Once you have committed to spring cleaning, or fall cleaning, or even a once a year deep clean, it’s a good idea to create a plan of attack. I found that the years I decided to just start, with no plan for how I was going to tackle my space, or with no end goal in mind, were the years that my cleaning took the longest, or never got completed.
That’s not to say that having a plan is a sure-fire guarantee that you will get through your cleaning. There’s a quote that says, “Life happens while we are busy making other plans,” and I have found this to be absolutely true. Family events get planned. Babies are born. Relatives graduate. You may plan to clean every weekend for 6 weeks, and then get invited to five different functions during that time. Here’s something I have learned over the past twenty years of being married: your house will still be there needing to be cleaned, but your family will miss you at their event. Go and do the thing, and don’t worry about whatever it was you had planned to clean.
Having said all that, create a schedule anyhow. You can always move things around as you need to, and push back your finish date. The nice thing about having a schedule is that it creates accountability. There’s something about having a to-do list that makes you want to check things off and get them done. Or, at least I have found that to be true with me.
Here’s how I create my schedule for the spring (which is different than how I create my schedule in the fall): first, I pick an end date. It typically coincides with the week or so prior to the cookout we host every summer. Then I print the list of all the rooms in our house that I created on my computer. Some areas of my house don’t take very long to clean, and so they get combined with other areas and cleaned at the same time. I also have areas that get cleaned in the spring, like the barn (garage), and other areas that get cleaned in the fall, like the attic. Raking gets done during both of those times and is added onto the list. I count how many rooms/areas I need to find time for, and I count back how many weekends that is.
This is where my calendar, and knowing my house comes in handy. I will not start my spring cleaning while the heat in my house is still on. The heating system throws out dust and grime, and so I start my spring cleaning on the top floor, where I turn the heat off first. If I can get away with it, however, I first clean my porch. The porch is the first place that you enter into my house, and coming into a clean porch every day makes me feel motivated to keep going with the rest of my cleaning. If I have weekends with events, I work around them the best I can. If I have weekends with multiple events, I move my cleaning backwards. I typically shut the heat off in my upstairs in April, and the rest of the house in May. The last few years May has been very cold, and the downstairs heat has stayed on into the middle of May. I don’t sweat that, I just work the rooms where there is no heat first. I try not to clean those room on days where it is too cold, but sometimes it can’t be helped.
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