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keep it clean

When I was growing up, us kids did NOT look forward to spring break.  While all our friends were off on wild adventures, we were at home.  Elbow deep in spring cleaning.  And we hated every second of it.  Before you go calling DCFS, let it be known that we had plenty of adventures, and were very fortunate children.  However, true to kid fashion, spring break put our blinders on and we were pretty sure we were the most unfortunate of souls and our lives were over.  Mom had a very specific system, and I blame this exact time every year for turning me in to the clean freak I am now.  We did a room a day, mostly because us kids figured out that if we worked faster she would make us clean more, but that meant that it took all freaking week to finish.  On day one, we would wake up and while eating breakfast, mom would write our lists.  I also blame her for my list obsession.  Whoever owned the room we cleaned each day was required to go in, strip the bedding, pull everything off shelves and walls, and move furniture to the center of the room.  You guys...this spring cleaning business was no joke.  Blinds were pulled and left to soak in cleaning solution in the tub then hung to dry on the deck railing, screens sprayed, windows washed--inside and outside, walls wiped, baseboards wiped and vacuumed, closets cleaned, dressers cleaned out...I could go on and on.  The only up side was when it was time to clean Kaylee's room, because she always had money stashed random places.

It's a harrowing day when you realize you are the mom/wife, and that no one else is going to clean the house if you don't.  It's also upsetting when you realize that all of a sudden you care more about the dust collecting on the dresser top than you do about the sale at Forever 21.  Easy there... I said Forever 21, not H&M.  Let's not get ahead of ourselves here.  One of the things spring cleaning taught me was that once everything was clean, I DID NOT WANT TO MESS IT UP! I just spent an entire day on that room.  There is no way I'm going to do anything to make it dirty now.  There was a sense of pride I carried around for a minute or two.  You know... until the clean clothes piles started coming in.  Because I know about that feeling, I've imprisoned my kids to help with the cleaning in hopes that they will figure that out as well.  That and because one day when they are grown men their wives will ask them to clean the boys bathroom with their oldest son.  When that day comes, my boys will not be found scrubbing the tub with the toilet scrubber like their father did.  Don't you worry... my mother in law got a phone call from a super unimpressed daughter in law about why her son was cleaning the tub with the toilet scrubber.  "He's never cleaned a bathroom a day in his life!" She said.  Clearly!

Having grown up in a super clean house, I expect my house to be the same.  That means I have to implement some sort of cleaning system if I plan to keep it that way.  One of my favorite parts about this blog is when people send in topic requests--and trust me, everyone has a request...and an opinion--so Tara, this one is for you! First thing is first... I clean every day.  I didn't say I clean all day, but I clean something every day.  Daily tasks include dishes, floors, making beds--everyone makes their own, and tidying up. The remaining schedule goes as follows:

Monday: Laundry, kitchen--counters, fridge, pantry, appliances, cabinets
Tuesday: Bathrooms--tub/shower/faucets, toilet, sink, counter, mirror, 
Wednesday: Laundry, seasonal item--baseboards, windows, walls, etc.
Thursday: kitchen, bedrooms--organize, dejunk, dust
Friday: Laundry, loft--toys put away, dust 
Saturday: bedrooms, bathrooms, kitchen, ironing

Right before I start making dinner we have power hour.  Baylor has just woken up from his nap which means I can blast music.  Music makes everyone more productive.  The boys and I run around the house picking up toys and putting everything away that is out while the music blares.  They know that if they participate in this, they can have screen time until dinner is ready.  I do a mini version of this same thing once kids are in bed.  It's mini because I can't blare the music, so I'm not as motivated.  This whole situation takes some training and habit forming, but making the kids help gives them some ownership and makes it a lot quicker.  They are also more apt to put shoes in the actual shoe bin the first time, rather than in the middle of the room, so they don't have to pick them up later.

I have implemented spring cleaning into my own home now.  This means we get REALLY into cleaning a specific area.  I have cleaning products I'm loyal to, but I feel like diving in to those would require some sort of payment from the companies.  Ha! Just kidding.  If you care about what those are, just ask.  The spring cleaning checklist is as follows:

-wipe walls
-wipe baseboards
-wash bedding/linens/blankets/curtains/pillows
-clean window treatments
-spray off screens
-clean windows
-wipe down fan blades and light fixtures--there is a pillowcase trick with this one.
-remove all objects from shelves, dust shelves, wipe all objects and replace
-polish/dust furniture
-rearrange furniture
-dejunk stuff--toys, clothes, knick knacks, etc.
-vacuum around baseboards
-vacuum carpet/sweep and mop wood floors

Basically if it moves, wipe it down.  If it doesn't move, wipe it down.  You now understand why we only do one room a day right? And there you have it.  All my cleaning secrets you wanted to know, which are none.


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