Spring Cleaning - Execution

I am nearly done with the Spring cleaning.   I have just the laundry/back entry and the kitchen to tend to. I must say that while I felt I'd done rather well overall with my cleaning, I've noticed there are some things I ignored.  This made me stop and think how much more helpful if I'd had a list of all that needed to be done in my deeper cleaning.  I will be looking for some more detailed lists.

I thought perhaps you all might find it helpful to know what I found to be most helpful this season.

1.  Remove cloth layers first.  Curtains, sheers, shades, spreads, quilts, sheets, dresser cloths, tablecloths, pillows, doilies, runners, etc.  In my work in the living room and bedroom I found it helpful to first strip those things I wanted to wash.  I stripped slipcovers from chairs and pillow covers.  In the bedrooms I stripped the beds.  In the bath, rugs, towels and shower curtains.  My first task for each room was to immediately start a load of laundry.  I ran laundry loads until it was all done.  Fortunately with my one room at a time approach this never topped more than three at most.

 2.  Start at the top and work your way down.  Simultaneously, start at the door and work yourself around the room back to the doorway.  In the instance of my main living area, which is both living, dining and front entry, I chose to divide the room in half.  I started at the small hallway and worked my way back there.  On the opposite side of the room, I started at the left hand opening to the kitchen area and worked around to that small hallway once more.

I do not wash walls because the idea of water dripping on carpets and saturating walls just does not seem worthwhile.  Too much mess!  BUT I do dust walls and less you think it's not necessary, just give it a swipe and see..  A cloth would be fine but I have a Swiffer duster that extends and hits the very peak of the room walls at the center which is higher than the outside edges.

I turned off the ceiling fan and worked my way around the room, wiping down each wall from top to bottom.  Then I cleaned the ceiling fan. 

Don't forget to dust along the tops of door frames and if a door generally stands open, dust the top of that, too.  Tall bookcases are another area where you should be sure to dust.  And put those spots on your list of regular dusting tasks so that you don't have that awful build up in the future.

Oh and don't forget the vents if yours are in the ceiling as mine are.  John insisted ours go in the ceiling and frankly I HATE having them there for a whole lot of reason.  Check the area around the vent and the ceiling fans to be sure the ceiling isn't showing little cobwebs.  We have popcorn ceilings and this is not uncommon for our home even though I clean the fans monthly.

3.  Remove accessories from only one table or bookcase at a time.  I say this because I find it very overwhelming to remove every single item on all surfaces and then have to find a spot to store them.  I also say this because I did allow myself to move ahead and piled some things on another surface.  I'd forgotten that some of the items were there by the time I came back to my pile and ow!  A very heavy item fell, hitting my toe and causing the nail to blacken immediately.  And you know it's the same foot I battered last week, sigh. 

Clearing one table or bookshelf at a time (starting high and working to the bottom) also allows you to immediately cull a few items.  Set aside those you're tired of seeing, feel  are just too numerous, or which obviously show too much wear and place in a discard/donate pile immediately.  I designated one spot to put all such items.  Also by working with just one shelf of books at a time, I was able to recall where I'd put a certain author's books.  I like to have all books by one author together for ease in finding reading material later.   So if I stumbled across a book by an author I'd already organized I could immediately go back and place with the others.  I decided to donate at least another dozen books while I was working.

After you clean one shelf or tabletop, clean the items that are going back in that particular spot.
Now you have one full shelf of clean books or one fresh tabletop.  It's amazing how much incentive there is to continue as you can measure progress with each shelf.  It's also a help because should you be unexpectedly interrupted you can pick back up where you left off since the whole room isn't a disaster.  I don't know why folks insist on suddenly stopping by when you've got a room torn apart. 

4.  Don't forget that upholstery gets dusty, too.  This is one of those areas I was referring to earlier:  I don't think about upholstered pieces getting dusty but they do.  I ran a vacuum over my pieces but it's not very efficient as I've not got the proper attachments for cleaning upholstery.  I also have a sturdy soft cleaning brush and in the end I employed that to brush away more of the dust on those pieces.  It worked extremely well, by the way. 

By the same token, curtains get terribly dusty as well.  You can, if they have been recently washed, just toss them into the dryer and let that lift off the dirt.  You can also use the vacuum if you've proper attachments, which I think is the best ideal tool.  I plan to look into ordering an accessory pack to go with my vacuum.

Dust your shades and blinds.  I loathe dusting my blinds.  It's such a pain to try to do each individual slat and dusting is truly my least favorite job of all time, right after ironing. Ideally I'd do these monthly but I don't, so dust does build up.   I found that same soft brush I used on the upholstery works extremely well.  I closed the blinds and then brushed down one side and up the other.  Then I opened the blinds and closed them in the opposite direction and repeat. 

Don't forget to dust low.  Chair rungs, the bases of tables, ornate feet or legs on furnishings all accumulate dust as much as any surface.

Don't forget the sides and backs of bookcases and such that are up against a wall!  I thought I was all done in one area and was vacuuming the floor in that space when I realized there was dust on the sides of the bookcase.  That sent me scurrying for my duster to brush them down before I continued with what I'd thought was my final task!  I did know dust accumulated behind furnishings and made sure dust the walls and the back of pieces, but I sure hadn't thought about sides.

5.  Polish wood furnishings, but only twice a year.  This is one of those tasks that should be done in a seasonal manner.  I do not bother to polish painted furnishings nor the pieces that look like wood but aren't.  But it really pays to polish the real wood furnishings.  It's not going to nourish or enrich the wood, but it will help protect the finish.  It will lock some moisture into the pieces

6.  Stay focused.   If an area is large, such as my main room then break it into smaller areas.  I started in the entryway, worked over to the dining area, then I worked on the bookcases and then I started on the main body of the living room.  I had laundry for the areas running all through the morning, so that I could put each area back together as I finished it. 

Do one task thoroughly in each area.  Dust all the walls.  Dust all the furniture.  Polish all the wood.  Finish each task before you move to the next one.  Again, the reward is that if you're interrupted you know where you were when you had to stop.  It is also much easier to deal with all of the same tasks at once, rather than constantly put down and pick up different pieces of equipment. 

7.  Vacuum or mop last.  Now that all the dust has flown, it's finally time to clean the floors. I vacuum under furniture (all that I can move on my own) as well as going about the perimeter of the wall with the crevice tool.  I vacuum upholstery and I use the crevice tool in the corners and crevices, even on the pieces that are typically slipcovered.  It's funny how little crumbs and bits of dust can work down into furniture that is slipcovered, just as it does on those pieces that aren't.

You'll clean the floors last because all that dust (and really isn't seasonal cleaning mostly about dusting when you get right down to it?) will settle on the floor as you work and it can be ground into carpet or furnishings.

If I were working in a room with tile floors, I'd sweep and then mop. 

If you choose to shampoo carpets limit this unless you have a lot of company or pets that have accidents.  My flooring guy assured me that manufacturers say "shampoo as infrequently as possible" on care instructions.   It loosens fibers and promotes the carpet wrinkling.   The machine might not remove all the water that is used which in turn can cause mold or mildew. 

 Most manufacturers recommend vacuuming once every one or two weeks.  We typically vacuum twice a week these days but when the kids were at home we did it daily.  I think that's partly why our carpet lasted as well as it did.  Now that's my recommendation and it's not even seasonal cleaning related!

8.  Sit down, put your feet up, take a nap.  At the very least, give a great big sigh of relief.  You're DONE!

It sounds so simple written out like this but it took me from 8am until 2pm to do my main room.  That did not include a rest break except for the half hour I spent wailing over my poor blackened toe and the time I took to drink two glasses of water. 

Fortunately I followed my primer rules and had an easy meal ready to heat and eat.

One other rule:  Safety first.  Again, don't pile things up and then get caught in an avalanche.  Don't bury heavy objects within a pile (ow!!).  I also don't get up on a step stool when I'm at home alone.  I'm too well aware that if I fall and my cell phone is not at hand, I might well lie in the floor for 24 hours or more before John comes in.  I do hope he panics if I don't answer my phone, but what if he is too busy to call?  It happens!

I am so happy to be nearing the end of the indoor seasonal cleaning.  I've gotten a good start on the kitchen and laundry but the mad push to do it all in one day isn't happening today or tomorrow, but it will happen this week.

When pollen season is done I'll look at spring cleaning my porches.  They're a breeze compared to the house!


Lana said...

We have leather furniture and you can see the dust laying along the backs so I dust the furniture along with everything else. I know you are feeling so happy about getting g it done!

Anonymous said...

Our couches are dark material. I use the brush and sometimes have used a micro fiber rag dampened and wrung out as much as possible over it after dusting. It is amazing how much more come off.
My roof cooler really brings in much outside dirt and the pop corn ceilings and vents sure show it. I find using the extension hose and the vacuum dusting head picks up the dirt as long as it is not oily. I do a bit at a time. It can leave your shoulder sore if you over do! :) Usually the vent needs cleaning with a rag.
Yes cleaning a shelf at a time is helpful for those of us who have to work in short time periods. Even if the whole things cannot get done at one time part of it is clean and it is an incentive and also a good feeling you have part done completely. Just reading your instructions makes me want to get in there and clean!!
Thank you Terri. Sarah

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