Where did spring cleaning come from?
Did you know that the purpose of spring cleaning was to undo a winter’s worth of heating with coal, wood, and of lighting with kerosene? Apparently, houses would be covered in soot and ash, and when heating was over, it was time to clean. But somehow the tradition has stayed alive.
Now we are made to feel guilty every spring because we do not pull out the fridge and vacuum the coils, or remove the window screens and power wash them.
Yes, deep cleaning is horrible. We all know this. Even people who like keeping a tidy home and perhaps even like laundry, hate to deep clean. So why do we make lists of things like “quarterly tasks” and save them up for some terrible day in March? Or worse, that day never comes…and the list haunts us.
Because there will never be a convenient day, or week, to deep clean the entire house. You have dinner to make, and laundry, and maybe kids, or a full time job, and it is just not realistic. That is something a team of house cleaners comes to do. It takes multiple people and costs hundreds and hundreds of dollars. It’s a ton of work, not fun, and makes you feel like a servant. Yes, that spring cleaning printable checklist is cute but not really helping.
There is a better way.
The one day at a time plan
So. We all know there are daily tasks like sweeping, counters, whatever. Then there is dusting and vacuuming, which I do once a week. Not talking about that here.
Then there are bathrooms, which need regular cleaning of tubs, floors, and such. The medium clean, because things shouldn’t really be that dirty.
Kitchens, same. The medium clean. Cleaning sinks, trash cans, organizing cabinets.
Then there is everything else. Living rooms, bedrooms, dining rooms, hall closets. Not as dirty, doesn’t need as much attention, but can get neglected.
One thing a day from each category
Every day, do one deep or medium clean item from each category.
One kitchen task
One bathroom task
One everything else task.
Keep in mind this does include sweeping, tidying, or wiping down counters. That’s just just part of being alive. The task has to go beyond that. It has to be something that won’t be undone by the end of the day.
In the bathroom, maybe the mirror needs to be cleaned.
In the kitchen, maybe the vent hood needs to be cleaned and the baffles need to go through the dishwasher.
In the everything else category, organize a bookshelf or clean under the couch
Fitting it into your day
The best thing about this plan is the tasks can be done whenever. The best time to do one is when you are already in that room. If you notice the toilet could be fresher, clean it right the , inside and out, and wipe the floor around it.
This means you have to have cleaning supplies in every bathroom. It will make life better.
Or you are getting dressed and notice notice your sock drawer is a little messy. Dump everything out, wipe out the inside, and organize it. One drawer does not take more than a few minutes. If you aren’t constantly rushed and running behind, you can do a lot of work as you go about the day, improving the room you are in.
And then you are done! There is no list in the back of your mind, making you feel inadequate. You have done what you are supposed to do for that day. And doing it day after day will add up to a very clean house, without making a big show of it.
There will be no deep cleaning that you have fallen behind on. The house will always be clean enough.
Sometimes you will be reacting to a messy cabinet. Sometimes everything will look great and you will proactively do something like clean out the freezer. Sometimes you will be busy and won’t do anything. It’s not a big deal.
No lists, no guilt, no overthinking.
To get you started
Speaking of lists, guilt and overthinking, here are some ideas for each category:
-clean the tub
-clean the shower (do it while you are already in there showering!)
-clean the counters and faucets
-clean the windows and windowsills
-wipe down the floor and baseboards
-organize under bathroom sink cabinet and wipe it down
-scrub the sink and soak with water and a splash of bleach
-take out one shelf on the fridge and wash it,
-quickly rearrange the whole fridge to look pretty
-polish stainless steel appliances
-wipe down floors and baseboards
-clean windows along the countertops
-wipe outside of kitchen cabinets
-organize pantry, or just a shelf if it is bad
-clean glass door
-dust and organize one bookshelf, one single shelf if it is bad
-clean windows in one room
-clean out under one bed
-organize a dresser drawer
-clean out a closet shelf or hanging rod
-organize china cabinet
-organize one nightstand
I hope you try it!
Just one thing per day from each category and the house will be lovely in a few weeks time.
And what about vacuuming the fridge coils? I think that is the husband’s job.