House Need a Deep Clean? Take Our Fall Cleaning Challenge!

Little House
“We’re going to clean this house from top to bottom, and we’ll begin right now!” – Laura, Little Town on the Prairie

Friends, it’s getting gnarly in here.

For a long time we had a cleaning person coming every other week, but with the kids getting bigger and less energy-intensive – as well as more able to help out around the house – it started to get harder to justify the expense. So, since early summer we’ve been handling all the cleaning ourselves.

Or should I say NOT always handling it? I’m pretty good about keeping up with the day-to-day maintenance, like doing the dishes, laundry, cleaning bathroom surfaces and vacuuming, but some of the bigger or more out-of-sight jobs – particularly those that aren’t part of my day-to-day routine – have barely been touched. Here’s where I admit that I’ve lived in this house for a year and a half and I’m not sure the windows have ever been washed. (How often are you supposed to do that, anyway?)

The other day I was thinking about the Little House books, and I was reminded of one of my very favorite scenes from the series – the chapter where Mary goes off to college, and Laura and Carrie decide to handle all the fall cleaning by themselves while Ma and Pa are gone (while taking care of Grace, of course!)

I remember reading that chapter over and over again as a little girl, reveling in all the details of their domestic tasks: emptying and cleaning the straw ticks, blacking the stove, sweeping the hearth. 

Well, I may not own a straw tick or a hearth and my stove does not require blacking, but I figure I can draw on the spirit of Laura’s long-ago declaration: “We’re going to clean this house from top to bottom, and we’ll begin right now!”

Yes, even those oh-so-avoidable tasks that I let go far too long, like cleaning the tops of the fan blades. 

And I hope you’ll join me!

Fall Cleaning, house cleaning, challenge
Don’t worry, I’m not going to try to clean my entire house top to bottom in a weekend like Laura did. Instead I’m going to break the job into zones and work on one zone per week, then come back and share my progress. I’m planning to break the house in four or five zones, but if I find that I over-estimated how much I can accomplish in a week, I may stretch it out a little.

My goal is to spend no more than an average of 30 minutes a day working on deep cleaning (in addition to the regular cleaning I do every day.) So we’ll see how realistic the first week’s attempts are! If you can’t (or just don’t want to) set aside that much time right now, feel free to modify my plan to tackle your highest priority areas and give the rest “a lick and a promise,” as Ma would say.

Are you in? Great! Here’s what I have planned for Week 1/Zone 1:

My mother always told me to clean from the top down: tackle high surfaces first, so you can clean up any dirt or dust that falls or settles when you make your way to the bottom. So with that bit of wisdom in mind, our first plan of attack includes all those up-high spaces that can be so easy to ignore…until one day you look up and notice an abundance of cobwebs in the ceiling corner. Week 1/Zone 1’s tasks:

  • Clean all ceiling light fixtures and fan blades
  • Wipe down the tops of door frames, window frames and high windowsills
  • Dust tops of high furniture and artwork/framed photos
  • Vacuum cobwebs in ceiling corners
  • Dust blinds 

Anything you’d add to the “up high” week? Will you be taking part in the Deep Cleaning Challenge? Chime in here! I’ll be back next week to share how I’m doing so far and create a plan for Week 2. 

Here’s to a cleaner house – top to bottom!

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