I have a confession to make: I am a spreadsheet addict. Need a budget? Spreadsheet. Weighing pros and cons of something? Spreadsheet. To-do list? Spreadsheet. Workout plan, packing list, or Christmas shopping list? Yep, there’s a spreadsheet for those on my computer, too. So it was no surprise to my loved ones that this weekend I tackled spring cleaning with yet another spreadsheet.
There’s a column for each room of the house, complete with its own detailed list of items to clean. Yes, it’s complete organization overkill. It’s also how I remind myself what I’ve already cleaned, and what will probably need to be cleaned multiple times before I’m done with all of it, such as the vacuuming, with an estimate based on current completion rate of how many times that will have to happen – the slower I clean, the longer it will take, because the once-a-week items drag me down. See, math is useful in everyday life.
Between my current work schedule and my husband’s current homework load, and our toddler’s idea of ‘helping‘, I fully expect my spring cleaning to take the bulk of spring (and it’s actually not even spring yet!). This will also be my most detailed non-moving cleaning in about a decade, since this is the longest we have ever lived in one place without moving/deploying. Our last three homes we were in for fifteen months, twelve months, and ten months, respectively. Before that, we were both deployed and our place sat empty for the last year except for someone checking on it occasionally. And before that I lived alone in an apartment that never got worse than dusty because I was so rarely there.
So the once-a-year type things (pulling out the refrigerator to clean behind it, dusting the tops of kitchen cabinets, etc.) just never really got done except when moving – and that, of course, is when it’s easy to clean, because there’s nothing left to work around or clean behind.
My goal is to be done with the super-deep-cleaning by the end of April. And yes, I realize by the time I’m actually done I will probably just have to start over. But for now, I have this awesome spreadsheet. One that I can also re-use for the next round of cleaningfrenzy. It automatically calculates number of total items, number of items completed, perfect complete, and items to go. There’s not much more satisfying to a spreadsheet addict than getting to see how much I have completed of a checklist.
This weekend I finished 24 of 193 items, or 12.4% of my list. If I were really being a stickler about it, I would weight the items by how long they typically take to complete, but I figure the time thing will average out so as long as I don’t do all ‘easy’ things each weekend, I should be make my April goal. Also, there’s a limit to just how crazy I will get with a spreadsheet. No, really, I have limits! I can stop!
And that, folks, is how an incredibly dorky OCD engineer does spring cleaning. Feel free to judge. I know how bad it is. But I’m also really looking forward to how clean my house will be about five weeks from now! Except for the part about toddler and pets living here, which renders all cleaning essentially meaningless anyway…