I Don’t Do Spring Cleaning
By Stacy Myers, Contributing Writer
I’m coming out of the cleaning closet. Are you ready for this? Much to my mother’s dismay, I do not do spring cleaning.
Yes, I know – your eyes are bugging out of your head. I see all these posts all over the internet about 10 Easy Steps to Spring Cleaning Your Home or Spring Cleaning Your Home Using Only Vinegar and One Towel! I’m keepin’ it real, y’all…I just send those posts directly to my trash folder. Booya.
I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again…my goal in our home is to make sure we don’t live in a dump hole. At this stage of my life, with two little children and a messy dog, good enough has become good enough for me. When I’m 93, I won’t look back and say “Well honey, I sure do wish I had spring cleaned our house in 2013…I really missed out.”
Sometimes I’m getting 45 minutes of sleep at night. So I’ll be honest: The last thing on my mind is getting down on my hands and knees to clean the corners of the bathroom using a Q-tip or moving all the furniture out so that I can vacuum behind it.
In all stages of life, I’m trying to learn to give thanks – even when I’m cleaning up pee-pee off the bathroom floor or answering “why” 5.6 million times per day.
Some days are harder than others – some days my “spring cleaning” consists of mopping up milk after every meal. Some days I want to pull my hair out – but then I change my mind because I really don’t want to clean that up either. I’d rather spend my time playing with my babies and cooking – hanging laundry out to dry and gathering eggs with my daughter.
I am not the perfect mom. Considering I just yelled at my 3.5 year old because she spilled an entire cup of water all over the floor, I feel like a failure most of the time. But, I refuse to feel like a failure because I don’t spring clean…what mom needs more Mommy Guilt? Let’s kick it out. Bye-bye, Mommy Guilt!
Now, all that was not to say that we live in a pigsty. Yes, I do feel like I fight a losing battle with dust bunnies and grass all over the kitchen floor. Sometimes my daughter brings me handfuls of dust bunnies and says “Here, Mama.” Then she just goes back to her playing. Dust – it’s a fact of life.
I do my best to keep our home maintained instead of doing a deep clean once per year. To me, it makes more sense to make sure things are picked up regularly than to live in a big dump and just clean periodically. I’m the type of person that would become SO overwhelmed at a project that large that I just wouldn’t do it – I’d move instead.
So, what’s my secret and how do I live in a non-dump hole without Spring cleaning? I’ll tell you – lists. I use cleaning lists. They’ve saved my sanity on multiple occasions. Not only can I get things done this way, but when the husband comes home and wants to know what we did that day, I can actually tell him – instead of scratching my head and saying “Uhhhhh, eat?”
The first list I use is a free printable from Clean Mama called “31 Days to a Clean Home.” Her general idea is that if we get just a little bit done each day, then everything stays clean…well, as clean as you can get with two kids and a messy dog.
I don’t do something every day because life happens. But, I figure if I work myself through the list and start over regularly, the house is still getting cleaned. Bye, bye, dump hole.
I also use a weekly schedule. This is my MAIN list. If I get everything done on the list that day, then I move to the 31 Days list.
This is a printable from Tip Junkie called “Week at a Glance Cleaning Check List.” Barry (my husband) personalized this for me using Photoshop and I put it in a vintage frame. As I get things done, I cross them off with a dry-erase marker, and then I can start over the next week. Marking stuff off just makes me happy.
So, that’s my secret. No big revelation, huh? Also, as I clean I’m teaching Annie (3.5 years) to do the same…so that as she grows older, cleaning the house with me will become part of her chores.
Disclaimer: If you Spring clean, that’s cool. I don’t hate you. My Mama spring cleans, and she’s my best friend. I’m not pointing fingers…because when I do, there are three more pointing back at me.
I don’t Spring Clean either… why? Because Spring is like the messiest and crazy busy time on the farm. Mud and manure and dirt from fields are king and it’s all I can do to keep it from getting tracked throughout the whole house, there are baby animals everywhere to tend to, fields need took care of, gardens need planted… no time to wash my walls! This November (when all is harvested and it’s just animal work) I think I might try my hand at that kind of cleaning, but for now Spring Cleaning is a conspiracy against farm wives.
Now that you mention it, my floors are ALWAYS covered with grass in the spring. Always. Yes – a conspiracy indeed.
You took the words right out of Mt mouth. We don’t live on a farm but we do have 15 laying hens, 35 plus meat birds, 3 Turkeys, 2 dogs, 1 cat, and 3 kids. I sweep 4 times a day because of all the mud from the kids and dogs. Plus, everything else we have to do in one day school, boy scouts, girl scouts, 4H, National Guard, work, laundry, etc. I think spring cleaning is over rated!
I read in a homemaker magazine about this very thing. I am not a farm wife but it made sense to me. The woman in the article said she did deep cleaning in the winter, spreading her “list” over each month.
I did read too though that in the past, women HAD to spring clean because after heating all winter with wood and coal and all that dirty kinds of stuff, the soot and dirt was so thick you could barely see out the windows. I wasn’t there so I am not sure about this but it made sense. They must have been VERY busy in spring! But then again they also had smaller homes to clean 🙂
Oh how funny! Great minds and all that jazz!
That makes complete sense about the soot and dirt because of their heat sources back in the day! Never thought of that before… love knowing the why behind traditions!
We ARE sisters at heart! I hate dusting and can’t ever get around to spring cleaning! Thanks for helping me not feel guilty about it! I love you! 🙂
I love you tooooooooooooooooooooo. 🙂
FYI: I have never done Spring cleaning. It’s so nice to read that somebody else doesn’t either. Thank you for keeping it real! I hear all these people who wash walls 2 times a year, I have never done that. Love your blog!
Girl, the only time I have ever washed walls was when we moved in…and that one time when Annie I found that Annie had wiped her boogers all over the wall – yep.
I wash my walls when I notice a giant food splatter. Then as I’m wiping that up and standing closer to the wall than I normally would, I notice another splatter. Then another one. This continues until I’ve cleaned the whole wall which I now realize was disgustingly dirty. However this only happens once or twice a year, it has to be pretty darn bad before I notice. And it only happens in the kitchen and dining room, the other walls are sorely neglected!
I don’t spring clean either. (And I also despise dusting!) Spring is usually the busiest time of year for me with one boy playing baseball, another playing soccer, and trying to get my garden in. Sometimes I have to make an appointment to go to the bathroom ! Lol! If I was going to do that type of cleaning (which isn’t likely) I would have to do it during the winter when no one plays sports and I don’t have garden work needing my attention.
Oh my goodness! Are you telling me that all the time all I had to do was MAKE AN APPOINTMENT?!?!?
A cleaning list…in a frame?! Perfect! I’ve been feeling the need to change up my cleaning routine–when I do, I’ll be referring to your cute little schedule. 🙂 Pinning now…
I like order….and cute stuff. And cute stuff in order. LOL
Like you, I find it easier just to keep up with it all. We do find it a good time to purge when we are changing from winter wardrobe to summer. It makes it easier to keep everything picked up and no matter how hard we try things just keep creeping in and piling up. Makes it so much more fun to enjoy the time we have rather than dealing with stuff. Thanks for your post.
Oh, YUCK! I hate the twice-yearly changing of the clothes. I put it off as long as possible.
I call it spring cleaning…but it takes me all year. Normal cleaning like laundry and dishes and sweeping and vacuuming and keeping the bathroom sort of livable…that is a daily/weekly thing. But the decluttering, dusting ceiling fans, mopping the basement floor (our basement is unfinished), clearing out the garage and so on…that stuff happens as I get to it and when it is easiest/most appropriate. Garages get cleaned in the late spring and late fall….because in the former it is finally warm and dry enough to be out there all day with the kids and in the latter case I wait until the leaves are done falling and blowing around before sweeping them all out and into the compost. I usually get my list of things done around the end of November and start again right after Christmas! My three boys think this is normal….having bins of stuff sitting around waiting to be sorted, Mommy spending three days in July purging their toys, having totally random stuff put on their chore list so I have one less task. One day it will all go faster but having young kids means your life is always in flux…things getting broken, clothes outgrown, sand and dirt and stickiness everywhere. One day it will be just us and so boring! Lol
BORING for sure. Barry and I say all the time “What on earth did we do before children?”
Stacy, I’ve been reading your blog for a while now, at least several months, & I love your personality & writing style! This year is the first year I’ve ever done spring cleaning, & my husband (Anthony) & I have accomplished a lot but I’m losing steam now, probably because one of the bigger jobs we did was replacing old carpet with a new laminate floor. That was a weekend of work for us, & then a few days of cleaning sawdust off of EVERYTHING!! Which was like starting from scratch, since several things had already been cleaned the week before! Poor planning on my part. Anyway, all this spring cleaning has been a challenge for us, especially since our regular cleaning schedule is ignoring the mess until one of us breaks & says “the house is kinda dumpy”. With no children, it’s pretty easy for us to be able to do this. My mom, dad, & sister are all neat freaks; somehow the gene skipped me! I think after mother’s day weekend (mom & sister are coming for dinner), I will try your dry erase list, that is freakin genius for a messy/lazy girl like myself! As long as I can keep doing it; all the lists in the world won’t help if I don’t do the stuff on the list, right? LOL! Another great post, thanks for this!
🙂 You made me smile great big. Thanks!
I like to cross things off lists, too. In fact, sometimes I make lists, start doing stuff, then do something NOT on the list … I add it to the list just so I can cross it off. My mom teases me about all the lists I make but, I have so much going through my head, I’d never remember half of it without my lists!
OH my gosh!!! I do that too! LOL
I SO do that too! Then I leave my list in a conspicuous place where I hope my husband will see it and be impressed with all the things I have checked off.
I have a chore list as well (if I didn’t have it, I’d feel overwhelmed and nothing would get done!). I aim to do one chore a day (on top of the regular dishes and laundry), and if life gets busy and I don’t get to it, that’s fine too. Maintenance is key!
YES! Maintenance or everything goes to pot.
Me either… I have 2 little children also– 2.5 year old son and a 6 week old son. And I have TWO big messy dogs (and a cat) in the house. But I do try to keep up with things as well as I can. Somedays all i get done is laundry and cooking, and that’s more than enough. And other days when the baby sleeps well, I can get more done… I just have to play it by ear. And when life gets crazy, I ask my mom or someone else in our church who doesn’t have little kids anymore to come over for lunch and help me clean 🙂 I have learned now that I have two children that it doesn’t pay to be too proud to ask for help, and I have found that people actually appreciate being asked!
I think all my pride went away in the hospital when I gave birth and bared my entire self to anyone who came into the room – something about birth and being a mom kicks your pride in the behind. LOL
I used to try all sorts of things for cleaning, but now the only thing that works for me are two lists. One is the things I try to do each week, and the other is for the detail cleaning. Basically I would like to work through the cleaning list for the week but if it doesn’t all get done (I cross it off, too) then I finish up what wasn’t done the next week, and then start again. As I have time, I do the same thing with the detailed list, working in one area each week as I can. I cross off things as I have time and then start over (this list is long term).
I never liked the I do ___ on Monday because then if Tuesday came and Monday wasn’t done, I was behind and then had so much to do on Tues I couldn’t finish it and then it was Wednesday…yikes! Life with small kids has too many interuptions. I start on the most important chores on my list and then the less important and just try to do a bit each day. If its a bad week then only the very important get done (if that) and then I just start over the next week- no guilt!
See, I’m the exact opposite. 🙂 Having a specific list for each day makes it seem less overwhelming to me – as opposed to having one long list. But the important thing is that we all find what works for us!
This post is the cutest! Thanks for saying what most the rest of us are thinking. 😉
I’m pretty good for that.
I don’t spring clean either! My mama taught me to keep a clean house all the time, so spring cleaning has never been necessary. I do things differently than Mama did, though; growing up, we spent every Saturday morning (and sometimes into the afternoon) cleaning, and I HATED it. Now, I clean a little every night after work so I can spend Saturdays playing with my daughter. ( : My house is not spotless; we live in it. I do sweep at least once a day cause we live on a farm and my floors get gross. And I try to mop once a week or so since my daughter likes to eat stuff from the floor…haha. The bathrooms gets cleaned regularly cause I hate usin a dirty toilet and sink. But other than that? Nah. I’m like you, Stacy, I’d rather live and enjoy my life than spend it cleaning!!
Yes – spending one whole day cleaning is enough to make me want to check-in at the loony bin.
Love it Stacy! Thanks for the feature!
xo, Becky – Clean Mama
WOW!!! You’re FAMOUS! 🙂 I’m so honored!!!!!!!!!!!!!! *Passing out*
Stacy, you are absolutely hilarious. 🙂
Thank ya, m’am.
The q-tip comment is very funny. Mainly because I love them and they have helped me to clean many a tight corner. Yes true spring cleaning is a thing of the past ( http://www.vintage-homemaking.info/2008/04/spring-cleaning/) but I do try and remove a bit of dust each spring.
I use q-tips a lot…I don’t think they were invented for ears.
Hi! Found you on Pinterest – love your blog 🙂 I know you said your hubby re-worked the “Week at a Glance Checklist” for your daily cleaning, but I think you should post it! While I LOVE the Tip Junkie version, your daily tasks look much more detailed. Just a thought.
Have a great day!
Thanks. 🙂 Most everyone would have something different to do on their list. 🙂
I love your style of storytelling. Keeping up with weekly cleanings is the way to go. I do, however, plan for exterior window washing.
Luckily, my husband does that. 🙂
The same here 🙂 , but I still do “the planning” for him. And since he cleans the windows outside, I am doing it on the inside.
THANK YOU! I have a 2.5 year old, 2 dogs and a husband and I clean daily but really….spring cleaning just doesn’t work for me. Yes. there are those things that I do in the spring like wash windows, but that is because the rain has ended for us and I feel like it is a worth while project. Your post really inspired me that some days you just have to go through the day and cleaning isn’t part of it! Thank you again!!
Rain has ended? Wow…our rain never ends. Good reason for me to never wash the windows. LOL LOL
Stacey, the stage of life you’re in will pass and it will get easier. My youngest is almost three and potty-trained and I am finally feeling the freedom. I can now get my deep clean in almost every week in a mere 2.5 hours. I do regularly tidy throughout the day and I always do my morning tidy-up. All three of my girls participate in household chores throughout the day/week and my load is getting lighter every year. There is nothing wrong with ditching spring cleaning, it’s not for me either. I prefer to “Spring Purge” all the stuff I don’t need and I usually do extra cleaning without really thinking about it that way. Good enough.
Oooooh, girl. You’re speaking my language. I LOVE to purge!
HA! Your kid brings you dust bunnies too?!
YES!!! HUGE ones!
Loved your post. It immediately caught my eye on Pinterest because I don’t do spring cleaning either. And I’m a fan of Clean Mama as well. I especially liked the list you got from Tip Junkie though. I’ve been scouring the internet lately looking for a chore chart that was right for us and you gave me the motivation to make my own based off that list. I linked to this post in my blog. http://meandmysistersclosets.blogspot.com/2013/05/chore-charts.html
I am from Spain, and I NEVER heard of the term ‘spring cleaning’ (or I guess ‘limpieza de primavera’) till I moved to England. I have never done it, as I am struggling to even keep the daily routine of cooking + 1 chore. Really, with 2 under 4 and #3 almost here, I could not imagine going through all that. (By the way, where I come from almost everyone pays someone to come and do a cleaning once a week, my mum is still scratching her head as to why I do not have someone to do that here in Canada, which I would never, if only for the memory of getting irritated at having my underwear being folded and sorted by someone!!). On another note – Washing the walls?? Brand new concept for me! Ahhh!!!
How very interesting! I wish someone would come clean my house. I wouldn’t care about my underwear. LOL
Nice Post Stacy……. That’s inspiring. I’ve been thoroughly cleaning appliances and floors and dusting cobwebs from tops of doors and windows. I feels so good. In January I imposed a weekly cleaning schedule on myself, so that each day I did a few chores instead of my typical routine of spending the better part of a day cleaning and dreading it. The schedule has been working really well for me. I don’t feel as overwhelmed by the thoughts of cleaning.
It’s hard to get stuff done when you dread it, isn’t it?
Love love love this!! I am at the moment childless, except for my husband, (and lets face it, most men are like children) and my messy dog, 5 cats and lizard. Every spring I get into this I’ve got to spring clean mode!!! RARHHHH!!!! And yeah doesn’t happen quite that way. Very helpful hints and I love the way you write…. feels like I’m talking to a friend!!! 🙂 Thanks!!!!
🙂 And if we were talking in person, I’d talk the exact same way.
Here, here!!My 3 boys are older now, and my youngest does the housework, vacuuming, dusting and bathrooms, I do the laundry and dishes…when they were little I had “kid” messes to clean up, but everyday I would clean as I go, I would clean at night when they were in bed, and things got done eventually, when they were old enough I would get them to help, so thats where they learned to clean etc. by watching me. Anyway, my main point is, that I never judged people on what their house looked like when they had young kids, still don’t, and when mine were young I really didn’t care( well to a point anyway) if there was a little mess, as I would say I’m here to see you and the kids…not your house.. Raising 3 boys wasn’t always easy, but I did my best..(I get complimented all the time on how well I’ve raised them) Theres nothing in the rule books that say you have to be perfect…
And the time spent with your kids doing whatever is so much more important, they’ll remember that more that whether the house was clean or not…