Spring Cleaning Grandma Style

In May, I’ll be a giddy grandmother. In June, boy child graduates from High School. Between now and then, our house definitely needs spring cleaning. In light of the lovely weather we’re having (more like July than March in Chicagoland), I’ve started spring cleaning. Spring cleaning really is more “cleaning that’s piled up all winter.”

As much as I want to make like Ma Ingalls and take everything out of the house and start all over, that’s not practical. With our busy day-to-day lives, it really isn’t practical to spring clean the way my mother did either. She’d spend a week cleaning and then she’d enlist our heavy duty help on the weekend. I learned a lot about washing drapes, rearranging furniture and cleaning baseboards–all in two days at least twice a year.

Now, I need to do a spring cleaning more like Alicia suggests over at BlogHer– Spring Cleaning in 10 minutes or less.

That may seem like crazy talk. If it does–I suggest to you this exercise I got from some cleaning book 20 or so years ago (probably the Sidetracked Home Executives-I love that book.) get out a timer and time how long it REALLY takes you to do one task-load the dishwasher, make the bed, or organize a drawer. Stunning. If I am super fussy, it still takes under a minute to make the bed every morning.

Back to spring cleaning, today I started by cleaning the prairie dog pen (regular chore, it needs to be done at least every couple of days). Then I thought “while I am at it, why don’t I take a few more minutes and bathe the prairie dogs. This chore ranks around giving a cat a bath as far as ease. They get a bit musky over the winter though, so well worth it. Prairie dogs bathed. Oh! Not even 10 am and I’ve finished a chore I’ve put off (cleaning the prairie dog pen; it’d been more than a couple of days) and bathed the prairie dogs. Next!

The filthy dog walked by-the real dog or as real of a dog as we have around here, my mother’s shih tzu. The last time we took him to be groomed was before Halloween. Horrible. I know. I know it was pre-Halloween because he still had one decorative orange and black bow on his ear. Ugh. We’ve put it off because he needs a booster shot for one of those odd little things they require every six months for dogs now. That means a trek across two villages, waiting, having the vet try to sell something to us (an EKG? cat scan? No problems with the dog–his breed just has a tendency to have heart problems, and then the shots. Unfortunately, while foot dragging, the dog has wallowed in mud, played under the prairie dogs, and did whatever else dogs do to get filthy. Filthy dog walks by, I am fresh from prairie dog bath success, and think “I need to bathe him before I can TAKE him to the vet now which I need to do before I take him to be groomed.” Why yes, it’s a “If you give a mouse a cookie.” I grabbed the dog and took him into the bathroom for a bath, make that two baths. I brushed. I bathed. I clipped some mats. I bathed him again. He looks a LOT better. (unless you believe my mother who thinks I ruined him. I remind her that he is her dog and she should brush him every day.)

That’s the extent of my spring cleaning for today. I feel a lot perkier with clean pets. But watch out, I can do 10 minute bits and pieces over the next few weeks. I’ve a Sock Day present to sort out. Then Denise leaves town to go wait for our grandbaby. She’ll be all the way in Hawaii and unable to stop me from indulging in the cleaning things I like most. I will reorganize cupboards. I will spread water around. I will use bleach. I may even wax the floors. Grandbaby is coming and my trademark Grand Plans percolate when Denise is out of town. Does anyone else get their big project on when their partner/spouse is out of town? I always do.

How do you spring clean? What would you do as a BIG spring cleaning project? Be sure to go read the Spring Cleaning in 10 minutes a day post and while you are over there-go enter the Life Well Lived Sweepstakes. You can win a Kindle Fire for relaxing after you get the house clean.




  1. Oh, I wish I could spring clean like Ma Ingalls! But, I’ll take 10 minute increments if I have to!

  2. I always get big projects done while Hubby and Charlie out of the house. One day I took a vacation day while Charlie was in school and Hubby was in chemo all day. I got 6 errands knocked out in 4 hours (8am-12noon) and managed to get some deep cleaning done in the remaining 3 hours before I had to pick up Charlie from school.

    10 minute increments is actually a good idea. I’m just lazy and don’t like to clean at all. Hubby wants to pay someone to come and clean which I’m all for. Except I’d have to pick up and organize the house before hand so they could get to the stuff that needs cleaning!

  3. Hi!

    As one grandmother to another it is nice to meet you through Life Well Lived! I also did this “LWL” post this week — it was a fun topic.

    I appreciated reading Alicia’s 10 minute Spring Cleaning tips on BlogHer as I need to organize myself in small intervals this season as i have a lot going on at my house this year. My biggest chore is the wardrobe switch as we have small closets in my city sized house. Wish I could figure out a way to do that in only 10 minutes! 🙂

  4. Pat: It seems like a busy spring for a lot of people. I am glad you stopped by! I love your spring pictures!

  5. Elizabeth: Oh good! Glad to hear I am not alone! On one hand, I would like the free labor help, but on the other, I find it easier to clean with out the kibbitzing.

  6. Neena: I know. Ma Ingalls had the life! Or not…that whole blizzard thing and having to get out to the livestock and having to make or build the housewares. sigh. She worked hard.

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