I did it! One Weekend, One Major House Spring Cleaning
12 hours, 2 cups of Mrs. Meyers all-purpose cleaner, 3 sponges and 183 songs later, I finished #26 on my Thirty before 30 list… successfully (?) spring-cleaning our house in one weekend.
And, I’m exhausted.
Our house is about 2800 square feet. I knew this would be a giant task, mostly because I am not a great house-cleaner. I know the basics… dusting, sweeping, mopping, bathrooms. But, even then, I don’t feel like a pro. I had not done a large-scale deep cleaning to our house since we moved in July 2008, so it was overdue to clean all the otherwise neglected nooks and crannies.
When tackling a big project like this, thankfully I know enough about myself to know I needed to make a detailed list to keep me focused. I spent a couple of days deciding how to tackle the project, and then I created a Google spreadsheet to help outline what I needed to do (the link is public and available to you for use if you want it!). Next to each task, I created an “expected task time” to figure out how long everything would take. When I added it all up on Friday before I printed it out, I gulped:
Expected Total Task Time: 16 hours.
Ok then. Quite daunting.
About the worksheet… I labeled each page as follows: “Comfy Rooms, Water Rooms, Miscellaneous Chores.” When JD looked at the page, he said, “But I consider the bathroom the comfiest room.” Sigh: boys.
My weekend plan was pretty open. JD had commitments on Saturday afternoon, Saturday night and all day Sunday, so I had the house completely to myself and Lucy. My Saturday started off like every other good Saturday morning does: coffee, Weekend WSJ, and a little Click and Clack on NPR (“Don’t drive like my brutha!”) on the way to Saturday morning yoga class. I had all of Saturday afternoon and night open. On Sunday, I was heading to church, eating lunch with a pal, then home again to keep cleaning. A great open schedule.
I got started almost immediately after I got home. I had a great yoga class with my pal Libby and was refreshed and ready to work. I started around 2, just after some lunch with JD. I plugged in my iPod to some speakers, filled up the sink with water, and began my marathon. I have too many thoughts about it, so here are some bullets in no good order:
- Our bedroom was cleaned first. I knew I wanted to have a clean room ready for me to collapse into after the first day. I was very glad I did this.
- I also cleaned all the bathrooms except the small half bath on the first day. This was great… I’m so glad I got the hardest chores done on the first day.
- I split up the list into 19 “zones.” I finished 11 on the first day… I knew I wanted to get over half done before the first day was over.
- It was really yucky weather outside… stormy and cold. Yes, this was a pain for beating rugs and cushions and airing out the rooms, but if it was beautiful outdoors, I would have been itching to enjoy the day. I think it worked out well.
- Thank goodness for music. What a great way to time myself: no more than one song for each chore.
- Lucy was patient throughout the process. She would move where the music speakers moved. I mostly kept the music in the living room, so she stayed on the couch. At one point though, I moved the music to our bedroom so I could clean our bathroom and closet, so she lay pitifully on our bed, which had been stripped of the sheets and mattress cover. She was a good companion.
- One thing I washed but didn’t put on the list: Lucy’s stuffed toys. Even Lucy’s friends were cleaned.
- The Magic Eraser? Uh, yes please. It is … magic. I got off scuffs on baseboards and stairs that I didn’t think would ever come up.
- Friends were super sweet to send me their tips on house-cleaning (I’ll share with you that list later this week), and one recurring tip was to use vinegar. I get it, yes: it is good and cheap. But, I knew that I couldn’t handle that scent all weekend. So, I used the slightly expensive Mrs. Meyer’s Basil All-Purpose Cleaner because I wanted to smell my success. I’m so glad I did, and I still have a lot left over.
- I used the mess out of baking soda: in the carpets, on the stovetop and even in our mattress. (Thanks, “Real Simple”!)
- I had fruit and snacks available throughout the day in case I was hungry. It really felt like I was in a marathon… I was constantly scrubbing, dusting or mopping.
- The cleaning was tackled room by room, rather than one task at a time. This was a suggestion from my friend Misty, and it was great.
- I worked for 8 hours on Saturday (from 2-10, basically working straight through) and 4 hours on Sunday (1 hour before church and 3 in the afternoon). I am so glad I worked so much longer on Saturday. On Sunday, I was about. to. pass. out.
- After each day, I had the crazy urge to shower. I smelled like cleaning products and was dusty. I wanted badly to just crash on Saturday night, but I felt a little like Pig-Pen.
- Below, you can see my finished task list. I used the turquoise marker to cross-out what I did Saturday and brown for Sunday. I love scratching off items from the list.
My back is sore and I dragging today at work, but I am so satisfied with how clean our house is! JD and I may be the only people who notice the difference, but I’m so glad it is done. I’m officially ready for the spring and warm weather.
Come back later this week. I’ll tell you about the adventure that is cleaning your refrigerator and all the tips from my clean girlfriends!