Spring is here, and for many that signals giving one’s house a thorough cleaning. Not to worry; Aunt Roberta has the answers.
Our daughters, who used to run a housecleaning business, honed this process to an art, based on the Pennsylvania Dutch who lived around us at the time.
First, arrange for your entire family to leave the house for most of the day. Next, turn off your phone. You must have an uninterrupted block of time. Don’t answer your door either.
Put on some bright, peppy music. John Philip Sousa marches are wonderful for this. (To be honest, we fudged on this one because the Pennsylvania Dutch usually don’t have CD players or radios.)
Next, remove all clutter. Clear off counter tops, floors and other horizontal surfaces which serve as clutter magnets. Well-organized people have a place for everything, but they didn’t live at our house. Our daughters chose to toss clutter into the master bedroom and shut the door when we had company. As long as a person can find the bed, it works.
Clearing a house of clutter becomes a challenge in a house with small children. In fact, it possibly could qualify one for gymnastic feats such as the high jump and hurtle events. Leaping over mounds of Lego® creations, piles of wooden blocks and rows of Matchbox® cars serves to strengthen the feet and ankles.
Now, starting at the top of the room, take a soft broom and wipe down all cobwebs (imagine, cobwebs in YOUR house!). Clean ceiling fans and overhead light fixtures with a soft cloth. My daughters added a little challenge to this by standing on a swivel chair. Then, wash or sweep the walls.
Clean all glass surfaces with a favorite window cleaner. Use it on anything which won’t be damaged by the chemicals: mirrors, counter tops and windows. This may be a good time to use disinfectant wipes on counter tops. Scrub off the grime around the cook stove.
Then, dust and polish all wooden furniture. Wipe wood surfaces with a slightly-dampened cloth first, then dry and polish with a nice-smelling furniture polish. You will feel better after this.
For a real Dutch feel, you must vacuum your furniture. Retrieve those lost coins which fell from your husband’s pockets into the recliner cushion. You may also find your Christmas shopping list.
The person who executes this next step may end with biceps which will be the envy of all her friends. Move all furniture (excluding large kitchen appliances) to one side of the room. Go outside and shake out the curtains, then put them in the washer. (Yes, the Dutch really do this.)
The next step is to wipe down baseboards and vacuum floors. Spot clean carpet stains or steam-clean the entire carpet, then move furniture to its new location. Those little glider things really help when a person uses them under heavy furniture.
Before the family returns, sit in a comfortable chair, prop up your feet and savor a few quiet moments with a glass of tea, juice or water.
One last thing you must do. Pick up the phone and make an appointment with your chiropractor. You’re going to need it.
What about you? Have any spring cleaning tips to offer? Feel free to comment below.