The best foundation of any relationship is honesty.
So I will start by being completely honest: I hate spring cleaning.
Growing up we were moving often enough that we could avoid spring cleaning by simply moving… and if that wasn’t the case my wonderful mother liked changing the furniture around as well so that everything was always already cleaned behind!!
Now that I am settled in what could be our forever home, spring cleaning is something I need to look at more. For me it has unique challenges in that our son with special needs does not like water to be running for too long. I tend not to run the washing machine when he is around since he will get quite distressed by the water exiting in the drain outside… and he doesn’t really like the sound of the vacuum cleaner either. So yes, unique challenges!
But it still needs to be done.
When he was only 7 months old, we had the flat we were renting at the time go on the market to be sold. We had a great landlord and we wanted to help her to get as much as she could from the sale. So we needed to have the place clean for showing potential buyers through at any time.
Aaaand… I had just found out that I was pregnant with our second child and the first trimester feelings of nausea were strong! It was not the best timing for us!
I thought I would share some of the tips I found at the time for when and if you do need to do a good spring clean of your house even when you have a baby… and maybe if you are getting ready for a baby as well! After all cleaning with some of those chemicals is not pleasant at any time, but definitely to be avoided when you are pregnant.
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Decide on a plan of attack
Plan first, always. If you have a clear plan of attack for spring cleaning in your head, it will happen with at least a little bit more order and you will be able to feel more in control of it all.
Don’t tip everything out and try to do it all in one weekend. That is the way of craziness. It is the way I used to do things, before children, and even then it was the way of craziness!
There are so many printables out there suggesting how you should plan your cleaning. I think a lot of them are a bit of overkill myself, but I confess I still enjoy looking at them to check what it is that other people suggest should be cleaned!
I prefer to simply have my own list. I made one as I was thinking through what needed to be done, just so that I could see in front of me what I was doing and refer back to it to double check I had got everything once I was done.
Also, I love ticking things off to reward myself for doing them! 😉
Even in writing my list I walked through the house to actually look at what needed to be done in each room. A visual aid always helps prompt me in writing things down.
If you feel unsure about what to put on your list then general wisdom states you should clean from the top to the bottom of each room. So start with the ceiling and end with the floor!
- The ceiling may only need a wipe or dusting off any cobwebs.
- The walls may need wiping or spot cleaning any marks.
- Of course, the windows are technically part of the walls so they come in at this stage.
- Then you can declutter and dust furniture or fixtures (which is fancy talk for lights or anything that is fixed in place).
- And then move furniture to clean all of the floor. It also gives you a chance to move furniture to new locations if you want 😉
When it comes to actually getting going, I suggest just starting with one room and working your way through the house. I started with the “easy” rooms first – bedrooms and living areas are easier in my opinion – it is more like just doing a declutter with a thorough dusting and vacuuming. That made me feel successful and helped give me enthusiasm for hitting the “harder” rooms.
The kitchen and bathroom tend to be the dirtier areas and take more actual scrubbing and potentially more products.
But I know plenty of people who prefer to do the harder areas first to get them out of the way. You will know yourself best!
Use A Baby Carrier
So, you’ve got a baby who’ll only nap on you and you can barely catch a break to go to the bathroom let alone attempt cleaning. This is when a baby carrier is worth its weight in gold.
With a baby in a carrier (on the front) you can:
- do the dishes (a little awkwardly)
There are a few things that’ll be too hard… you obviously won’t be getting down on hands and knees to scrub the bath tub! But, once your baby is old enough to back carry, you’ll be able to do most things while wearing your little one.
Of course, not all babies take to a baby carrier, but it’s worth a shot!
Best baby carriers for the job:
- Ergobaby Cool Air Mesh Carrier. – Breathable. Lightweight. Easy. The mesh fabric is soft & durable so you stay cool & comfortable – perfect for a summer baby. It’s also suitable from newborn.
- Lillebaby Pursuit All Seasons – another great option suitable from newborn to toddler with up to 6 positions you can use for baby.
- Tula Explore – suitable for newborn through toddler with lots of versatile positions. Tula is a great brand for petite moms as their shoulder straps tend to be a little narrower than the Ergo (Ergo is a bit bulky).
Find products you feel good using… or make your own
So this is the next biggy. You can find recipes for making your own eco products or you can buy some once you have done a bit of research.
I found that baking soda and vinegar together or alone were pretty amazing. Warm water will often help removing most things. And a lot will come up if you can give it a scrub. So honestly I hardly used any extra bought products at all. Just a lot of good old fashioned elbow grease!
My favourite recipe for a bathroom cleaner was this one: Heat ½ cup white vinegar in the microwave for about 90 seconds, so it gets quite hot. Put it in a spray bottle and add ½ cup dish wash liquid (Blue Dawn dish soap was the recommendation but I found most things worked fine for me). You need to shake it gently to mix it, but not too much. Then spray it on the shower, bathtub or sink and leave it for half an hour. Wipe it off and rinse with water. Honestly, this is better than some products I have bought in the past! Try it for yourself.
This is a selection of products that friends have used and recommended to me that you may like to try as well.
And if you’re cleaning your oven, Cath has a neat trick to get it done quickly without harsh chemicals.
Choose your time wisely
Trying to do some deep cleaning while your baby is hungry would not be a clever move. Likewise when he is tired, or needing a diaper change, or… well, you get the idea. Choose a time when your baby is happy and content WITHOUT YOU or when taking a nap. (The baby, not you. But actually sometimes you get more done by taking a nap, so if you have a chance to nap first PLEASE TAKE IT!)
I set up an area to play right next to wherever I was working. At this age he was enjoying jumping in a bouncer that held him upright and had a table around it for toys and whatnot. It meant that he could be happy with toys, I could be right in his line of vision and I could get things done.
Some people suggest involving your baby as much as possible. I would say that depends on you and your baby… and your baby’s age! If they are moving around then honestly I think it is more difficult to keep them contained and to actually get anything useful done. I also have friends who really struggle with having their kids involved in a project if they simply just want to get it done. After all, we all know that it takes roughly about 10, 000 years for kids to put on their own shoes (once they get to that age) so everything else will also take a whole lot longer if you have your baby involved in any way.
But my nephew would play at spraying the table and wiping it from a tiny tot since that was what mom did all the time and he liked doing it with her! So she often ended up giving him a spray bottle of water and a cloth to “work” alongside her whenever she wanted to get some cleaning done. I should say that this was before he was a year old. He couldn’t walk yet and could only stand up at the coffee table, but that was what he liked doing!
The only other advice I would give you for spring cleaning with baby is to be gentle with yourself. Taking care of a baby is a LOT of work. Just doing that is a major achievement. So anything else you do is to be massively celebrated. If you do some spring cleaning let us know so we can celebrate with you!!