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Spring Cleaning for the Housework Impaired

Yesterday was the first day of spring, and you know what THAT means – the pressure to clean and declutter our domicile is upon us! I will be the first to admit that I get a strong urge for change, but since I’m pretty organized to begin with (it comes with the title), I can let things slide quite a bit. I’ll be happy to share a few tips with you if you promise to leave your white gloves at home next time you visit me.

Clean as You Go - 

I realize this is the mantra of many a professional organizer (and probably that of your mother), but it does cut the cleaning time down considerably. If you have a home for papers, toys, clothes, and other items in your home, you will have fewer things to pick up and vacuum under when it’s time to clean. Cleaning as you go saves time, energy, and strain on the eyes.

Dust Bunnies, Beware - Tube socks placed on little hands or a pint-sized feather duster will chase those dustbunnies right off the brickabrack and under the rug. There is really no reason to get out the soft cloth diapers and lemon oil if you have a houseful of kids and boxed up the breakables long ago. Even toddlers can help you with this chore if you make it a game: Mommy cleans high, You clean low. Before you know it, they’re hooked into thinking it’s fun and there’s no turning back now.Use a blow dryer to blast the dust off silk plants and greenery.  Toss those pillow shams and comforters into the clothes dryer, add a dryer sheet, and turn the dial to AIR. Tackle the toss pillows and afghans next. Things will smell nice and fresh, and you’ll save a bundle on the dry cleaning bills.

Much Ado About Nothing I once was a neat freak, but that was B.K. (before kids). As parents, we know that having children changes all the rules and your lives are never the same. What once was done on a regular basis has lapsed considerably around my home, and the homes of my friends and neighbors with children: vacuuming, dusting, cleaning bathrooms, and mopping are all done bimonthly or monthly now instead of weekly.  And truth be told, when guests visit your house, they are really not there to inspect the dust on your coffee table or check for vacuum tracks on your pile carpet. Grandma is there to see the kids. Your next-door-neighbor is here with her daughter for a playdate – she’s much too busy saying no-no to her two-year-old to notice whether or not you mopped the kitchen floor today. So lighten up, don’t be so hard on yourself. No one else is! 

When All Else Fails, CHEAT!  Follow the example of professional cleaners and buy cleaners that will do the job for you. Cleaners that are designed to get rid of lime & hard water stains will really do that if you give them a chance. Don’t scrub and work hard without giving the cleaners a chance to do their job – this is a great time saver. It also helps you “multi-task” because you can squirt toilet cleaner or mildew cleaner on the bathroom fixtures and move on. Come back to rinse or wipe and find hidden time to read a story to your kiddos or flip through a magazine. Go ahead, you’ve earned it.

Using quick and dirty tricks like these will add spring in your step and sparkle to your life. But I can’t guarantee that these cleaning techniques work on monsters under the bed – you’ll need industrial strength monster spray for that cleaning challenge!

About the Author

Debbie Williams is an author, speaker and organizing strategist who offers tools and training to help you put your life in order. Learn more at Organized Times.