Tuesday, May 31, 2011

the big spring clean: part I

I hope I'm not the only one to say that I have never done spring-cleaning in my home. I have been a married woman for almost 10 years (in 2 different homes) and have mostly scraped by with the bare minimum. Sure, there are times when I get on a cleaning spree and do a slightly deeper clean -- but NEVER an official spring cleaning.

But that's all about to change!!

I got inspired a few weeks ago by my cousin/SIL when she joined a 31 Days to Clean challenge. I decided to not follow the actual schedule in any way, shape or form though but rather just do my own thing. If I were to say I would follow the schedule only to fall behind...I know I would give up. But by not giving myself those time constraints, I feel I am opening myself up to greater success. There are some weeks -- like this one, for example -- when time just does not allow for any more than the basics of emptying the dishwasher, wiping the counters and trying to make sure we all have clean clothes to wear.

So I just want to plug away at it when time permits and adjust my 'plan of attack' accordingly. Of course I started off being more excited and energetic at the thought of this process, but like everything else the novelty wears off. But I am determined that I am going to follow this thing through from start to finish...no matter how long it takes me!

My official start date was Thursday, May 19th. First off, I started in my kitchen since that is the most used room in the house (and quite frankly, the room that needs the most work!). But rather than even begin to tackle dusting the tops of the cabinets and even the inside of cabinets and drawers, I am leaving that more towards the end of the entire spring cleaning project. I want to start with things that will make a noticeable difference just by looking into a room. That way it gives me motivation that I am actually making progress instead of making me overwhelmed by feeling like I'm putting in all of this work only to see no real visible changes.

I did make a cabinet exception under my sink though. I don't know about you, but my under-the-sink cabinet was a complete disaster. So I did take the time to get that one cleaned out and I'm glad I did! Look at the difference! And it only took me about 15 minutes.

Other than that, I have dusted the light fixtures, washed the kitchen window (inside & out) including the screen, wiped down the outside of all cabinets & drawers...even the kick plates that nobody ever really notices (but you'd be surprised at how much YOU'LL notice the difference once it's done) and the walls and baseboards. I scrubbed down the outside of the dishwasher, stove, fridge, toaster, hood fan and the inside and outside of the microwave. I also de-cluttered the outside of my fridge. No more mish-mash of all sorts of things covering the exterior of the refrigerator. Now it just has my calender, my grocery list and the girls' current school photos. I love how much tidier that makes the whole kitchen look. My kitchen truly sparkles now!

The only part of the kitchen that's left (other than the inside of cabinets like I mentioned before) is the 'catch-all' part of the island -- which is conveniently not included in the above picture. ;) I do want that to be my next project however, as having that part still messy takes away from the clean-ness of the rest of the kitchen!

Moving on to the dining room, I have again washed the walls and baseboards, the outside of the pantry door and the window. I wiped down the water cooler and the girls' craft drawers, the light fixtures and the pictures on the walls. I also wiped down all of the chairs & table legs. It's amazing how much dust & grime gets in between all of the chair spindles and such.

Now my dining room looks a lot more inviting as it just emanates cleanliness and is totally clutter-free. My goal is to keep the table completely empty of any papers or anything -- other than a potential center piece from time to time.

For the most part that is where I have stopped...for now. Like I said, time has just gotten away on me and I haven't had much chance for anything more than the basics. There was one afternoon though -- in between my work-out and having to get supper started -- where I had about half an hour. So I decided to tackle the closet in my front entrance. I haven't done the rest of the entrance (floors, light fixtures, baseboards, walls, etc.) but just by doing the closet it makes enough of a difference already! It's still a full closet, but at least it's more organized and clean.

So I plan to carry on in ways that fit into my schedule and things that seem more of a higher priority. The island countertop will be next for sure (at least the next thing when I have about a 2 hour chunk of time...yes it will probably take that long to properly clean and de-clutter that piece of counter -- at least if I'm planning on doing more than just moving the piles of junk from one place in the house to another!).

And after that I have to finish the front entrance, do the 3 bathrooms, the small desk/office area beside the dining room, the living room, 3 bedrooms (including closets), the linen closet, the front porch and the basement (including the laundry room and 2 freezers we have down there) and finish up with some of the 'hidden' work in the kitchen. And of course on top of all of that is the day-to-day upkeep of what I have worked on so far. If I start to neglect my dining room now and let it all fall apart again, it will have all been for no reason. So while I take time to do the deeper cleaning, I also need to balance that out with maintenance on the rooms I have already mastered.

I definitely have my work cut out for me, but I will break it into reasonable chunks rather than get overwhelmed at the whole project. If I were to think of having to actually fit that in a 31 day challenge, I would totally freak out! Even if this job takes me all the way through the summer -- bit by bit -- I am okay with that. And yes, I may lose my momentum for a time in between, but I am nothing if not determined!

So check back in for regular updates on how I am doing. I forgot to take before pictures of the dining room and kitchen, but will try to do better with the other areas of the house so you can see the complete transformation.


LaughingLady said...

Good for you! Great job!! Isn't it amazing how different the place looks, even when you didn't think it was really that dirty before??! I was a little shocked! But I love how I notice those areas more quickly now and am more likely to give them a quick swipe with a cloth so that I won't need to work at cleaning them quite so hard the NEXT time!

Infant Toys said...

I guess the hardest part when it comes to spring cleaning is to start. Once you start and get going, then everything seems easier. Now, if only I have the motivation to start...

TammyIsBlessed said...

Great job!!!

Jamie said...

I think you've just kicked my butt into spring cleaning mode!

Playground Slides said...

Its a real tough job to initiate cleaning. Now its time for the spring cleaning again. The fall and winter are around the corner..