Spring Cleaning for Working Moms

Spring Cleaning for Working MomsDoes the idea of “Spring Cleaning” leave you feeling overwhelmed and helpless?  For moms with jobs, getting the house “regular-clean” can be challenging enough.  Now that it’s spring, getting the house “spring-clean” is just plain daunting.  

Unless you rethink your idea of spring cleaning.  Sure, it’ll be very challenging to get your entire house deep cleaned from top to bottom in a day or two.  I’m betting that’s no easy feat for any parent.  But what if you gave yourself an entire month to get the job done?  Suddenly it becomes a little more doable.

Here’s how I manage to get my house deep cleaned, whether it is in the spring or any other time of year when it just needs to be done. 

Divide your house into four zones.

Think about how you could divide up your house into four zones that would take about the same amount of time to clean.  You might be tempted to try to divide your house up into 4 zones of equal square footage.  This is a mistake!  There are rooms that have greater square footage but take less time to clean and vice versa, rooms with less square footage that take more time to clean!  Think about cleaning a bathroom versus cleaning a guest bedroom, for example.  The bathroom could be less than half the square footage but take twice as long to clean.

For my house, I consider the entire upstairs one zone.  Our kids are still little and don’t spend much time in their rooms, other than for sleeping, so there is a lot of square footage up there that is quick to clean.  Throw in a couple of bathrooms and the time it takes to deep clean the upstairs is probably about equivalent to what it would take to deep clean the kitchen.  So my kitchen and breakfast area is another zone, then the laundry, dining room, and downstairs bathroom all get lumped into a zone and the living room, family room, and office go together.

Focus on one zone each week for the month.

For one month, focus on one zone per week.  Spend 15 to 30 minutes each weekday and an hour or two over the weekend tackling small deep cleaning projects one at a time.  Set a timer and make it a race against the clock!  You’ll be surprised at how much you can accomplish in 15 minutes!

I do this for the month of March.  I think it is mostly psychological — I am so ready for the sunshine and new growth of spring that I subconsciously hope that spring-cleaning my home will somehow give the outdoors a little encouragement to wake up from its winter nap!

Set yourself up for success.

When you are going to clean for just 15 minutes, you don’t have time to mess around with finding your supplies and mixing up your homemade cleaning products.  Get everything you need in the zone you are focusing on and leave it all there for the entire week.  Find a high shelf or lockable cabinet to temporarily store your supplies if you have small kids or pets you are worried about.  If you make your own cleaners, do it ahead of time or get all of your ingredients in the same place so you are not wasting time walking back and forth from one area of the house to the space you are cleaning.

I also recommend using your calendar and writing (or typing) in exactly what you plan to deep clean each day.  Be very specific.  Don’t just write “bathrooms”.  Write “kids’ bathroom floor”.  I always put the hardest or most dreaded tasks at the beginning of the week so that when the weekend rolls around I can feel like I’m getting a lot done because I only have the easiest tasks left to do!

I know that for many moms carving out an extra 15 minutes per day can be tough!  But think about it as an investment in time.  When you get that first zone clean, you’ll be glad you did it and be ready to accomplish zone 2 – then 3, then 4!

* * *

How do you accomplish deep cleaning your home?  Do you do it as needed or plan for a couple of times a year?  What are your best tips for deep cleaning when you don’t have time? 


13 thoughts on “Spring Cleaning for Working Moms

  1. I’ve yet to start the spring cleaning, even though I started the plans for it a month ago! I would love to get to it, but it’s so overwhelming – and I have a tiny apartment! I think the first step, for me, would be to ensure that the basic cleaning is up and done. The dishes are done, the bathroom has had its normal “swish”…the spring cleaning ought to be all the extras. If the normal stuff is in the way, the extra stuff is going to be that much harder!!
    I do like the idea of splitting the house into zones, though. Focusing on one place at a time takes a lot of the stress out of it – you only have to worry about this one space, versus a whole home!

    1. It takes some getting used to, splitting the house into zones. You have to train yourself to focus on your one 15 minute task. So if my focus for that day is cleaning the inside of the washer, for example, I have to be able to ignore the fact that the shelve right next to it need to be dusted! 😉

  2. I’ve never thought of dividing my house up into zones before, but it’s a great idea! Too often I focus on the high-traffic areas and feel frustrated by my seeming inability to get to other areas of the house — I like the idea of specifically scheduling certain areas of the house in order to get to them all (after all, those high-traffic areas will ALWAYS need cleaning, right?!). Great suggestions!

  3. Last year, we sent the kids to Grandma’s for an entire day and really got everything deep cleaned…windows, wiping down the walls, etc. We worked together to get all of the things that don’t ever get done finished. It worked well. But this year, we could work on your ideas since my youngest is a little bigger. I’d like to get them involved and help with the cleaning…even if it only means having them wipe the same area of window over and over. Thanks.

    1. That would be a nice way to do it too! I really would prefer to get it done in a day or two and not have to worry about it for an entire month. 😉

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