleaning devices in order to clean ceilings and ceiling fans and windows. We would wash the windows on both stories of the house with Outdoor Windex attached to the garden house and then squeegee them dry.
Maybe how I would backwash the pool and hot tub to get it ready for summer but always break out in a rash on both arms from struggling to switch the fiberglass-encased pool pump from filter to backwash.
Or those multiple trips climbing onto the roof of our two-story house to work on the swamp (evaporative) cooler each spring to change AC filters, remove lime deposits and hard water scaling while shaking in my tennies because I am scared of heights.
Ahhh, those sweet days of springs past.
I am afraid I about ruined spring break every year for my girls.
probably absolutely thrilled to get to go back to school.
I tried hard to build in “an element of fun in every job that must be done, a lark, a spree, [but] it [was] very clear to see…” that I was no Mary Poppins or Alice from “The Brady Bunch”.
Now-days it seems more popular to put off cleaning house in favor of raising somehow happier kids in squalor – as suggested in this free printable image from The Imperfect Homemaker.
Surely, there can be some kind of happy medium between an almost obsessive need to have the cleanest blinds on the block and overlooking floors your babies’ feet stick to.
Now that I am older, though, it is harder for me to knock out the whole house during the week of spring break. And I don’t have the good (albeit somewhat reluctant) help of my two daughters. So, in the past year, I have begun receiving emails and newsletters from Home Storage Solutions 101 for their “52 Weeks To An Organized Home” Challenge. Each week I receive an email with a particular house cleaning focus such as “How to Declutter Recipes and Cookbooks”, including organizing recipes on Pinterest, the first week of February.
I know that organizing doesn’t equal clean but for me, it is hard to clean my house until it is organized. Otherwise, it seems like I am just chasing mess from one place to the other and trying to clean around piles and stacks of stuff.
To the rescue, here is Home Storage Solution’s calendar for each week’s organization and decluttering assignments.
Apparently, the very first step in decluttering is setting up a declutter donation box in which you put anything you no longer want or use but things that could be useful to someone else. If you are like me, you come across those kinds of things regularly but unless you have some place to put them, that unwanted shirt, nick-knack, gadget goes right back stuffed somewhere in the house. With a donation box, you have somewhere to put that too-tight pair of shoes, those old bath mats until you can take them to be donated or put together a yard sale to sell them.
While you declutter and organize, you can also be cleaning!
To help organize your cleaning tasks, there are so many checklists and cleaning tips available on Pinterest.
Here are a couple I like.
Love the little boxes here where you can check off tasks as you accomplish them. Nothing better that crossing things off your spring cleaning to-do list. This one is from Not Quite Susie.
Or this checklist of home maintenance and deep cleaning tasks available at Yet Another Mom Blog.
Or this 31-day calendar from Stain Removal 101.
And I love this very thorough guide from Artsy Fartsy Annie.
With all of my great free advice, you might think my spring cleaning is in the bag.
But with this crazy spring of injuries, sickness at our house and traveling for the birth of new babies, to visit my older babies and to present at the state library conference, I haven’t even begun! I am hoping that if nothing else, with this post I can prompt myself to start making some spring cleaning plans before spring becomes summer.
If all of this sounds a little overwhelming or under-exciting to you, maybe this isn’t the best time for you to tackle spring cleaning. And remember, nothing says it all has to be done at once. Or even in the spring.
One small step, small rule I have begun following that eliminates a lot of the clutter and messiness in my world is called the One-Touch Rule. Productivity consultant Ann Gomez suggests adopting this rule for processing each task the first time you touch it. [source]
You check the mail and stop at the trash can to immediately toss any junk mail. Open the rest of the mail, and put it in one place every single day and deal with it then and there.
When you come home from work, take off your coat but don’t drape it on a kitchen chair, hang it up.
Touch it only once.
Kick off your shoes and put them in your closet.
Hope you can find something useful among these suggestions and links. I know we are all so busy these days that sometimes cleaning baseboards and ceiling fan blades seems trivial. But just making time to do that once a year can breathe new vitality and health into your home and the lives of those you love.
Today, at Brennyn’s we were sitting on the couch watching TV when all of a sudden we heard an ear piercing screech coming from the hallway leading to the laundry room. We turned to find Brennyn’s cat Sansa “embracing” some kind of live animal.
I jumped up and ran toward Sansa and as I did, she let go of a big black bird…a crow…from between her front paws. The crow flew into the living room with Sansa close on its tail (feathers). Brennyn ran to open the back door and I grabbed Sansa up into my arms and the bird flew out of the house.
I went to the laundry room to try to figure out where the bird came from. I moved the dryer away from the wall to discover a hole in the dryer exhaust hose. The bird had come down through the vent leading out of the house, gotten stuck in the hose, and had pecked its way free and into the arms of our sweet Sansa.
So tonight we repaired the dryer.
Easy task but something I hadn’t done before. We removed the hose and styled it like a boa before heading out to Lowe’s for a replacement.
We got the dryer back in commission.
Then cleaned behind the washer and the dryer.
Mopped the laundry room floor, organized the laundry supplies.
About a hour’s time but now the laundry room is in good shape.
One room tackled.
Do you spring clean?
If you have a favorite spring cleaning trick, please share in a comment below.
Would love to learn any new way to make things simpler or more fun.
Thanks for stopping by.