Intro to the Whole House Overhaul
Sometimes, I step back and realize that life and it’s messes have caught up with me again. The mess is overwhelming and the damage seems irreparable- I may as well torch the house. The home needs a complete reboot- an overhaul. Instead of torching the house and giving up on the mess- I’ve created a 6 week whole house overhaul. Join me on this journey as I spend 6 weeks hitting the “reset button” in each area of the home!
In this overhaul, we’re going to work on organizing, decluttering, and cleaning one part of the house at a time. To make this a more manageable undertaking, we’ll break it into sections and when it seems pertinent- into detailed tasks. You’ll find checklists to help along the way in the Resource Library.
I need an overhaul just as much as the next person. The past few years in our family’s life have been very busy and disruptive to say the least. Life has been fun, but all the changes we’ve experienced made for some messy times. I’ve found that messy on the outside translates to messy on the inside. Living in a mess, causes my stress levels to rise. One way I manage stress is to keep the physical part of life in order. Having a place for things, labeling the place if needed, and teaching the family where the object goes- is an essential part of keeping the physical mess (and stress) to a minimum.
Planning your overhaul:
Planning when to do the overhaul depends on your unique daily life. You may need to schedule a day to take on some of these jobs, or perhaps some of these tasks could fit into your daily routines. A few examples of how to fit an overhaul into your daily routine are: while prepping a meal, take ten minutes to clean out one drawer or cupboard; or wash the windows in the living room while watching a movie with your family in the evening. Organize bookshelves or toys while you’re homeschooling or playing with your little children; or organize a bathroom drawer or cupboard each time you are in the bathroom. Little bits of progress done throughout daily life is just as valuable as devoting a whole day or week to a big project. Both ways of doing an organizing and cleaning project work, and there is a time and place for working both ways in our lives. What works in this stage of life may not work in a different stage.
Week 1: Kitchen and Dining Room
The last couple of years have been busy and disruptive in my life, the kitchen typically takes the brunt of that. While I’ve found that taking care of one little problem at a time is very helpful, it’s also good to have a dedicated time to focus on a reboot of the space. We’re going to spend one week focusing on cleaning and organizing the kitchen and dining room. These rooms get the most use in the whole house, along with the bathrooms. Food is an essential and unavoidable part of life, and the kitchen is where that unavoidable mess happens. The kitchen gets messy, dirty, and unorganized in the blink of an eye.
Kitchen Cupboards and Drawers
Starting to the right, and moving left through your kitchen. Go through one cupboard or drawer at a time, emptying the contents. Only keep what is necessary, and put the rest in a box for the thrift store or into the trash. Then clean the cupboards and drawers- inside and out.
After cleaning the cupboard/drawer, put your “keep” items back- unless there is a better place for them. Try to keep organization and efficiency in mind when putting things away. You may want to hold back certain items to be transferred into a different location. Keep “like with like” when organizing your cupboards! I find it helpful to keep all the glasses in one place near the sink, the coffee cups in a cupboard near the coffee maker, knives in the knife drawer etc..
We’ve got one week dedicated to this task, so let’s break it down into doable portions. Perhaps, clean out one drawer or cupboard per meal time. Or devote one afternoon to the cupboards and drawers. Put on some happy music and lets get to it!
Tackling your pantry one shelf at a time, remove shelf contents and check expiration dates. Throw out the old/expired items and donate the ones that you won’t ever use. Wipe the shelf and place your items back, putting “like with like.” Clean out the cobwebs at the top of your pantry and sweep the floor. This task is another one that you can break into parts- adding to chores at a mealtime, do it while you’re baking something in the oven, or do it all at once in an afternoon.
Start right to left with your counter space, removing items and wiping the countertops. If your counters are cluttered, consider whether the item is better stored elsewhere and do something about it. Find a new home for the counter clutter.
Wipe your sink and faucets, making them shine. I prefer the powdered Bar Keeper’s Friend for removing stains and marks in the sinks. It’s the best cleaning product for that in my honest opinion. Make a new habit by cleaning the sink, faucets, and backsplash every time that you wash dishes.
The dishwasher can get gunky around its seals- which doesn’t take much to clean off, but it’s a disgusting job. Get up some gumption and grab the paper towels. Spray it down with a good cleaner, and let it soak a bit before wiping it all off.
All of these tasks can be done one part a time tacked on with meal chores, or by devoting part of a day to doing them. Work through them in a way that makes the most sense for you and your unique schedule.
The refrigerator is a job that can be easy if it’s cleaned frequently, or a big job if it’s been awhile. Just like we’ve been doing, clean one shelf at a time. Remove the items, disposing of the out-of-date items, clean the walls and shelf, then replace the items. Put “like with like” as you organize your refrigerator. Wipe the outside of the refrigerator. If you can, pull the refrigerator out from the wall to clean behind and under it.
Start by cleaning the outside of the stove top to bottom. I find it helpful to use a vacuum to suck up excess crumbs from the stovetop before scrubbing if it’s especially messy (yes, my stove gets that dirty- I’m human too!). For messes that have dried and hardened onto the stove, put water on it and let it soak for a bit before scrubbing. Reference the instructions in your oven manual for cleaning the interior.
Table, Chairs, & Bar stools
Top to bottom, give your table a good scrubbing. Then wipe down each chair and bar stool. If there are screws loose, tighten them. If a chair is broken, repair or throw it out before it causes someone to be injured.
The next step to a clean kitchen is to clean the walls and doors. You can use a long handled tool to dust, or perhaps you need to use a ladder and scrub with a damp cloth. It depends on how dirty your kitchen walls and doors are. Next, clean the door handles and light switches. One hack to make wall cleaning easier if you have young children, is to use high gloss paint when/if you paint your kitchen!
The window above the sink is usually dirty from water splatters. Even if you don’t wash any other windows this time, do the sink window. Scrub the tracks and interior parts of the window sash, then wash the glass inside and out. Wash the window screen either outdoors or in the shower. Wipe the window sill. Depending on how many windows you have, washing them all can be a big job. You might decide it’s best to take a half-day or weekend to tackle the windows. Alternatively, depending on your budget you could hire a window cleaning company to do your whole house once or twice a year.
To really spruce up the area, clean the lights in your kitchen and replace burnt out bulbs. Then, spend a few minutes sweeping cobwebs from the ceiling and corners of the room.
Sweep and mop the floors. If your floors are especially dirty, use the two bucket method. One bucket for soapy water and the other bucket for clean water. Rinse the dirty rag or mop in the clean water bucket and load up with soapy water for the next section of floor. When your clean water bucket gets dirty, dump it out and restart with clean water. This keeps your soapy bucket from getting dirty too soon and makes for a better cleaning of the floor.
You’ve got this!
By following these steps, you can successfully overhaul your kitchen and dining room. A clean and organized space makes for a better work environment in your kitchen and a more enjoyable dining experience!
To help you along with your kitchen overhaul, I’ve created a Kitchen and Dining Room Cleaning Checklist that you can find in the free resource library! You can find even more life changing cleaning and organization tips in my book “Home Management: Plain and Simple.” To get the book, click here.