Better Late than Never: A Busy Mom’s Guide to Spring Cleaning
It’s officially spring! And it has been for a little bit now. But spring cleaning doesn’t have to start exactly when spring starts, right? So, it makes total sense that lots of us haven’t gotten it done yet. That’s fine. There’s a whole month left before summer starts. But, if you’ve put it off this long there’s probably a good reason why.
Moms are busy people. It doesn’t matter if your full-time job is your kids or your part-time job is Wall Street, you’re going to be busy. Cleaning can fall to the very bottom of your to-do list, and that’s fine. A clean house doesn’t mean a happy home. But it can help. So, if you do want to do some cleaning in celebration of spring, or just because your house needs is, then do it! Just keep in mind that you have other priorities. Keep it quick!
KISS – or Keep It Simple, Stupid. In other words, don’t bite off more than you can chew for the day. If you have both spring cleaning and a little league game to get to, in addition to everything else, then stick with easy, quick chores. In other words, moving the furniture to vacuum under it may have to wait for another day. No one sees that stuff anyway, so it’s not like you really have to do it.
What you can do can make a big difference though. Pick on shelf or desktop and go through it. Or, if you want, dedicate 10 minutes a day to organizing clutter.
Divide and Conquer
If your kids are old enough to help clean, then set them to work as well. It’s actually good for them, no matter how much they complain. How you go about convincing them to help you depends on their age and your parenting style, but remember the first rule – keep it simple. Don’t give the kids a 10 item list, just ask for one thing.
If your kids are too young to clean, then the divide and conquer approach falls to the adults! You can split it up any way you want to – one partner does inside the home while one does outside, each of you takes a room to clean, or however you want to split it up. Just remember that sharing the load makes it easier on everyone.
Set the Oven to Self-Clean
There are very few appliances that will clean themselves. The oven is one of them. Use it to your advantage. The key here is to plan for it, because a self-clean mode can take a few hours. Don’t try and do it right before dinner, because the oven will lock and you won’t be able to open it until it’s done, several hours later. Make sure you do it when you have enough time. Then, sit back and enjoy the advantages of living in a world where some things can actually clean themselves.
It takes very little time to change lightbulbs, but it’s incredibly important to do. Take the opportunity to replace any incandescent bulbs in your home. If you can switch them out for a more energy efficient option, like CFL’s, then do so. If you already have CFL’s, they probably don’t need to be changed. But it doesn’t hurt to check.
If you need to change any CFL bulbs, remember they aren’t like incandescent bulbs. They have a small amount of mercury in them, so they need to be disposed of properly.
Take Care of Your Closet
Closets are an area where people tend to shove things to “deal with them later”. Sometimes, later turns into never, which turns into one heck of a mess in the closet! That can be a bit of a bummer, because that closet space is your area, and it’s one place the kids are less likely to be. It’s also a place where you can accumulate clothes, like your high school prom dress. That should probably go.
When you do tackle your closet, make sure you have a plan and know what you’re getting into. Organizing isn’t the same as purging, so you need to have a solid understanding of the items you should keep and not keep, and what you’re going to do with the stuff you’re not keeping. It’s ok to throw it away if it’s old and ratty.
Take to the Skies
Or just take to the ceiling. While you’re rummaging around on your ceiling for lights, keep any eye out for other problem spots. One thing you should definitely do, every year, is test and replace the batteries in your smoke detectors. Clean them out as well, to make sure you don’t have a buildup of spider webs. This doesn’t take long, although you might not want to do it during nap time, especially if you’re testing them!
Another thing you can keep an eye out for while you’re up there is dust. Ceiling fans are a notoriously difficult area to remember to dust. When you turn them on, all that build up just gets flung off into the air, which can have an impact on your air quality.
Spring cleaning doesn’t have to eat up your entire weekend. That’s the best opportunity for family time! Take a little bit, do the necessities with the help of your family, and call it good. Everything else can wait.