Last Wednesday I took the day off and had a home maintenance day. For months I’d been putting things off and doing your bear minimum tidy to just get by. I was busy and sometimes how the home looks becomes the lowest priority. But I was feeling cluttered and tired and ready to do something about it. So all other plans were cancelled, I popped some music in my headphones and got to work.
First I wrote a list of the rooms and spaces that I most wanted to get done and then what needed doing. I started with the sheets and the doona (duvet for non-Aussies) from my room and put the load on before getting stuck in to the kitchen.
The surface tops were cluttered with things that we just hadn’t returned to their homes after use, so I sorted and returned them to their rightful homes and even left some on the dining table to tackle later. Then I scrubbed the bench tops and all the cupboard doors, put the toaster away, cleaned the microwave and washed any dishes and left them to dry. For me the kitchen is the biggest job and it seemed to take forever. But it is so much nicer when it doesn’t feel cluttered.
I started the next load of washing and got the dryer going (it was a rainy day), and started on the weekend shopping list as I realised what we were missing as I cleaned all the things. Then I swept the kitchen and moved on to the living room.
The Living Room
I cleaned off all the surfaces. Dusted and threw away any rubbish or receipts that had been forgotten. Folded the washing that was waiting to be put away. Ironed all the things that were waiting in the ironing pile and finally vacuumed the floors and the couches. Next it was another load of washing and more in the dryer. I would repeat this for most of the day, with some washing being hung up on the clothing rack to air dry.
The Hallway & Bathrooms
Next it was time to vacuum the hallways and make give the bathroom a wipe down and tidy the bench tops. (The next day I actually came back and tidied inside the cupboards.) I checked for cobwebs and removed all I found and then reorganised the linen cupboard in the hall. Quick stop for lunch and it was time to tackle the bedroom.
I washed the sheets and the doona earlier so now it was time to put on fresh sheets and add the doona cover back to the doona. The sheets are easy enough but the doona can be a challenge. I’d seen a video of the burrito roll method for easily putting the cover back on so I decided to try it. I did a looser version of the roll and noticed that I needed to adjust the sides a few times to make sure that the cover ends stayed hanging out but it worked well and I was really happy with how it turned out.
Then I cleared off all the flat surfaces and dusted and vacuumed, before finally coming up with a solution for my shoes that had been bugging me. With a small shoe collection I needed something simple, so I got a large gift box I already had and lined them up toes down. See it here.
Everything was feeling much nicer. Then it was on to the dining room.
The Dining Room
This is a trouble spot for us, and I think it still needs work, but I cleared off the table and tidied as much as I could and vacuumed before doing the last of the washing and the folding and calling it a day.
Why it worked
Doing just a little bit of tidying is great if you’re on top of the big clean, but if you’ve let it slide, like I did, the little tidy seems to just move the mess from one room to another. Making time to do this made me not feel guilty about all the other things I could have been doing with my time and I felt so much better for having a tidy space.
The next day I even took 30 minutes out to clean out the fridge and freezer and add to the shopping list so that we could to a proper shop for what we needed without guessing.
The office still needs doing, and the dining space still needs work, but I feel like this reminded me just how much better I feel when things are in their place. In the end I didn’t need to throw away as much as I thought I would, as most of the things just needed to be returned to bookshelves and storage places. As someone who generally doesn’t really like housework, I was surprised how accomplished I felt at the end of the day. Maybe I don’t mind it so much after all.
I’ll be looking to do this much more regularly now, in the hope that it will soon become something that only needs a little tidy.
Before I started this last week I was reading about Beth’s Maintenance Monday, which I’m sure planted a seed that helped kick this off. Read it here.
Do you have a home maintenance day? Or are you on top of the little tidy?