Seasonal Cleaning Primer

I said I wouldn't do seasonal cleaning any longer but after last fall's clearing out of rooms to accommodate new flooring and then putting it all back, it made for a big fall cleaning as you can imagine.  Unfortunately, I rested on my .... erhm....laurels and didn't continue to do deep cleaning after that big move.   Guess what?  It's SPRING now and I'm months behind on cleaning.  It's either a big seasonal cleaning and then begin the monthly deep clean routine afresh or simply let it all sit here as it is and do the monthly stuff.

I feel like I need a fresh start.  So it's a deep seasonal clean for me this Spring.

So I'd planned to start this week cleaning the kitchen.  I will do some of the tasks mentioned in that area this week,  but yesterday morning as I stood in the bathroom thinking it needed just a quick wipe down, I noted dust on the wainscoting molding.  " Might as well..."  I swear those are dangerous words to hear echo across my mind!

Before I knew it I'd decided that after all it wouldn't take so long to spring clean that room.  I dusted walls and wiped down tops of door frames and took down the curtain and removed the bench seat cover to wash.  "Might as well..." I said, as I stepped into the bedroom, "take down these curtains and wash them to put away, and  hang the new curtains." There was dust on the picture frame and I thought I'd do the walls...  The next thing I knew I was in the middle of spring cleaning that whole section of the house.  Drawers, closet, master bedroom, moving furniture, wiping down doors, etc.

This isn't meant to be about every task I did yesterday and today.  It's about what I didn't do before I got started, both days.  I jumped ahead of myself.  I forgot my main rule: Planning and then execution.

Plan.  First, you should plan your time.  It's best to plan seasonal cleaning, especially if you mean to do it all at once.  I still prefer my method of deep cleaning one area a week so that one full room of my house is deep cleaned in a month's time.  However, I know some do prefer to do it all at once.  They just love that 'for once the house is all clean at once' feeling.

It's best to sit down with your calendar and make sure you have a block of time clear to do this seasonal cleaning.  You'll need to seriously consider the size of your rooms and how long it would take to dismantle and put back, cleaning as you go. 

I didn't have a big block of time.  I had a lot of things I needed to attend to yesterday in order to be prepared for the week.  That was my first mistake. 

My second mistake was that I began an area I'd no plans to tackle this week.  Not only had I not planned to tackle it, I seriously underestimated the time needed when I thought I might as well get started.  I thought it would take perhaps half a day.  Frankly, I spent more than those hours yesterday and half a day today and there are still three or four tasks to be seen to before I'm really done.  That means  the rest of the week's schedule has to be altered and the only area I have that can be cut is my kitchen cleaning schedule.  I'll have to leave off a few tasks I'd really hoped to get done this week. 

Plan your attack.  A list of all that the job will entail is important.   Had I planned my tasks I would have known full well at that point that yes, I could have deep cleaned the bathroom but NOT the master bedroom, too.  I'd have been better able to gauge the time because I know about how long it would take to do each job fully and well.   Instead, I gutted the bathroom and started cleaning it and then started dismantling the bedroom, too.  My haphazard approach was a hazard to me!  I really needed extra time to do a few necessary tasks yesterday and I needed to rest because I had a long day before me.  Did I get any rest?  Nope.  I finished my day at 9:45pm last night and I was working on about 4 hours sleep. 

Routine first.  I made a lot of mistakes yesterday.  I didn't do my routine work first and I know too well that I should have.  It would have taken me about an hour, full of energy as I was, to do those routine tasks.  There is nothing more disheartening than to find yourself in the midst of a major dismantling of a room for cleaning (much less TWO rooms!), tired and weary and you step out of the area to sit down for a few minutes and look about at the other messes awaiting you.  I felt like weeping.  I knew that if I managed to finish those jobs yesterday I still had an hour's worth of work to do when I was done. 

As it happened, I didn't get finished yesterday but I did have to attend to that extra work I should have done at the very beginning. 

Nutrition.  There's nothing worse during a big cleaning day than discovering that it's now lunchtime (or dinner if it's later in the day) and you've nothing prepared and no energy to consider preparing food.  Take out is fine if you've someone to drive to pick it up.  Delivery is even better if you're within city limits where such is available.  Out here?  Nothing.  Crickets, honey, crickets. 

I didn't have leftovers to eat and I didn't have anything thawed to make a meal.  Fortunately I dug just a little deeper in the deep freeze and found some sliced cooked roast.  I had cooked brown rice and a portion of leftover salad.  Suddenly I had a meal that took perhaps five minutes to put together but let me tell you, it was looking like scrambled eggs for that midday meal.  Not that there's a thing wrong with scrambled eggs...if you happen to have eggs. 

My point is to plan and prepare ahead for meals.  If you want to rely on takeout or delivery and you've the extra funds for it, then go ahead.   Set an alarm to remind you to call to place your order, if that's your choice.   If you must make food yourself, then do it at the beginning of the day.  If you've planned properly you can also plan to work ahead and make a few freezer meals just for this cleaning period.  If nothing else, set up a tray in the morning, make sandwiches ahead, portion fruit, have water on for tea or the coffee pot set to make coffee. 

And while we're talking about meal time, take a full hour.  Yes, a FULL HOUR.  Put your feet up.  Rest your head on back of the chair. Close your eyes for a few minutes.  With food and rest, you'll be able to work just as energetically for the rest of the afternoon.  If you rush through your meal and don't rest, you're likely to find yourself suffering indigestion and feeling like a train hit you.

Don't forget to stay hydrated.  Keep a few bottles of water in the fridge, keep one in the room where you're working and drink it. 

Prepare.  Do you have all of your tools together?  Do you have ample cleaning supplies?  Plenty of rags and cleaning cloths?  Room in the laundry to wash curtains and rugs and spreads and such?    Do you have space to put the things you'll be removing from the room?   Do you have your plan?  Your list of tasks you want to get done? 

I find it helpful to put all my tools and cleaners in one spot so I can move them easily from space to space.  A dishpan is best,  and a small plastic waste basket, so you can drop wet or dirty cloths right in the bottom.  

Do you know how many steps I might have saved myself yesterday if I'd had my tools and supplies all together?  I was constantly leaving the room to get a duster, the broom, a mop, trash bags.  And I had to step over piles of things in order to get in and out of the rooms. 

Ready?  Now you can go to work!  I hope my primer will help you start your cleaning and accomplish it more efficiently than I did my space.


Kathy said...

Thanks for the reminder and tips! Hope that you are able to take things a little easier today.
I started removing wallpaper in my kitchen. While I liked it when we moved in, after 14 years, I am ready for a change. So my kitchen is tore up and a mess. It will be worth it once it is done, but why do things always take longer than you expect.

susie @ persimmon moon cottage said...

Excellent post. It was a good reminder to fully plan what I will be doing and get all of the stuff I will need together and have it with me. I tend to get distracted if I have to stop and get different items for my project. I was trying to get a lot of cleaning done today. I did get some done, but now that it is early evening and supper and all of the cleanup for that is done, I can't believe how little I actually accomplished. In my mind's eye I imagined getting so much more done today. Oh well, tomorrow is another day. I hope my bad knee cooperates with my cleaning plans for tomorrow. Tomorrow evening's supper is going to be super simple with as little cleanup afterward as possible, that is something that I should have included in my plans for today.

It was so cold, dreary, and snowy today that it was a perfect day for cleaning house. It was cozy inside working away as melting snow dripped off the house and trees on this cold cloudy day. I liked reading that someone else was busy working in their home today just as I was. A feeling of camaraderie.

Terri Cheney said...

Kathy, I expect it's because we watch too many diy shows. They start to tear off wallpaper, go to commercial and when we come back they've painted it fresh. Nothing in real moves like television time, lol.

Susie, Yes, it does feel good to have a sense of camaraderie here in our little community doesn't it? I'll be thinking of you as I tackle a few tasks in the kitchen tomorrow afternoon. I have to go out in the morning to run errands otherwise I'd be at it all day long.

I'm glad you found my tips helpful. I'm bringing in something to eat for supper when I go out. That way I know I've got dinner covered. Onward!

Judy Wesselmann said...

You really hit the nail on the head for me with this post Teri. I started last week doing my Spring cleaning. Normally do in February and March because it takes me so long. I have RA with Srogren Syndrome and get so tired I become sick if I do not rest. Boy, it was not a good thing to completely tear everything out of the sewing room/play room and stash closet. The mess was overwhelming and we were to have a birthday party for my husband on Sunday. I worked every minute I could and have the closet and room looking pretty good (still a few drawers and baskets to go through). This week I am sick and to exhausted to get well without a doctor help. I cannot do cleaning that way anymore. You are so right we need water, food, rest and planning planning planning. Thank you for making me feel I have a friend that understands.

Anonymous said...

With us into 7 years of retirement I have to break down any cleaning into tiny chunks of say what I can do for 15 minutes. At any minute hubby could change our plans. He is like your husband is when he is home off of work. So I try to keep chugging along and do as much as I can. So many jobs though need a couple hours of time to work on. The most time alone I have ever had is an hour and a half. And that hasn't happened often. That is no time to do a really good deep clean of anything. Ya do what you can. If people that have less physical strength can get things done so can I. If you can't change things you have to do what you can. :))) Wishing I had the time does not change anything. Whining about anything gets you nowhere either
Hearing your thoughts on cleaning though does makes me nostalgic for the old days when I could do it like that too! I always enjoyed working around the house. I enjoyed having time alone to work while Hubby was at work for near 40 years. I can't expect to get the same amount of work done now that I have lost at least 45 hours a week of work time.!! :-)) Planning now is even more important!! Nothing says the same forever. The years fly by so fast... Our temperatures have been in the 90s this week with more of the same expected. Everyone is sneezing with allergies but thankfully we cannot see the pollen on things like you get it Terri. That must be tough. Sarah

Delorise said...

Thanks for the primer. I can remember in past start deep cleaning in one room, hop scotching (my term) to another room and before I knew it I had several rooms torn apart and just a mess. I would be so exhausted and exasperated with myself by night that I wanted to just cry. Since the weather was so lousy here yesterday- cold and wet-I started on cleaning out kitchen cabinets. I got one done and then I just lost my motivation. It felt more like a curl up, be lazy with a book day--but at least I got one done. I totally agree- preparation is the key to successful, less stressful deep cleaning. Have a great week---sure hope we don't get those below 30 temps that are predicted--we have beautiful peach trees blossomed out next to us.

Delorise said...

Thanks for the primer. I can remember in past start deep cleaning in one room, hop scotching (my term) to another room and before I knew it I had several rooms torn apart and just a mess. I would be so exhausted and exasperated with myself by night that I wanted to just cry. Since the weather was so lousy here yesterday- cold and wet-I started on cleaning out kitchen cabinets. I got one done and then I just lost my motivation. It felt more like a curl up, be lazy with a book day--but at least I got one done. I totally agree- preparation is the key to successful, less stressful deep cleaning. Have a great week---sure hope we don't get those below 30 temps that are predicted--we have beautiful peach trees blossomed out next to us.

Lana said...

Kathy, it took us all of one summer to strip wallpaper in our kitchen and get it painted. I have to admit that we hired a painter last year to paint it again. It was worth every penny because of all of the trim work.

Deanna said...

Good post! I'm going to start my spring cleaning next week but I'm using this week to prepare. My daughter wrote a good post about spring cleaning and included a link to free printable spring cleaning checklists. If anyone is interested, here is the link:

Anonymous said...

I think you should all get brownie points for just trying to spring clean a lot at once!!! It is time for me to start cleaning out things, one cupboard at a time. The other day, I washed a couple of windows and the slider. I've been using things from my freezer, cupboard and pantry and feel good about a bunch of things that have been lurking, but are now inside of our tummies, leaving more room on the shelves. I have extra time this weekend, so I hope to get some cleaning done. I totally agree that keeping up with the basic cleaning helps so much. Then, when it's time to deep clean, you can have at it.

I think I'm super blessed with a helper for a husband. The other day, he organized the kids to help him clean a bunch of stuff off the porch outside the back door. He paid them with a few dollar bills, and it looks much better and everyone is happy.

Camp Mac said...

I really needed this Terri! It was just the kick in the laurels I needed!
I especially liked the suggestion of using a small plastic waste basket to organize supplies! I always was using those pretty little carry alls but never stuck to it because they just weren't big or sturdy enough for the job! I may go visit the dollar store today to pick up a plastic waste can!

P.S. Loved Sarah's comment above, so true! Mike's not retired (we have a ways to go) but we do get into our rhythms over the years and when the schedule is thrown off readjustment can be frustrating a bit! And time... It does indeed fly! Haha.

Time Out

Notice her obvious confusion?  It's kinda how I feel at present.  I'm not just sure what I should be doing to fix something tha...