Having changed dwellings 11 times in the past 15 years, my husband and I have cleaned a lot of houses. We’ve washed baseboards and ovens, shampooed carpets and vacuumed under beds. But we’ve always done it when we move out, when we’re fixing up the place so we can get our deposit back, or making it sparkle to put it on the market.
Every time we deep clean a home, and I look around at how nice it looks when we’re done, I think, we always do this when we leave. We don’t even get to enjoy it.
No more, my friends. With my New Year’s commitment to housekeeping this year, we are not cleaning the house just for guests, or for the next residents. We are keeping it clean for ourselves. And this past weekend, we began our first dedicated spring cleaning.
Because of the enormity of the task – it took all day Sunday to launder sheets, underbedding, and blankets, and I haven’t even gotten to comforters and pillows yet – we are splitting our checklist into two weekends, and we actually marked “Spring Cleaning” on our calendars so that we wouldn’t schedule anything else those days. Thankfully, we took care of some of these tasks, like washing curtains and organizing our files, when we moved in. Last weekend we purged closets, gathered dry cleaning and mending, made lists of spring clothes the kids need, flipped mattresses, washed light fixtures. Next weekend, God help us, we will tackle the rest:
✓ Launder underbedding
✓ Wash blankets/quilts/comforters
✓ Clean and change over seasonal clothing
✓ Give away items
✓ Turn mattresses
✓ Wash knickknacks/glass – candleholders, vases
✓ Clean top of kitchen cupboards and top of refrigerator
✓ Wash light fixtures
Change air filter
Wash windows and screens
Vacuum refrigerator coils
Clean walls, ceilings, floors
Move and clean under appliances
Shampoo rugs and upholstery
Organize household records
Organize and clean basement shelves
Wow, that’s a daunting list. I’m not even going to pretend like I’m excited to take care of all this. But as my new hero, Cheryl Mendelson writes, “Whether you live alone or with a spouse, parents, and ten children, it is your housekeeping that makes your home alive,” and I am inspired. I think about what our house is going to feel like when we’re done, all clean and sparkly and restorative, warm and airy and fresh like the coming spring, and I am eager to do the work. Or at least, for it to be done.
If you are inspired to keep house and are struggling with how to organize your approach, take a look at Housekeeping schedule: Dailies & Weeklies. I’ve been following this schedule, with a few adjustments, since the beginning of the year. The routine has become habit, making it part of my regular life rather than a neglected chore that that has to be tacked on at the end of the day.
Home Comforts: The Art & Science of Keeping House by Cheryl Mendelson. Mendelson, a homemaker, lawyer, and mother, learned about housekeeping from an early age from her grandmothers, one Appalachian, the other Italian. The two grandmothers taught her that although different ways of keeping house can be appropriate, there are generally smarter, faster, and more creative ways of housekeeping that make it less of a chore and more of an art. (Amazon)