Monday, April 4, 2011

Lessons Learned from Spring Cleaning

Since I've been waiting for notes from my agent on the Bartender Book and I didn't want to dive into anything new just yet, I've been catching up on all the things that I let slide while in book mode for the past few months. I also decided it was time for a major spring cleaning. I keep my house relatively clean, but I let things like wiping down the kitchen cabinets and dusting the bookshelves go... for a very long time. Then there are those tasks like cleaning the fridge that really, in my opinion at least, only need to be done once a year or so.

So that's what I've been up to the past few days and I've learned some lessons.

1. I am not cut out to be a housewife or the Martha Stewart of cleaning. I'm good at organization, hence the reason I spent almost as much time putting my bookshelves in proper order (I tend to let that go when busy) as I did on the actual scrubbing of things. And I was at a loss over how to get certain things clean. For example, all of my lamp shades were crazy dusty. My idea was to brush them off with a paper towel. *shrugs* Fortunately I posted about this conundrum on facebook and my friend Christie came to the rescue suggesting lint rollers! Lint rollers and the vacuum were my saviors. Thank goodness Scott insisted we ask for a good vacuum when we got married and there I was thinking we wouldn't really need it because we have wood floors. See how clueless I am? Of course those wood floors can be vacuum and so can the oven, the refrigerator, the couch, and a bunch of hard to reach places.

2. The main reason we need the vacuum? Cat hair. These three little buggers, while adorable are shedding machines!

In fact, I think they should be the ones *doing* the spring cleaning because for the most part it appears to be their fault that the house is dirty. Seriously, can someone explain to me why there was a shit-ton of cat hair *under* the crisper drawers in the fridge. How the fuck does that happen?

3. I've always loved our kitchen. I've been drawn to black-and-white color schemes since fifth grade when I asked for my blue bedroom to be painted black, white and red. However, can you guess the issue with this?

If your guess was too much freakin' white to keep clean, you are correct. That picture was taken not long after we bought the place so the cabinets are still sparkling white, presumably because the guy who had the house before us either A. Was the Martha Stewart of cleaning or B. Hired professionals to get them that freakin' white. I cannot do the same. During the great cleaning of 2009 (we thought we did spring cleaning last year but when I found bottles of salad dressing and such in the fridge that expired in 2009, I figured out that we couldn't have cleaned last year because while I am a pack rat and will save things even if I doubt I will ever use them, I do not save things past expiration dates), my total-moron-cleaning-skills were in full effect when I bought these sponge/steel wool type things that I thought would be awesome for scrubbing stuff, but um, they had this soap in them--again, I thought that was a brilliant idea--and they basically streaked my white cabinets blue. This time I made sure to buy plain sponges and just used my environmentally friendly cleaning spray from Trader Joe's and it worked out pretty well, but it is impossible to get those white cabinets completely clean. So in the future, white cabinets in the kitchen is a house-buying dealbreaker.

4. Cleaning hurts!!! Because I spent so long on the "fun cleaning" (ie. re-arranging the art on the walls and putting the books in proper order) on Friday and Saturday (and I actually did a lot of procrastinating the cleaning as well), I spent roughly 8 hours yesterday doing the hardcore scrubbing and my fingers, hands, shoulders, back, everything KILLS! It hurt so much that I couldn't really sleep last night. Good thing I only have a little bit left to do and then my plan is to spend the afternoon reading.

5. I have to spend more time reading because I have wayyyyy too many unread books. I have an entire small, three-shelf bookcase filled with TBR books and I know there are a few on my regular shelves that I haven't read yet either. I told myself that I could only buy new books after I empty one shelf from the TBR bookcase, but I'm sure that won't happen. I'm just too addicted.

6. The results, having a super clean house are definitely satisfying. Everything is almost perfect except for my office (which I'm saving because I hope to be moving my office to a different part of the house this spring) and the bathrooms (which are my husband's area to clean. He is perfect for me in many ways and one of them is he doesn't mind cleaning the bathroom which is the one part of the cleaning I absolutely despise). Oh and I need to do some yard cleaning and garden prepping but I'm saving that for slightly warmer weather.

What about you? Any out of control piles of stuff you need to get rid of or get organized this spring? Are you a cleaning moron like me or do you have tips to share? Do you try to do a big annual (or every other year) clean-up like us or do you do things a different way?


Katherine said...

Mr. Clean magic erasers will clean ANYTHING (including probably your cabinets) and until I find out they're made of baby seals or something I'm assuming they're ecologically sound because eventually they just disappear with use. Microfiber clothes are great for dusting. And I will clean bathrooms every day, but I HATE VACUUMING. Too much dog and cat hair.

Stephanie Kuehnert said...

Thanks for the Mr. Clean idea! I will store that for later use (the cabinets are as clean as they are getting this year!) And I do use those microfiber cloths, love those!