Unless you resort to paying someone else to clean your home, the idea of "spring cleaning" remains just that --an idea-- for the Realistic Mummy with a house full of young kids. The irony, however, is that if you do have a house full of little kids, then it almost certainly needs a good spring clean!
What's a Realistic Mummy to do? Here are some tips that I've found helpful:
1. Toss the baggage. The most important tip is to collect all those mental images of a fully clean house, sparkling from top to bottom, with linens aired, rugs beaten, clutter annihilated... and then throw that collection of imaginary baggage out the window! Get real; you live with a herd of mess-inducing, time-sucking small beings whose current purpose is to create chaos. Ditch the idea of a thorough clean-job, and accept a relative improvement in the level of domestic grime. This stage won't last forever (I keep reminding myself)...
2. Think small. I've confessed before that my tendency is to wait to vacuum until I have time to vacuum the whole house, which is pretty much never. I've had to learn, therefore, that piecemeal jobs are better than none. Now, I clean/tidy in whatever snatches of time I find, tackling only as much as I can accomplish in a few minutes. So, sure, my house is never completely clean or tidy, but I can take satisfaction in a just-dusted shelf or a momentarily smudge-free mirror. And (I remind myself yet again) this stage won't last forever...
3. Respect your limits. Accomplishing things feels good, but don't be tempted to push it. Your kids have been quiet while you do a certain job; don't think it will last! You'll only cause yourself stress if you try to sneak more in than is reasonably possible (emphasis on the "reasonably" part). Feel good about what you can do, and resolve to ignore what you can't.
4. Cut yourself some slack. While we'd like to have a perfectly (or even imperfectly) clean house, what's the consequence if for a few years we don't? Yes, we want to avoid squalor and hoarding, and we don't want to lose track of certain essential items (like keys and wallets). But beyond staving off those extremes, what are we afraid will happen? Too often we forget that we make our own stress. Keep your cool (I keep reminding myself) and stay confident in your own ability to evaluate what's truly important.
|This actually is something that rarely gets done...|
I've explored here a few ideas on helpful ways to think about cleaning jobs, rather than ways to clean, basically because I find lists dealing exclusively with the latter tend to make me feel like I've got to add more things to my to-do list. (Bleh!)
My tip #5 is on simplifying your cleaning arsenal, but I'll expand on that in a separate post, to follow...
Until then, gentle readers, please share your own spring cleaning ideas, tips and experiences!