Spring-cleaning can feel like an overwhelming task, but this simple system will see you saying goodbye to spring-cleaning stress!
There are three things that are sure in life: death, taxes and the need for spring cleaning.
The best piece of advice I can give you about cleaning is pay for a cleaner. If you’re reading this, however, I assume you’re like me and this is not an option. And even if you do have one, the reality is they’re doing business as usual, and sometimes… no, always, things eventually need more care and attention than the weekly spruce-up. When this happens, I notice every mark on the door and scuff on the skirting – usually accompanied by loud complaints about what a pigsty the house is becoming. Opening up a drawer forces a Pavlovian response when the next thing you know, I have all the utensils on the bench and am scrubbing in the corners, muttering darkly all the while.
I’m a school teacher, and even when I was a single mum with my two children at home, I’d attempt to spring clean every room of the house every one of the four school holidays to get rid of this urge. However, achieving this goal was challenging (if not impossible), put me under pressure, and wasted days that could’ve been spent doing better things. So here’s the system I’ve developed to avoid this cleaning overload and instead tackle it in bite-sized chunks, the system that makes sure you never have to spring clean again. I want to credit Flylady for her idea of zones, which I have tweaked to my needs.
Spring cleaning preparation:
Create a list of rooms / areas
As with all things, preparation is key. The first thing to do it to create a list of rooms or areas in your home. In our house we have:
- kitchen / scullery
- dining area
- living room
- master bedroom
- walk-in wardrobe
- son’s bedroom
- daughter’s bedroom
- garage / laundry
This is 12 separate areas.
Note the following tasks
- deep dust (remove books, ornaments etc and dust the whole surface)
- deep clean (inside microwave, wipe down inside oven, wash rangehood filters, rubbish bins and so on)
- clean doors
- clean light fittings
- clean skirting
- clean windowsills and joinery
- wash windows
- clean ceiling
- vacuum room edges / under furniture
You can do them in any order you please, though I find that decluttering works best for the first task as then you’re not cleaning things you’re going to get rid of, and your shelves etc can be well-organized which again facilitates cleaning when you are up to this.
Now since I first wrote this post, I’ve moved to Trello as an organizational tool. The beauty of using Trello for this is that you can take two approaches to your cleaning – either do it room by room (which may be important, especially if you have guests coming and the room hasn’t been used for a while) or by task, which can be more efficient if you are doing tasks like the skirting.
If you look at the image below, you can see that I set up what’s called a list for each room and then I created a card for each cleaning task. As you complete the task, you drag it from one list to the other. It’s basically a cleaning workflow.
If you don’t want to use Trello you can use the same principle by dividing pages in your planner and using small sticky notes like the Trello cards, or go really old school and just write a list. When you cross off the task on one room, write it on the other.
Now what I do is I do my regular weekly cleaning (the details of which can be found in Simple weekly tasks to keep your home under control) and I add on an hour to this (this hour is also on the checklist you can download). During this hour, I start with a card or a room, depending on what I feel like. However you could make it task orientated (eg, complete three cards in a room, or move a card through three rooms).
If you are consistent with either the time or the tasks, over time you will cover all the rooms and all the tasks.
I had this system going in my previous house and when we put it up for sale we didn’t need to do any extra frantic cleaning inside- not even when we packed up and moved out. That was when I knew I had something that worked.
So what do you think? Pros? Cons? Any suggestions on how this could work better, or how you handle spring cleaning in your home?
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