Spring is an opportunity to sweep away dust bunnies, store winter clothes, pull back the curtains, and let the sunshine pour in. Grandma knew it was better to work smarter, not harder when it comes to a clean house, so why not follow in her footsteps?
Grandma often said there’s a place for everything and everything in its place. Before you ever pick up a dust rag or broom, take care of the clutter. Put away toys, shoes, and other items scattered around on the floor. Clear off everything but essentials on countertops, the kitchen table, and bathroom sink areas. Store not only winter shoes and clothes and snow gear but also heavy linens like wool blankets and flannel sheets. Keep a basket in the kitchen for car keys, phone chargers, and gift cards. As Grandma told us, out of sight, out of mind.
Centralize Cleaning Supplies
Grandma stocked a bucket with cleaning rags, dusting spray, window cleaner, and paper towels, and carried it as she cleaned. If you’ve got more than one bathroom do the same with bathroom cleaners such as tub and tile cleaner, a toilet brush, sponges, and scrub brushes. Going back and forth for cleaning supplies wastes energy, slows your progress, and zaps your momentum. A rolling stone gathers no moss, as Grandma liked to say.
Make a Schedule
Breaking down your cleaning into daily, weekly, and monthly tasks takes the pressure away and prevents day-long deep cleaning.
- Daily: Grandma got by most days on what she called a lick and a promise by wiping down countertops, sweeping the kitchen floor, tossing spoiled food, and making the beds.
- Weekly: You only need to vacuum carpets, spray clean the microwave, wipe down sinks, clean bathroom mirrors, mop the kitchen floor, and clean toilets once a week.
- Biweekly: Every other week dust furniture, change linens, and scrub showers and tubs.
- Monthly: Clean out the refrigerator at the end of the month, checking for expired food and wiping down shelves and drawers.
- Spring and Fall: Save bigger jobs like cleaning windows and dusting baseboards for the first day of spring and the last day of fall.
Top to Bottom
Cleaning rooms from top to bottom was another one of Grandma’s tricks; she knew dusting high shelves first prevented you from cleaning twice as you move your way down. Speaking of dusting, she sprayed dusting spray on an old rag (today you can use a microfiber cloth) and used it to dust the top of furniture, handrails, picture frames, and knickknacks. After the shelves, she moved to the countertops and finished by cleaning the floor. Any job worth doing is worth doing well, as Grandma used to say, and cleaning top to bottom helps.
Baking Soda to the Rescue
Resourceful grandmothers had lots of little tricks up their sleeves for cleaning a house. They had a multitude of uses for baking soda and often used it to keep drains clear and fresh smelling. They did this by periodically pouring half a cup of baking soda down a drain and following it with half a cup of white vinegar. After letting the mixture fizzle and react, they flushed the drain with hot water for two minutes. Doing this every few weeks will remove grease and grime build-up in drains and reduce clogging. Use this trick for kitchen drains as well as those in bathtubs and shower stalls.
When those first yellow daffodils push up, it’s time to enjoy the sunshine. Grandma liked to say home is where the heart is, and it’s still true today. Work smart, not hard – just like her grandma before her – and embrace warm weather with a clean house you enjoy coming home to.
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