Spring Cleaning is Cleaning Green!

The snow is melting, the weather is warming...and we green mamas know what that means. It's that time of year again. Spring cleaning time!

No, no. Don't dread. I actually love this time of the year. After being closed in all winter - kids (and husbands) dragging in dirt and whatnot on snow boots, wood bits and ash from the fireplace, the house closed up tight to keep in the warmth - I can't wait to open all the windows, let the house air out, and clean it like Martha Stewart is coming to town!

I know she's not stopping by, but you never know...

So, that brings us to cleaning, which really isn't all that fun, but necessary to create and maintain a healthy home environment for our families. Plus, if you have a husband like mine, you have to keep the house in tip top shape in the event that he brings home guests, unannounced! I can't even count how many times he just happens to bring hoards of people over, without more than a 5 minute warning (sometimes none!!!). This is why I always keep my house walk in ready.

Husbands...gotta love them ;)

Keeping a house walk-in ready helps keep your house in order so that weekly cleaning isn't a huge undertaking, just as weekly cleaning helps keep your house clean enough so that spring cleaning isn't a month long process! And don't we all just love spring cleaning, as it gives us a chance to dedicate time towards all those things that we 'miss' or 'ignore' the rest of the year.

"Oh, I didn't even notice that closet was stuffed full of crap...now how did that get past me..." Hmmm...

So, what are these things we ignore? Well, that depends on who you are. Me? I ignore the stove and windows. My niece and nephew, when they were young, LOVED to clean windows. Don't ask me why, but whenever they came over to visit Aunt Lia's house, that's what they wanted to do...who was I to deny them?! But they've grown up and, well, I think they're onto me ;)

I'm not a big fan of a huge spring cleaning, so that is why I do a little bit here, a little bit there, year round. The closets I reorganize and rearrange on an almost monthly basis. I think I might have an illness, because I enjoy it...a lot. But it helps keep the overflow of stuff to a minimum since I'm constantly weeding out and donating items that my family no longer uses or needs.

Come March, when the sun shine gets stronger, illuminating the dust and dirt in the house that well, I just didn't notice in the dim winter sun light, I start cleaning walls, ceiling fans, and whatnot as I notice them. And when it comes to cleaning, I use two main ingredients: vinegar and baking soda. That basically takes care of every cleaning need I have. To mask the smell of vinegar, use a few drops of your favorite EO (essential oil). I usually use lavender or lemon. That, dripped into a spray bottle with 1:1 water and vinegar, will clean just about anything, and leave it smelling great too.

Vinegar is great for cleaning everything. Windows, counter tops, bathrooms, carpet stains, all purpose cleaner...and that's just a few things. It's non-toxic, the kids can help you clean, works great in the laundry, and you can cook with it too!

Rub some baking soda mixed with water inside the stove, let it dry, and then wipe it off. It's abrasive, non-toxic, can be used in the laundry, and you can cook with it too!

Great things are worth repeating ;)

For "spring cleaning", I go through the house, room by room, and make a master list of all the things I need to do. If you want to do it all in one shot, select a weekend, a week, or a whole month that you are going to dedicate to getting this list taken care of and stick to it. I post my list by my calendar so I can jump for joy as items get crossed out when they get done.

Here's my list...

Whole house
- windows
- ceiling fans
- wipe down walls (walls get dusty too!)

Kids Rooms
- rearrange room (this freshens up the space, makes it new, and I can clean under furniture)
- consign clothes (out with the old, room for the new)

Living Room/Dining Room
- wash curtains
- rearrange room
- hang pictures (maybe this year I'll actually get to it!)

- clean fridge/freezer
- stove (oh, woe is me...)
- paint yellow (can't wait!)

Outside (don't neglect the great outdoors!)
- clean up after snow plows (I can't believe how much trash they picked up and left!...)
- paint outdoor furniture
- straighten up, get ready to garden!!! :)

So far I've done the fridge and consigned a great deal of kids clothes they grew out of. I think I'll take a day here, a day there during March to finish everything off on the list. That way I'll have all of April to dedicate to getting my garden ready for May planting!!! Now THAT is my most favorite time of the year!

Bring on the sunshine...I'm ready!


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