View Full Version : Spring Cleaning

02-22-08, 09:44 PM
my house is really, really squalid right now. I've been working more hours than usual and really lazy for a few months...and even when I'm not "lazy", I'm pretty bad at any kind of cleaning.

I have a lady that comes once a week and takes out trash, does dishes, and cleans off my coffee table into a crate...but that's it. if it wasn't for her I'd be even worse off. I had spiders (AAAAGH) in the coldest months, now I have ants (YIKES) in the living room.

I have to do real cleaning. I'm a pack rat so I have to get rid of a ton of stuff too. I asked my best friend and her roommate to come help me on my next days off, next sun, mon and tues. they're going to help all weekend.

but I have no idea where to start ot what to do- actually until I started reading this site I didn't know what dusting was. (i had to go look it up after reading that thread!) or that windows got cleaned. I was pretty much raised by wolves on neptune...I never knew how to do laundry until a few years ago (id just drop the bags off at a laundry or throw them out and go to thrift stores and get more.)

I'm not too worried about getting rid of things- I'm a pack rat but I'm also not too attached to "stuff" deep down. I'm more worried about figuring out how to clean the place and organize it. how can I make it so I don't end up buried in rubbish again? I live alone, so it only bothers me, but it gets depressing to me to be staring at piles of nonsense and trash everywhere. plus, ants?

I mean, I don't have to scrub walls and stuff right? I think I have a vaccuum somewhere though, and some lysol, and stuff.

what kind of stuff do I need to clean? I'm embarrassed to ask my friends when they come, I feel like an idiot not knowing the simple things, it's hard enough that they'll see my mess but I'd rather they thought I was lazy and nuts, than that I was foolish and clueless!

if anyone can tell me what stuff they do to clean, or what's on their list, thatd be a start for me. I can always look up a how-to :) or if you have any words of wisdom I'd love to hear them

any advice is appreciated...

02-22-08, 09:50 PM
by the way, I pay the lady that comes in weekly. she's not someone I'm friends with, she cleans my coworker's house and I hired her through them. she is really nice, too, she pretty much taught me to do dishes and clean the microwave (never knew that had to be done either. fish stick flavored popcorn anyone?)

02-23-08, 01:49 AM
I looked online and found a page that said to make a schedule and do it a bit at a time. then I called my cleaning lady, she gave me some advice, to:

1. bag up stuff to throw out or donate, starting in places tha are out in the open, like the living room shelfs and around my library reading area, and the nightstands near my bed

2. then bag up stuff from areas I go less often, bedroom closet, dressing table, library shelfs, and the kitchen cabinets

3. then other closets, and last outside and the utility room.

then start to rearrange and clean last after all the stuff is cleared out.

I have a lot of junk, I am a packrat, and I usually get stuff because I want to use it for an art or work project. then I forget about it or can't find it later.

my workspace at home is filled of stuff. going through that room is going to be the hardest, but I haven't been able to work comfortably for months.

I started a list.

my rooms;

living room
utility room

tonight if I can't sleep I'm gonna start going through the clothes in my room and bag em up. then I will do the living room shelfs on sunday, next day off.

I'm gonna make the list more of schedule then post again.

02-23-08, 01:55 AM

bag anything in the living room I want to get rid of


bag anything in my bedroom and kitchen I want to get rid of

tuesday night:

bag anything in my library

wed. night:



do the studio stuff.

then I have off on friday. my cleaning lady said she would drop off my donation stuff that day for me, since she is going there to go shopping anyway :)

she has a truck

then sunday, my friends will be here. I can get them to help me move things around.

I can either pay the lady to help me clean up some or try to do it myself, that week. but I'd really like to do it myself, I don't have a lot of cash to spare right now.

if anyone has any instructions for actual cleaning, or links to how-to's, please post them for me, it would help a lot

02-23-08, 02:05 AM

I found this, too. it looks like theres a lot of stuff on there that could help me out. I'm gonna print some things out, especially the storage and closet things

02-23-08, 02:21 AM

my cleaning lady just texted me this. I didn't know you had to do ANY of this. good lord.

how do people do all this stuff?

I was pretty neglected, I grew up in a farm house that was kept up by my grnadmother, nobody was ever allowed to do any housewor but her. I never learned how to do ANY of this kind of stuff...I DO know how to slaughter a pig, and till for corn rows, and hunt.

dusting picture frames... oh man

02-23-08, 02:24 AM
i think you found a great place to start. my apartment is pretty bad right now. It's overwhelming. I'm starting to clean it Sunday.

I start with a corner and work my way across, until the whole room is picked up.

Someone once told me to have 2 boxes and several trash bags
1 to put things in that have to go into another room 2 - to donate and then a trash bag to toss stuff out.

If I don't take the stuff to donate right away to goodwill, then I'm SOL. I have to do it right away or it stays around my apartment. .

check out a lot of people like how she advises to clean and organize.

Good luck!!!

02-23-08, 03:10 AM
I'm gonna go read that link now, too. thanks!

yeah my place is...well it is bad enough that I can't do anything until I get rid of stuff . winter does it to me, usually, I rent a dumpster every few springs, when it gets overwhelming, and just move! :) this year I'm staying. I like this place and I think I can do this

02-23-08, 05:58 AM

My friend sent me this one in chat, we were talking about what I needed to do...I told her I don't want to rely too much on her and her roommate to do stuff and she sent me this link. holy ****e, I guess I'm bad but not the worst!!!

If these people can manage I guess I can too. The less-rotten photos of places on there look about like my house...I'm scoring pretty high on their "squalor scale" but not the highest (I have no cats, I guess is what saves me)

I do have a stagnant aquarium though, and a fishpond full of gunk outside...I've never had fish in either one though, just plants...

this is motivating stuff on that link. Maybe someone else will find it helpful too.

from that site:

Sometimes, the process of becoming better involves opening up and sharing parts of ourselves that probably aren't very pretty. We know they aren't very pretty...they're like the nasty, gooey, brown banana that has sat in the bottom of the crisper drawer of our hearts for umteen years. We don't want anyone to see it, so we try to hide it in black plastic trash bags and sneak it out of the back door in the middle of the night, wearing our yellow rubber gloves so that we don't touch it any more than necessary. And when the trash man carts it away, we feel relieved....until we have to get another banana. Or someone gives us a banana. Or a banana falls out of the sky to hit us on the head and we're stuck with this banana through no fault of our own. Or, sometimes, we go straight to the store and EVEN THOUGH we KNOW that we don't need another banana, we pick one up anyway and run home with it, swearing that "this time will be DIFFERENT!"

But then, there's the banana, again, rotting and drawing fruitflies and generally stinking up the place. So we want help in getting rid of it permanently, and in cleaning up the rotten banana guts, so we step out of our "comfort zone" (which is never very comfortable anyway, it's like the big overstuffed chair with the one spring that pokes you right in the tuchas) and we say......."Here, this is my banana story. Please help me."

So you get a fruit salad of responses. Some say, "Never ever buy bananas again," some say, "If you hadn't bought the bananas in the first place, you wouldn't have a problem, would you?" And some say, "I know how you feel, let me share my banana story," while others say, "You're neglecting your poor bananas and leaving them to rot." Still others say, "If I had that problem with bananas, I'd toss the bananas out of the house." And you always have the one who says, "I hate bananas. Why don't you try oranges?" And on and on and on.

Now, sometimes we caused our banana goo, by ignoring our banana's plight until it was too late, and sometimes by trying TOO hard with our bananas that they gooeyed up faster. Sometimes, we did absolutely nothing to our bananas, but they threw themselves under our feet and caused us pain anyway. And sometimes, and sometimes, and sometimes...there are as many reasons for banana goo as there are bananas in the world. Taking responsibility for our part in the banana goo is a first step towards healing. Letting go of responsibility in the case of the banana hurting you is also a first step.

The point is....we're all here to fix our bananas. Whether we throw them out, or clean them up, or cry over spilt bananas, or just make fruit salad, our goal is the same. We're all on the same side. How we reach our goals might be different, but we're all striving towards the same get better.

kind of ridiculous. but true

02-25-08, 03:56 AM
I cleaned part of the carpet up. Yuk. and got rid of some stuff from the living room into bags for goodwill and the dump. I'm fed up with cleaning now so I'm taking a break.

02-25-08, 04:48 AM
I cleaned off the glass on the big aquarium. looks a little better but it still needs a water change.

02-25-08, 04:49 AM
I hope nobody minds but I'm going to keep posting the little things I do in this thread, so I can look in it and see what I got done. It kind of helps to see it all in one place.

edge of reason
02-25-08, 09:54 AM
i began meds a few days ago, and yesterday had my first urge to clean. And i don't mean tidying up. i started in the bathroom with a bowl of hot water, Dawn with bleach alternative, an old toothbrush, and a towel....

i did the walls, the floors, the baseboards, the every peice of dust and dirt...took me 8 hours to do.

Today i will do the kitchen walls, floor, cabinets, clean the livingroom, vacuum, and attempt to clean the many floor to ceiling windows. i may even take down the xmas lights that have been up over the porch for 2 years.

02-25-08, 10:12 AM
I second the link for

if nothing else, get yourself a timer and just work somewhere for 15 minutes at a time.

Allow yourself to throw out things that you otherwise "might" need, surely could find a "future" use for, or think someone "would" want. I guarantee letting that stuff go, will make you feel 100% better in the long run.
*advice from a reformed compulsive empty box hoarder.*

02-25-08, 10:33 AM
Hey reesah - sounds like you might not have much idea about cleaning products, so just wanted to pass on some suggestions that make cleaning much easier - for that greasy, sticky, fuzzy, black kitchen dirt - nothing beats Mr Clean. The gunk just wipes right off. A Mr.Clean/ammonia mixture will clean about anything from any linoleum floor very easily (just never add bleach to that mixture or you'll create toxic fumes). I actually filled a spray bottle with this mixture and it's amazing for just about anything. For bathtubs/bathrooms - the green can of scrubbing bubbles. Let it sit for a moment, and the scum just wipes away. If I have to clean - that's the way I like it. Spray and wipe. Windex for glass and furniture polish for dusting, toilet bowl cleaner with bleach. That's about all I ever use.

02-25-08, 10:55 AM
edge, how great! I haven't even started to THINK about the bathroom yet...ugh!

delores, I took a look thoruhg flylady...I think it's the "homespun humor" but she bugs the he77 out of me and I couldn't stand my mom hovering over me, joking about how I was doing stuff wrong...I've been reading through that squalorsurvivor site a lot more though. Some good ideas in there.

busyhermit, thanks, that's exactly the kind of stuff I don't know about. I know you can't mix ammonia and bleach (I read "Geek Love" a few times. Great book.) But I didn't think you could mix stuff together AT ALL...I guess I thought it would all make bad fumes or something

I am going to the store later today and I will probably get some mr clean, and I think I have some windex here too somewhere. I have a toilet bowl scrubber brush, I think I've used it once maybe? haha

dusting/ that's gonna have to wait until I get rid of a bunch of things. I have an overload of junk in here right now...once I clear out some I will be asking how to dust. Do you have to use one of those feather things? what do you do with pledge or whatever? I know I sound naive but what is dusting? doesn't it just come right back?

02-25-08, 01:35 PM
dusting/ that's gonna have to wait until I get rid of a bunch of things. I have an overload of junk in here right now...once I clear out some I will be asking how to dust. Do you have to use one of those feather things? what do you do with pledge or whatever? I know I sound naive but what is dusting? doesn't it just come right back?

It most certainly does - and that's why most people hate it. But it can get really thick and bothersome. Some people don't care too much about it, but it's not good for electronics (your computer sucks it in), not good for allergies, and dusting your TV screen can make a huge difference in the picture! Anyhow, the problems with feather dusters is that they only move the dust around the room - kinda throw it up in the air to settle elsewhere. If you use some kind of dusting spray and a rag, the dust will stick to the rag so it's actually being removed.

03-01-08, 11:36 AM
I can't do flylady. There are just too many rules that won't work for me. Dress to the shoes? We don't wear shoes in our house, period. 15 minute limits? If I'm going to hyperfocus on something, it should probably be cleaning. If I have to stop at 15 minutes, I might not get back to it for 6 months. Only take out as much as you can put back? Again, I have to go all out or not at all.

I do make extremely detailed lists. Checking things off keeps me motivated. There is no "do dishes" on my list. Instead, it looks like this:
Wash silverwear
Wash plates and bowls
Wash cups and glasses
Wash pots and pans
Put away silverwear
Put away plates and bowls
Put away cups and glasses
Put away pots and pans.
Otherwise, "do dishes" will probably never get checked off.
I really do get into the specifics.
Clean sink and faucet
Wipe down counters
Clean under coffee pot
Clean range hood
Clean range surface
Clean oven door
And that's just for every day cleaning. Spring cleaning, well, I guess I should start writing my lists now!
My lists are miles long, but I can ALWAYS manage to check SOMETHING off, and that keeps me motivated.

03-01-08, 12:01 PM
I'm done with my living room and bedroom stuff. tomorrow I'll have some help getting things to the dumpster, then I have a few days off so I can try to get more done.

03-01-08, 12:07 PM
Congratulations! Sounds like you're making real progress!

03-03-08, 05:52 AM
they carried a huge amount of things to the dumpster for me. we filled the dumpster. I don't know when is garbage day but for everyone else's sake I hope it's soon ;)

Also, my bathroom is now spotless

03-03-08, 11:53 AM

That's amazing! Good for you. You have put me in the mood for a spring clean. lol!


That's me too, I write extremely detailed lists of every little chore and tick it off as I go.

03-03-08, 04:55 PM
I can't really do a list, either I lose the list, or I get frustrated that I hae so much to get done!

I just went one room at a time, and jumped around a lot.

03-03-08, 05:18 PM
I second the idea to just do a bit at a time - half an hour (maybe three separate half-hours during the day if it's really messy/urgent) is about as much as I can stand.

My folks are visiting end of next week and the place is a bit of a disaster, so I'm going to start today. Luckily most of my mess is papers, which are easy to just shove in a box.

For me it's best to do the grimiest/fiddliest/most difficult bits first. Which for me always means the kitchen and the bathroom. If I get 'em nice now, then they'll only need a very brief going over before the parents get here.

03-03-08, 05:24 PM
Now that I'm on anti-depressant meds I find it much easier to complete some of my own spring cleaning projects. Before that my whole domestic life was a wreck! I've gotten alot done the past two weekends. :)

03-05-08, 01:43 PM
took all the laundry to the cleaners. and, my living room is really nice now...still some spiderwebs and stuff, but much much better/