One Day at a Time: The Busy Mom’s Guide to a Clean, Organized Home
Every year when spring rolls around, I dream of a house where every closet, cabinet and corner is clean and free of clutter. Yet every year, finding the time to deep clean the house is impossible. This year, I decided to break the list down into more manageable daily tasks, allowing me to spring clean my house without taking a week off from life. By the end of the month, I had a house so clean that even my mother-in-law would approve! Here is what I did:
Day 1: The Bathroom – Wipe down cabinets and shelves under the sink. Throw out old medicines and cosmetics. Pull the hair out of the drain.
Day 2: The Linen Closet –Remove or repair linens that have seen better days. Wipe down all shelves. Vacuum the floor and wipe baseboards.
Day 3: The Bedroom Closets – Donate clothes and shoes that you don’t use. Shed the dry cleaning bags and hangers. Make a list of new things needed. Wipe down all shelves. Vacuum the floor and wipe baseboards. Repeat for all bedrooms.
Day 4: The Bedroom – Clean under the bed. Remove unwanted clothes from bureaus and donate. Clean out the nightstands. Wipe out drawers and vacuum under the bed. Repeat for all bedrooms.
Day 5: Hallways & Coat Closets – Remove all items that you no longer use. Wipe down all shelves. Vacuum the floor and wipe baseboards.
Day 6: Family Room – Go through your DVD and CD collections. Anything that you are not in love with, goes. Refill batteries in game controllers and remotes.
Day 7: KnickKnacks – Go through the house and take down the things that you are tired of – knickknacks, dusty planters, wallhangings. Make note of any family pictures that need to be updated.
Day 8: Dining room – Remove any “projects” from the table. Clean out the china cabinet and take stock of things that you need for the next holiday.
Day 9: Kitchen Part 1 – Clean out all the cabinets. Dump damaged utensils and broken appliances. Wipe down shelves.
Day 10: Kitchen Part 2 – Clean the outside of the cabinets. Tighten any loose knobs or handles.
Day 11: Kitchen Part 3 – The pantry. Go through all food and check for expired dates. Wipe down shelves and sweep floor.
Day 12: Kitchen Part 4 – The refrigerator. Check for dates. Wipe shelves. Change filters. Repeat for a garage or basement refrigerator.
Day 13: Kitchen Part 5 – What’s left? Run a cleaning agent in the dishwasher. Clean out the oven and scrub the cooking grates. Wipe down the microwave. Scrub out the sink. Re-seal the granite and empty the toaster crumbs.
Day 14: The Office Part 1 – Purge old documents and shred. Clean out the desk drawers and refill supplies.
Day 15: The Office Part 2 – Back up the computer, update anti-virus software, change passwords, run maintenance software, and purge cookies and internet files.
Day 16: The Playroom – Gather old toys for donation or sale. Toss broken toys or those with missing pieces. Purchase stackable bins and fill with Legos, plastic food, and dress up clothes.
Day 17: Repair Walls – Spackle holes and touch up paint where it has been chipped. (Or at least make a note of the areas that need repair for someone else to fix.)
Day 18: Books and magazines – Gather all old books and magazines from around the house. Donate, sell, or share with friends.
Day 19: Clean the baseboards – Vacuum all with hand tool and then wipe down with a wet cloth. Do the same to molding around door frames.
Day 20: Windows – Clean the insides of all windows and wipe down the frames. Wash the outside of the windows or call to make an appointment for someone to finish the job.
Day 21: The Bedding – Wash all bedding items including bed skirts and pillow shams. Take comforter to dry cleaner. Make note of anything that needs replacing or repair.
Day 22: Window Treatments – Take down all window treatments to be cleaned. Wipe down all rods and window blinds.
Day 23: Cobwebs – Wipe down all corners of the house to clear them of any cobwebs and dust.
Day 24: Blankets – Wash any blankets that are used for day-to-day lounging in front of the TV.
Day 25: Laundry room – Wipe down all shelves and appliances, dust down walls, and vacuum behind the appliances.
Day 26: Floor vents and cold air returns – Remove covers and vacuum inside. Wipe down vent covers. Make note to replace ones that are damaged.
Day 27: Inside doors – Wipe down both sides of the door with a damp rag to remove any dust or finger prints. Tighten knobs and hinges that may be loose.
Day 28: Light Bulbs – Change all the bulbs that have burned out and refill the batteries in the flashlights.
Day 29: Garbage Cans – Scrub out the garbage cans from every room to remove spills and stuck on items.
Day 30: Pet Items – Wash all bowls and bedding. Clean out litter box and wipe down mats. Remove broken toys.
Day 31: Take today to do the regular cleaning – dust, vacuum, wash the floors, and clean the bathrooms and kitchen.
Pam Molnar spent 31 days organizing her house. With three teenagers at home,she hopes it will last for longer than a week.