Spring Cleaning and/or Sell This House!

Here's how I spring clean:
1. I buy a notebook.
I make a heading for each room. Even closets.
I imagine that I'm a potential buyer of this house. You know...PRETEND!...and see the room through someone else's eyes.
I stand in each room and look around and see all the imperfections.

2. Then I write down what needs to be done if I were to put it up for sale. Every single thing.
Yes, this is scary.
But it works.

For example, in my master bath, the shower really needs to be recaulked because some of it is peeling off and it looks messy. One of the towel bars is coming out of the walls. (Hmmm, someone swinging perhaps?) And I think the closet in my bath needs to have some reorganization...bigger plastic bins for medicine and so forth are in order. It looks messy.

I write that all down. Numbered.

And proceed to the next room.
No matter how small OR big, I write down what needs to be done.
That's my Master List for the year.
I go through it once or twice a year, and sometimes it doesn't get all done, but that's OK.
Because when it's written down I know it will be, eventually.

I came up with this method when I had to show our past two houses in order to move. I learned this: It's super super annoying to have to do all those little things you procrastinated for years, for SOMEONE ELSE! My houses never looked so good as when they were ready to be put on the market. This really annoyed me. And I vowed it would never ever happen again. (I'm just kidding on that last sentence...I'm really not that dramatic about something so trivial.)

But this way, I don't feel overwhelmed about all the little repairs and improvements that need to be done, because I know I'm working on them.

3. When my list in my handy dandy notebook is done, I carry it with me to the first room, when I'm ready to get to the "cleaning" part. This way, I can write down what I need, the measurements, and so forth, and put all that on a separate sheet in the notebook. I can go to the store with my list, maybe 3 rooms out, and get everything I need, without making constant errand runs. If I need a new curtain, or organization bins, I have the measurements right there.

4. Then I scrub like I'm showing the place.

Sometimes, I know I will get just one room done a day. Or maybe even one a week. I set a realistic goal for myself so I won't burn out and I can still keep up with my daily happenings.

I relegate to a separate page, those BIG projects...painting a leaky ceiling, finding a new chair for the den, so I don't get too slowed down. This list can also serve as a "to-do list" through out the year if I can't get it all done right away.


  1. I absolutely love this idea and I'm so going to do this for my house. I have WAY too many half-done projects!

  2. Where did you find cheap grasscloth?!

  3. I do this, too! It's a huge, multi-paged list, but at least I know I won't forget anything and I do get many of my items accomplished. Slowly...very, very slowly!

  4. Great tip Sarah. LOVE it.
    I wonder if I would actually be as dilligent as you..........worth a shot!
    Happy Hearts Day!

  5. I have often thought about doing that, but I never made it to the part where I write it down! It is a very effective way to keep your home nice and maintained . . . if you write it down . . . and follow through . . . Something to aspire to! :)

    I saw a picture in an advert on Drudge that made think of your baby boy:


  6. Oh! They come in smaller sizes too.


  7. I love this idea! I'm going to try it. I already have the cute notebook ;)

  8. Oh boy, that is amitious! BUt I love the idea.

  9. These are really clever ideas. I am goint to start my own list! Thanks...

  10. I remember when we were selling our first house, it had never been cleaner! I loved it! Granted, it was half the size of this house and I had half as many kids then... I also had a master list when we moved in here. I think I did end up getting everything done, over a year or two. It seems by the time I got to the end of my list, I needed or just wanted to redo things that I'd done at the beginning! At any rate, I'm burned out now, and I work just to maintain, not necessarily IMPROVE. Someday I'll make a new list!

  11. Well, well, well, Miss Sarah. Here is MY way to Spring Clean:

    make list.
    yell at Mark that he hasn't done one gd thing since we moved into this dumb house!
    Wish I could move into a fully furnished house.
    Forget about it all for a couple months.
    Call dad to come help cause he's the only one who knows how to fix anything anymore.
    Clean like the devil for fear that dad will see the messy house and judge me!
    Yell at Mark some more.
    Lay on the couch and watch TV.

    You should try this.
    Aunt Katie

  12. This idea feeds all of those parts of me that work for me - organization, always working towards a goal, loving to see something finished, wanting my house to feel beautiful - especially to those of us who live here. Great idea - I'll start on that today!

  13. I really dislike you for posting this idea, because now I have to do it! This is brilliant. Cruel, but brilliant! I'm off to find a notebook!

  14. I thought I was the only super picky person out there about cleaning! I read this comic once, about a guy that was cleaning his place, because he had friends coming over. He was bent down in the last square, getting all upset because there was dust on the VCR knob, and didn't want someone to see it. Sooo me! Good luck, don't kill yourself off.

  15. Can I fly you to my house so you can clean it and decorate as nicely as yours? I could do the cleaning myself...but I do not have a creative/crafty/decorative bone in my body...HELP!!

  16. What a fantastic idea. i am with all the other ladies-hate you for posting this-but love you at the same time. Does that make sense? Great ideas-like always. Really appreciate you taking the time to type this all out for us.
    I am going to get to it today! Thanks again.
    PS I am having a giveaway/come and chek it out.

  17. This is a great idea! I have a list in my head, but that gets forgotten easily. :)

  18. This is genius - I love it! I'm such a list maker, and you have such a good attitude about it. Thanks

  19. Wow..a notebook????that is a wonderful idea!
    -sandy toe

  20. How am I supposed to get anything done when you have a link to "Tip Junkie" on your blog? And how have I NEVER heard of this before!?!?? "Sorry boys and girls, I don't have any graded papers to pass back or lesson plans for this week because I was following a tutorial on how to make an edible chandelier on Tip Junkie..." Ahh!

  21. Love.this.idea.

    I'm so doing it! =)

  22. Thanks for the fabulous idea. I am determined to try it!

  23. I love the idea. I do something similar a few times a year. I like the idea of putting it in a Home Improvement notebook!

  24. Ok, I am determined to go through my entire house this year and streamline everything! We had decided to move to a smaller house but were unable to do so due to the bad real estate market so I figured the next best thing is to downsize all of our "stuff". So my question is...once you write it ALL DOWN how do you decide where to start and not get frustrated?? LOL

  25. Hi Sarah,
    I just discovered your blog and really like it. I was wondering if you have any tips on organizing mail (it's taking over my house) and what system do you have for paying the bills? I have a spreadsheet right now, but would like something more efficient. Thanks!


  26. What a great idea. I will take this idea to work as we need a good organized overhaul! We have 9 activity assistants using the materials in our office/storage. So often one or two do not put things back where they go.SO now the place is a MESS. It really bugs me but I wan't sure how to get started in remedying the problem. THANKS

  27. holy cow!love this idea!i am a Teachers Assistant and im off in the summer!So with 3 kids my house is crazy bad.So this will def. be my summer project!thnx and God Bless!

  28. Can't stop reading all of your ideas for organizing and cleaning--you are a genius! Thanks!!

  29. Love this post, have kinda done this for years, but not to this degree. I'm going to be starting this week, my husband will be deploying soon and the list will give me something to accomplish while he's gone and the kids are at school. ;) I linked back to your post at myyellowbrickhouse.blogspot.com

  30. What a great idea. I know what you mean about your house looking good and procrastinated projects getting finished just so you can sell it. I'm going to have to start doing this. Thanks for sharing!

  31. Can you tell me what color of floor is? We just recently bought a house and will start with sanding and staining our floors and I have your picture (found on pinterest) pinned for the new floors. Thanks!

    mirjam dot kirkham at gmail dot com