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.