Monday, April 19, 2010

A Clean Slate

I know I'm a little late with the Spring Cleaning post, but, to be honest I've been putting it off. I try to keep up with our apartment cleaning on a day-to-day level, but there are some tasks, like cleaning the chandelier, or dusting under the furniture, that I am not just itching to do. But then, last night, JM and I got caught up watching Hoarders until 1:30 am, and, seeing those poor people stuck in their own unbelievable messes,  I decided there was no time like the present- that is one slope I do not want to test for slippery-ness, thank you very much.  Not that I suspect you are reading this with your computer perched atop a monstrous heap of rotting garbage, either, but we all have the tasks we put off. And that's what Spring Cleaning is for. So this week on the blog is officially Cleaning Week- each day I'll give you my best ideas for cleaning around the house.  Hopefully that will actually make me do the things I write about, and we'll all be inspired to move forward together.  But, if you aren't game to get on the clean house bandwagon, feel free to print out this week's posts and add them to the pile of paperwork that is spilling off your desk.  See- something for everyone!

 Today's Tip: One Thing At A Time.  
 This is a good attitude for tacking anything difficult or unappealing in life, and particularly Spring Cleaning.  If you are lucky enough to share your home with a brood of kids and extended family members, you can knock out Spring Cleaning in an afternoon- just set a date, pump some tunes, and get everyone in on the action- many hands make light work (and those teeny little hands are particularly good for dusting the hard-to-reach spots).  But, more likely, if you are still reading, the brunt of the housecleaning falls to little ol' you. If this is the case, fear not the dust bunny- you can do this. Just break the tasks into easy-to-manage pieces and you'll find yourself living in the sparkling clean and organized home of your dreams. Okay, fine, the sparkling clean and organized home you already have.

1. Get Organized. In Your Head. Before you can get anything done, you need to figure out what needs doing.  Grab a clipboard and a pen and make a list of every little task that needs doing at your place.  Be thorough- go from room to room (and outside, too) and make a note of every single thing that needs to get done- from big jobs like cleaning the oven to little tasks like emptying the bathroom trash can- and write 'em all down. Your list will probably be dauntingly long, but that will just make it feel all the better when you accomplish everything on it.

2. Get Started. No time like the present... or tonight when you get home from work.  You don't have to take on a whole room- just choose a few things from your list and get going. Be smart, though, and work from top to bottom (don't sweep and mop the floors before you dust the ceiling fan, or you'll just have to do it again). If you are feeling ambitious, take on a bathroom, a closet or your pantry or kitchen cabinets. Focus on purging things you don't use or need (think "What Would A Hoarder Do?" and do the opposite), and on organizing the things that you keep in a way where you can find and access them easily (otherwise, you might as well not have them).

3.  Get Creative. You can be a little creative when it comes to attacking your tasks.  For instance, you may find it more efficient to grab the Windex and paper towels and clean every window, mirror and glass picture frame in the house in one fell swoop, rather than focusing on doing things room by room. And don't forget to clean the things you don't often think about- your air conditioner filter, the tops of doors, the garbage can lid. It might help to stand on a chair, or sit on the floor in order to get a better view on what needs cleaning.

4. Get Inspired. Turn on the radio or your iPod. It makes the cleaning go so much faster and, if you let yourself dance and sing a little while you work, even a little fun.  I find Motown (..."the way you swept me off my feet, you know you could have been a broom"...) and Reggae particularly helpful for mood-elevation.

5. Get Finished. Once you've accomplished each task, cross it off your list. You'll be amazed at how quickly you are able to work through them. Once you've done enough, and start feeling lazy, call it a day. Just make sure you pick up where you left off tomorrow night. For now, sit back and admire your work. And if you need extra motivation, Hoarders airs on A&E on Mondays at 10. Seriously.

Photo credit: Martha Stewart

1 comment:

randi brookman harris said...

photo STYLING credit: your friend, mrs. randi brookman harris. nice pic pick!