Wednesday, March 7, 2018

The Perfectly Average Mom's Guide to Spring Cleaning

Spring cleaning is one of the cruelest customs ever forced upon mothers. I'm overwhelmed enough as it is just trying to corral my kids' shoes and make sure there's no pee on the toilet seats when people come over, thank you very much.

If you, too, feel like you clean constantly but your children are breaking stuff and making messes faster than you can keep up, and you can't possibly imagine who these people are who have ever cleaned behind their refrigerator, then this guide to spring cleaning is for you.

Step 3 is procrastinate, in case you're wondering just how perfectly average this guide is.  {posted @ Unremarkable Files}

I've broken down spring cleaning into just 5 manageable steps, and trust me, I know because I do them every single year.

Step 1: Decide on your plan of attack. 


Spend a lot of time drawing up lists of tasks that need to be done in each room, consulting spring cleaning guides on Pinterest, and reading tutorials on cleaning ridiculously obscure things, like the grease splatters that have been cemented to the vent above your kitchen oven for longer than your children have been alive.

Consider color-coding the tasks you've listed and figure out when you'll get them all done. Make sure none of your plans involve emergencies like taking someone to the hospital for stitches or a toddler who learns how to open tubs of Vaseline by himself. Because that never happens.

Step 2: Gather your supplies. 


Every rag, scrub brush, and commercial cleaning product you own should be within reach, as well as enough paper towels to wax a yacht or small cruiseliner.

Include your favorite over-the-counter headache medicine, because you'll spend virtually all of this time refereeing fights over who gets to play with the broom. While waving the broomstick around wildly, someone will also hit you in the forehead.

Step 3: Procrastinate. 


Remember that you actually hate cleaning and don't want to do any of this. Search for something, anything, else to do.

Of course there's always Netflix, the computer, your phone, or just the children hanging from all of your limbs screeching for snacks. But you can also try:
  • Doing a task you've been putting off for years because it literally doesn't even matter. Alphabetize your spices, make sure all the towels in the house are folded the same way, or sort your kids' Legos by color and size so they can appreciate your organization when they dump them all out in the middle of the floor 10 minutes from now.
  • Notice your haggard appearance. Have you been meaning forever to clip your nails, get a haircut, or pluck that one freakishly long hair that keeps growing on your cheek? Think some more about how you really need to get around to it someday.
  • Feel crushed by the weight of your own despair. How could you have entertained the idea of scrubbing all your baseboards when the living room floor is at this moment covered with 10 pairs of dirty socks and a half-eaten banana? Sink into a deep depression and think about what your children will say about you in therapy someday.
  • Check out real estate listings in your area. Even though it doesn't change your current situation, you'll still feel highly satisfied looking at the spotless homes on the MLS listings. Consider photoshopping your favorites into the background of your family pictures and pretending you live in such immaculate surroundings.
When you feel like you've whined, dragged your feet, and wallowed in denial for long enough, it's time to move on to step #4.

Step 4: Put on your big girl panties and start tidying up the house. 


Everywhere you go, spot something else that needs to be put away, something that needs to be fixed, or another fire (figurative or literal) that needs to be put out.

After several hours in which you've walked approximately the distance of a half-marathon, the house doesn't look much different than when you started.

The kids, upon noticing you rage-cleaning, have all scattered and disappeared. Take advantage of the quiet by playing with your phone. Only for a few minutes, though, because soon they'll sense relaxation and come to destroy it like heat-seeking missiles.

Step 5: Acknowledge your limits.


Accept that picking up half the toys and scraping the Thomas the Train stickers off the floor with a butter knife is a good start. In fact, it's probably all you're capable of right now, anyway.

Commit to spring cleaning for real after the last kid moves out in 10-18 years. Until then, aim for a level of sanitary that Child Protective Services would find mostly acceptable.


If the closest you've ever been to scrubbing the grout between your tiles is shuffling across the floor on some old towels after the kids' bath time, don't worry. This perfectly average mom's guide to spring cleaning is exactly what you've been looking for.

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2 comments:

  1. I was going to clean my oven today because it smells like burning in there but I forgot to spray it last night and I've got to put in a roast today so there's not enough time for the cleaner to eat the baked on grease. I'll put it off for another day! (Another day that I remember to spray the oven before I go to bed...whenever that would be.) But I got 2 loads of laundry washed, dried, folded and put away in the SAME DAY so I'll fly high on that for a week or so before the slacker cleaning feeling returns.

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  2. This guide to spring cleaning will skip the deep cleaning, and go straight for the visible parts of your home.

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