Now that Spring is officially here, and the windows are open letting the breeze kind of scrub out the old Winter air, it's becoming painfully obvious that the entire house is in dire need of a good scrub, too.
So, here is a schedule for deep cleaning the house, for those of us who just do not have days on end to devote to Spring cleaning, but could give it a day every month. One upon a time, housewives would spend days, even weeks, cleaning every room in the house, from top to bottom, including scrubbing walls and floors by hand, reaching every nook and cranny. The woman of today, whether she is a stay at home mom, a part time working woman, or holds down a full time job, there just isn't that kind of time in our schedules. Today's woman spends a fair amount of time running everyone hither and yon, for lessons of one kind or another, to sport practices and games, and to church activities. That along with our own involvement in church callings, and outside interests, just leaves us feeling that the house is a low priority.
Yes, we all have those days when, with the best of intentions of getting it done, we dive into closets, cupboards, and under beds. Before we know it the day is quickly passing, and then we are faced with the reality that we cannot get it all done. It can be so overwhelming and the resulting stress is often passed onto the rest of the family because, if it weren't for them, the house wouldn't look like that in the first place and why do we have to be the only ones that really knows how to deep clean........... and then we throw in the towel hoping fate will send us a three day weekend in which we plan to actually get it done.
It's a vicious cycle, and the only way to find any level of peace is to be more realistic with our expectations of ourselves. Cleaning houses is a full time occupation. Plenty of people make a living doing it. Why on earth do we think we can do all that we already do, and then are able to add a full time job on top of it all? So, divide and conquer I say. We all could find just one day every month to set aside as long as we know the project we are giving to that day can truly be accomplished in that time frame.
I've seen a bunch of lists on Pinterest, Blogs, and Facebook outlining a twelve month plan for getting organized. Now, most of these lists are great, and I have borrowed some of their input for my own list. That said, the list below is uniquely mine, and caters to my personal life, our specific house, and the way we like to structure our year, so, it may or may not work for someone else. Either way, here it is......
Clean garage and shed. Discard any broken or unused items. Clean floors and clear cobwebs off of
walls and ceiling. Spray for insects. Repaint and repair as needed. Yes, I know the garage is not really what you were thinking would be the first project, but, consider this. As you are cleaning out and boxing up the things you will end up either donating to charity or selling in a garage sale, the garage is the most likely place it will all end up, so, why drag it in there just to have to drag it back out in order to clean under and around it.
Sort all photos both hard copies and on computer files. Delete and discard those that are duplicates,
blurry, or otherwise not a valuable memory that needs to take up space. Store or organize into
photo albums. Scan the most valuable onto a hard drive in case of fire, and upload to an online
storage. Make a back up copy of all valuable photos on a flash drive or other portable storage
device and place in a fire safe or go bag.
Clean up the storage rooms, discarding excess, and vacuuming for cobwebs and dust. Spray for
insects. Repair and repaint as needed. Organize the food storage shelves and, if possible, inventory as you go for later use.
Deep clean the living room, dining room and family room. Repaint and repair as needed. Launder
pillows, chair covers, draperies, etc. Shampoo carpets. Deep clean windows and fixtures.
Prepare for the holidays and winter. Clean or book a cleaning of the furnace, ducts,
vents, and fireplaces. Repair, replace, or discard holiday decorations as needed. Organize the decorations in order of each holiday's timing (Halloween, Thanksgiving, Christmas). Obtain wood for winter heating
and emergencies. Check that oil lamps are prepped and ready for the coming storm season. Replace the batteries in the smoke detectors, and if you don't have one, get a carbon monoxide detector, or two. Replenish candles, matches, lighters and flashlight batteries.
Sort and categorize important papers into file folders. Dedicate 12 folders, one
for each month of the year, and place files in them each for coupons, recipes, event
reminders, upcoming bills to be paid that occur annually in that particular month, etc. Recycle old paper. Remember the three years rule when it comes to how long to store a document. There are a great many sites dedicated to information about what you need to keep and for how long. This would also be a good time to check your will, your insurance paperwork, and your warranties, updating anything as needed.
Clean out all clothing closets and drawers. Anything worn, torn, stained, outgrown, or never worn
can be either donated, stored for emergencies or thrown away. Reorganize clothing. Check existing 72 hour kits, replace and update what is needed, and if you don't have enough kits or any kits for that matter, now is a great time of year to create them as sporting goods stores are trying to shift their camping equipment as the season is ending, and with hunting season this month (at least here in Utah), there are lots of sales on supplies for your kits.
Clean hard drives on all computers, retaining only what is preferred, and deleting duplicates
or unwanted files. Back up all hard drives. Perform a full system scan and clean up-defrag-
and otherwise tune up each computer. Launder holiday linens and begin prepping for decorating. While the computers are backing up, take some time to really deep clean and wax the kitchen floor.
Plan and budget for the upcoming year, including vacations, birthdays, holidays, major events, major purchases, and any planned medical or dental procedures. December is a busy month. You will have enough to do without a big project, too.
Completely organize the kitchen. Repair and repaint as necessary. Discard expired foods, herbs,
spices, condiments. Discard broken, chipped or otherwise damaged cups, bowls, etc. Deep clean
each appliance and cabinet. Deep clean the outside of the cabinets and appliances. Wipe out cabinet shelves and the inside of the drawers.
Completely organize each child's bedroom. Deep clean under beds, windows, and walls. Discard
old, broken, or unused toys and books. Repaint and repair walls, fixtures, etc as needed. Clean
all linens, freshen mattresses, pillows, carpets and window coverings. Repeat process for adult
bedrooms, each taking responsibility for their own room.
Deep clean each bathroom. Scrup and wax floors. Wash walls and fixtures. Repaint and repair as
needed. Clean out cabinets and cupboards, discarding expired medicines, cleaning products, etc.
Now, no one ever said you have to do things one way or another. This list could easily be re-arranged any way you choose, but, at least you know that every month a big project will get done, and by this time next year your entire house will be so much cleaner, you'll be able to find things, and you'll be teaching your family how to manage their own homes in the future.
I'm a mother of eleven children, wife of 32 years, Latter Day Saint, and 911 Dispatcher and a budding homesteader. Come along with me as I journey toward self sufficiency, one baby step at a time.
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