Sunday, January 22, 2012

Spring Cleaning Week 5 - Hunting for Dust Bunnies

This week we're on the search for dust bunnies. Everybody's got em and it's time to get rid of them. How long this takes you to do depends on how big your house is plain and simple. Grab your broom and your vacuum. That's all you need this week along with some bodies to help you move furniture.

Right now a lot of people are stuck inside the house because of the recent snow storms and ice storms. Perfect time to get this done and perfect way to get the kids involved if they are over the age of 10. And you can make it fun for them believe it or not.

Today, we're going after dust bunnies and starting from the top down. Now last week you cleaned all of your pictures that were on your walls and I don't want you getting those dirty so take them down. Plan on living with bare walls for 2 weeks. Oh my God, I can't live with nothing on my walls for two weeks. Yes you can. You may not want to and it may put you out of your comfort zone for just a little while but you can do it. Take everything down off the walls and put it away in a safe place (drawer, closet, etc.) for the next two weeks.

After you have done that, grab your broom because it's a lot easier to get all of the dust bunnies off your walls and ceilings with a broom. If you have a vacuum with an extension you can use that as well, but believe it or not, I have found that using my vacuum, I miss little dust bunnies here and there on the walls and with the broom I don't, so I prefer to use the broom. Just run the broom across your ceiling and walls. Note here, don't use it like you are sweeping because then you will throw the dust bunnies right into the air.

On the ceiling, start on one side of the room and walk the broom across the ceiling to the other side of the room. It's easier if you hold the broom at at slant. The reason is that the dust bunnies, for the most part, will be grabbed by the broom and not fall on your furniture and on the floor. After you have done about half of the ceiling, use your hose attachment on the vacuum and vacuum the dust bunnies off the broom and then do the other half of the ceiling.

Once the ceiling is done, do the walls from top to bottom. Be certain to get up in the corners where most of the dust bunnies congregate. Be sure and vacuum off your broom every so often so that you aren't overloading the broom and inadvertently leaving dust bunnies on your walls. Once you have used the broom on the ceiling and walls, you can put the broom away.

Now that you have gotten the dust bunnies from the top of the room to the bottom of the room, it's time to get them off of everything else. Now comes the part where you start moving the furniure away from the walls. It always amazes me how many dust bunnies can accumulate in a couple of months behind a piece of furniture. However, I have dogs and ceiling fans which both lead to dust bunnies behind every piece of furniture we own.

This is where those helping hands come in to play. Start on one side of the room and work your way around all four walls moving the furniture as you go. You'll need to use the attachment on your vacuum to vacuum the dust bunnies off the floor boards and the furniture. Be sure and get up underneath the furniture as dust bunnies love to hide under there as well. Make certain that you move the furniture away from the wall far enough so that you are getting all the dirt and dust bunnies that have accumulated underneath them. For example, you need to move the dresser away from the wall farther than the dress originally spaced out from the wall. In other words, if your dresser is 2 feet deep, you need to move the dresser at least 2 and a half feet from the wall to be able to get all of the dirt that was underneath it. You get the picture. You also need to vacuum around all of the windows and door frames. Be certain to get up on top of the door frames as a lot of dust bunnies and dirt collects up there on the frames. If you have a brush attachment with your vacuum, this is the perfect spot to use it.

Now, if you have a lot of rooms, this can take you a fair amount of time if you are doing it by yourself. Here's where you get the kids and other family membmers involved, especially if you have teenagers. You can have one person go ahead of you in each room and take the things down off the walls. Once that person has everything down off the walls in one room, they move to the next, then you have someone start with the broom in the first room. Once that person has done the ceiling and one wall, then then someone can start with the vacuum. Assembly line of sorts.

Now the kids are going to grumble for sure. Realistically, did you enjoy Spring cleaning when you were a kid, um no. So make it interesting for them. Give them some sort of incentive. Special treat, extra allowance, something. It's drab and dreary outside so make it interesting. You could think up a prize for the most interesting thing found behind the furniture, or any money found, the kid gets to keep. (I found $.75 behind my husband's dresser when I did my rooms yesterday!) You never know what you are going to find. But make it interesting for the kids. Maybe they get to watch their favorite movie on t.v. and you fix popcorn, whatever. You know your kids and you know what they like, entice them with a little something to get them involved and it will go much quicker and you will be that much closer to having your Spring Cleaning done.

Couple of points, if you don't take the things down off the walls, you will be getting dust bunnies on the items you just cleaned so well last week so be sure and take them down.

Also, don't forget the ceiling fans. Lots of dust collects up there so be sure to vacuum those very well.

Now you have the whole week to get all of your rooms done. You can do a room a day or you can do them all in one. Make it a challenge to the kids. Set a time limit, say 2 hours to get all of the rooms done in the house. Be sure and keep track of the time and shot out time intervals to keep things moving. Trust me you will come up with comical events happening if you do this as you will have bodies running throught the house snataching things off the walls, moving furniture, putting it back in place, etc. When my kids were younger, we would do "speed cleaning" races. I had a town house and it was pretty comical some times watching the kids and myself grabbing things from the living room that belonged in someone's bedroom upstairs. They would crack me up and give me heart failure watching one of them toss an empty glass from the living room to someone who was standing in the kitchen. But it made for some great memories that I will forever cherish! And don't even ask me about turning on the radio. There is nothing funnier than to walk into a room when the radio is blaring a song your child loves and watch them cleaning and singing and dancing all at the same time as if they were on a major caffeine speed race. Cleaning doesn't have to be boring! So crank the music up and get busy.

Advance warning, next week is a toughie to plan on getting the kids involved again and think up an extra special treat because they will have earned it! Next week we're washing down the walls and the base boards!

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