Friday, April 4, 2014

Spring Cleaning

We have been busy bees over here knocking out a ton of Spring deep cleaning. Kathryn's shower was perfect timing as it got me going earlier - maybe we should have a big Spring party every year!

Spring cleaning is a totally different animal now than it was pre-kids. Tasks take longer, tasks get derailed, eager kiddos want to "help", tasks just don't get done at all. I have been trying to max out my time with the girls at school, and I am regrouping myself to take advantage of these last two months before school is out for the summer.

maddiecleaning

I always like hearing what other folks are doing to gear up for Spring, so here are the major things on my list right now. If you are doing any big cleanings or projects around the house, please share - I love to hear about them!

1) PURGE. And PURGE again. It is crazy how closets get forgotten, stuff gets lost in drawers, and clutter can just accumulate. I am taking advantage of my Spring cleaning itch to be relentless with the trash bags and the Goodwill bags and the Craigslist pile, and pretty much no room is safe. I have been trying to be very thoughtful about what stays and what goes. Am I holding onto something that is never used or never worn because it was a gift? Because it's a certain brand name? Because we paid x amount of money for it? Because maybe it will fit again someday? Because maybe someone will want to use it someday for something? Because some unlikely hypothetical third baby might like this particular toy? I have been bagging it all up and I am always amazed at how freeing it can feel to clear out a space.

2) Schedule and Balance. One thing that I have really been struggling with since being stuck at home with the kids for the last 5 months (one more month to go!) is finding a balance between keeping up with the house, spending quality time with the kids, and finding time for myself. And don't get me wrong- we have been very happy at home and it's not like this is all some huge crisis...it just feels like we could always be doing a better job balancing work and play. I feel like I have to spend so much time every day getting everyone's clutter picked up and dishes done and counters wiped down and floors swept and laundry washed - and I tend to get caught up in the cleaning and chasing this never-ending to-do list. Or I have a fun day or two with the girls and then the house is a total disaster. The girls are generally good sports about it and love following me around the house like little ducklings. And it has gotten a lot better now that the weather is nicer and we can be outside a lot, but I still find it hard to strike a good balance between having a clean and presentable home and spending the time I want with the girls. And finding time to do things that I enjoy doing - hence the fact that this blog has been quite neglected. So I am resolving to come up with a new cleaning schedule, one that is more conducive to our daily routine than my old one, and holding myself to it - once the day's to-do list is completed, I'm done and letting myself off of the cleaning hook. 


3) Clear the Bottlenecks. I have been paying a lot of attention to where things tend to get bottlenecked around the house, and doing my best to keep the process moving. I have started doing smaller but more frequent loads of dishes and loads of laundry. I have observed what areas tend to collect the most clutter and have been actively trying to implement new organizational tools and systems to try to decrease my daily decluttering workload (now just to get everyone using it - I guess that's the trick!). I also have noticed which rooms take the most of time - the kitchen? Sure. But the playroom? No way, josé. Once I realized how much time it takes me to get that room clean, I hit the playroom first with my Purge goal and cleared out SO many little pieces and toys, and packed up most of the remaining toys into the closet. Now that the girls only have a few things out that they can access, I can have the entire room picked up in ten minutes. There are so many places around the home where time and efficiency is compromised - focusing on these areas is a vital step to any Spring cleaning plan, in my opinion.

4) Restock and Repair. I have done inventories of things like our first aid kits, cleaning supply cabinets, toiletry stocks, even my makeup bag - expired or empty containers have been tossed and new items purchased. Along the repair line, I have been focusing on cleaning all of our major appliances, seeing which ones need new filters or services scheduled, and making sure they are still working as hard as we need them to be. We finally had to bid farewell to our washing machine and bite the bullet on a new one, but I'm so thrilled with our new one that I can't say I was too sad to see the old one go.

Source - Home Depot.com
 5) Switch the closets. This is a pretty big task every season and one I'm happy to say I just knocked out this week. For my clothes, I pulled out all of the winter things, made sure they were all clean and things that I wanted to keep, and put them away in a big plastic storage container I have in the closet. The girls' clothes are always a bigger headache. I have a small closet in the playroom that is full of storage bins of their clothes, and they had gotten to be a total mess. I forced myself to finally pull all of the bins out, re-sort them all into their proper size bins, and get rid of a bunch of the clothes. Their winter clothes were put away, Anna's old 24 month clothes were pulled out and inventoried and washed, and their new Spring clothes from SuSu were washed and hung up neatly in their closets.

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This probably wasn't the Spring cleaning list you were expecting, but let me assure you that all of the cleaning is getting done too - windows have all been washed (and re-fingerprinted and washed again, haha). Walls have been scrubbed, ceiling fans and baseboards dusted, doors and trim washed. Etc., etc. etc.

So please share your Spring cleaning lists too or blog posts if you've written them - I always get inspired seeing what everyone else is up to this time of year!

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