Spring cleaning… yup it’s time.


Spring cleaning… yup it’s time.

CRUNCH deets:
Summer’s just around the corner – wahoo! But, er, those cobwebs in your house… well, they’ve taken over the corner. All of the corners. Oy.

The Fix:
An ounce of baking soda’s worth a pound of CLR.

Fix deets:
We’re throwing a party this weekend so we’re in full-on prep mode. One thing that’s not on our list: cleaning. We’ll maybe Roomba it up a little, but aside from that, nothing out of the norm. And by ‘norm’, we’re talking this responsibility/chore chart posted on our Support page. We try to checkmark every day, and make up for what we missed on the weekend (or not – family fun usually trumps mopping). The chores are quick if we stay on our recognize-an-opportunity-ball. When our hands are idle while the coffee’s brewing/water’s boiling/kids are splashing in the tub, it’s time to wipe down the sink/stove/shower, which means one less thing to do later. Even if we only toss the toothpaste, toothbrushes, moisturizer, shaving cream, contact solution, gel, and soap in the drawer before bathtime’s up, it’s still one less thing. Or seven, if you like our kinda math.

And speaking of drawers… critical! The first step on the road to a relatively clean house is decluttering. This means purging ev-er-y-thing you don’t love/need and finding a home for what you keep. That’s why drawers come in so handy. Each of us has a drawer in a dresser in the dining room (yup, a dresser, purchased with our bedroom furniture when we bought our first home… the one that didn’t have stairs and ceilings designed for dwarfs and where we could move any furniture to any floor… sigh). When it’s tidy-up time, any toys/markers/mail/magazines/wallets/keys/phones left on tables/floors/everywhere can be dumped in its owner’s drawer. Involving the whole fam is critical so one person doesn’t get stuck tidying and cleaning all. the. time. Our boys tidy up every evening or three. They also clear their plates, wipe their own milk spills/crumb explosions, put away their laundry, sometimes cleaning jar it when bored, and generally help out if we ask nicely (if they’re not sleepy/hungry/Clone Warsy). You’re welcome future kids-in-law.

When stuff’s mostly put away, dusting, wiping, and vacuuming are a quick snap with the right tools. Not Mary Poppins, but not far off. We use:

  • A Swiffer duster with multiple “wands/light sabres” so each “wizard/Jedi” can help. We buy the name brand and replace the cloth weekly after initially cheaping out and paying a sneezy price.
  • Good old baking soda and vinegar. The key is to let it soak in so it does most of the work pre-elbow-grease.
  • Bleach, sparingly and only for the nasties. Still not green… we know.
  • Our marriage-saving Roomba; it’s not perfect but then, neither are we. Whatever it can’t reach (for us that’d be stairs, corners, and under the rads) we Swiffer after the rest of the top-to-bottom dusting’s donezo. Maybe. Or we leave those dust babies for an eventual deep clean.

The deep clean is this: every month one room in our house gets an overhaul, which means baseboards, windows, and pulling furniture away from walls to get at the super-filth. It helps that our house has exactly twelve “rooms”. If we left everything for the year, this “spring cleaning” would eat away most of a weekend. Instead it’s maybe an hour once a month, even less when the “room” is the foyer… that’s a great month. Other things we like to do:

  • Wipe down a shelf/bin in the fridge when it’s empty (pre-grocery-run) and the crusty spills are revealed (it’s never worth removing the food after stocking up).
  • Clean milk from the floor/high chair soon after it’s leaked from the baby’s leak-proof sippy cup (a lot easier when still wet… same goes for most liquids).
  • Clean the stove after cooking (when it’s still hot but won’t burn).
  • Soap scrub the sink after loading the dishwasher (prevents grime build-up, so no need for toxic cleaners).
  • Squeegee the shower door after the last shower of the night (our hand-held sprayer also does a bonus shower-stall rinse).
  • Remove screens when the weather turns cold and we’re not opening windows any more. No, we don’t dedicate an hour to walking around the house popping out screens; this is another quick task if we do it whenever we’re in a still-screened room while waiting for coffee to brew or a dawdling preschooler to finish eating/pooing/getting into bed. Bonus of no screens is more light during those SAD months, windows are easily accessible for a wipedown, if we ever decide to do that, and the screens are easily washed using that same super-handy hand-held shower head when the snow melts and we want a breeze sans bugs.

Remember this:
No one would rather clean a toilet than watch TV. But letting things slide a little bit every day gets you a small amount of daily pleasure and a house requiring major chemicals, time, and effort to restore. Splitting chores up into daily/weekly/monthly tasks means no massive spring overhaul. Nada. Sure, it’s more work through the year, but, in love-handle terms, it’s a whole lot easier to put down that donut than it is to get rid of the jelly belly.

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