There’s a reason why Spring Cleaning has such an important part in our collective history. As Life as MOM contributor Deanna explains, it may just be what kept our foremothers a little sane and get ahead a little.
A few weeks ago we were combing through our finances, trying to pinch back wherever we could, and we realized that if we refinanced our house we would save $300 a month in payments because of the change in interest rate.
I was super excited until I realized that this refinancing came with an appraisal of our house. I asked if they would just appraise the outside? No. They were quite clear. A bank appraiser will come INSIDE the house and take detailed pictures of every room for our file at the bank.
Why did this instantly fill me with dread and loathing and the strong desire to kill the refinancing idea NOW?
Because I have 3 very young, active children in a small space. Housekeeping is not my strength, and I work from home with no extra childcare which means that there just isn’t time for everything. I also just finished publishing a book which meant that this winter things slid even more than usual.
Looking around my house and picturing an official appraiser snapping official pictures of our current mess was not a happy thought.
Because of the huge savings it would bring us, we decided that we couldn’t pass up on this chance to refinance. We decided that what we needed was a reset button and then the appraisal wouldn’t be so stressful.
A reset button.
Starting last Friday, we got to work. Friday I tackled all of the pantry space– throwing away extra boxes, old food that was expired, and organizing quite meticulously everything that was left so that it was easier to use going forward. (I also resituated things that had been too easy for the kids to tear into and make a mess as soon as I turned my back.) I put the kids to work using Magic Erasers to clean all the crayon off of the walls. Friday after the kids were in bed I started to paint the bathroom (this bathroom has needed to be painted for 5 years but we kept putting it off because there was just never the extra energy, time, or money.)
Saturday my husband took the kids away all morning and I tackled our Living Room organizational system. One big cabinet holds all of the toys, diapers, hats/gloves/scarves and our chaotic living had made it a mess. I spent 3 hours combing through every part of it, touching every toy, throwing LOTS out. While the kids napped, he tackled the garage.
Sunday we purged through all the piles just laying around on top of things (these piles of papers were just out of control), the front closet, and added another coat of paint to the bathroom.
Monday morning came. The closets were organized but the basic house upkeep had suffered even more because of our time spent organizing. Looking around, our house actually looked worse than it did when we started with our reset. Stuff was everywhere. (Side note: WHERE does all the random STUFF come from???)
8:30am an awesome cleaning service arrived. They started in the kitchen while I put away six loads of laundry and finished clearing the Dining Room of said “stuff”. They moved on to the Dining Room and I went to the kids rooms– working one room ahead of them at all times to keep organizing, picking up, and purging all the random objects that kept appearing out of nowhere as a result of our newly organized closet space.
They went through each newly emptied room scrubbing down the walls, the floors, each surface and polished each room like it had never been polished before. (THE WALLS!!! They cleaned my walls!!!)
When I ran out of things to purge and pick up upstairs, I went down to the basement and cleared out my laundry area.
By the time the cleaning service left at 12:00, my house was singing. Now only was everything polished and clean…the insides were all organized as well.
Now you may be thinking “How much did that cost? That sounds expensive! I thought you were trying to save money?”
$180 dollars for 3 people for that entire morning (and believe me…they earned every single penny of that.)
We struggled with the concept spending money to save money, but in the long run, I am confident it was worth it.
1. We found a bunch of gift cards that had been lost in the mess
2. We touched and organized all of our stuff which means that upcoming purchases will be more meaningful instead of rebuying stuff we already had but had forgotten about
3. We are all set for our upcoming appraisal which will earn us back hundreds every month
4. We revisited teaching our children about messes, cleaning, and what we want our parenting strategies to be going forward.
5. My own ability to keep up with daily housekeeping has been reenergized because of the motivation of the deep clean. (Seriously…having my whole house clean all at once feels fantastic!)
A reset button. I could not have done it without the help of this awesome cleaning service. Before they came, I felt like as soon as I cleaned one thing, the kids destroyed ten. With the service’s help to more than triple my own efforts, I finally was able to get ahead of the toddler tear down behind me.
Spring cleaning? Now I can see why people make this a yearly tradition. Count me in.
Deanna is passionate about special needs advocacy and new motherhood- two things that go hand in hand for her right now. Three kids four and under, the oldest of which has Down syndrome- keeps her quite busy. But there’s always enough time left at the end of the day to write all about the insanity at her blog Everything and Nothing from Essex. And to laugh- always, always there is time to laugh.
Technically labeled a “special” mother, Deanna really finds nothing special about herself. Truly, special needs parenting is just about taking it one day at a time- enjoying the highs, sloughing through the lows, and stumbling through the mundane while drinking too much coffee. Read all of Deanna’s posts here.
Do you do spring cleaning or get outside help?
Tell us what works for you!