Spring cleaning: day ten

Today’s the last day of the Spring Cleaning Party. Can you believe it? Are you excited about the progress made in your home? Are you so wiped out you want to crawl into a corner in the fetal position?

If you’re like me today, you’re feeling some of both. Much like a race, we need to sprint when we see the finish line. And the finish line is today – so let’s get at it, and end the job of cleaning our home well.

You’ve decluttered, cleaned, and organized your:

  • living room
  • kitchen
  • bathrooms
  • kids’ rooms, and
  • master bedroom

What’s left? Today, you’re going to finish with the front entry, coat closet, and hallway. Hopefully, this won’t take you too long, and you can end the day by either finishing up previous tasks from the past two weeks, or ending the party early in the day and enjoying a glass of iced tea and an early start to your weekend.

Mandi has some great tips for the front entry, shoes, and seasonal gear over at Organizing Your Way.  Be sure to read her ideas for more inspiration!

The front entry might not seem like a big deal, but it’s the first area guests and your family sees when they arrive. It’s a great opportunity to create a welcoming, hospitable spirit, and it’s a useful space for collecting those necessities you need for heading into the world.

This area tends toward a downward spiral of disorganization – how often do you look for your car keys, your cell phone, and your sunglasses? If you’ve got a specific place for them, it shouldn’t take you any time. The front entry is a great place for this.

Create a home for those things you want to find easily, and make sure there’s room for jackets, backpacks, and purses. And if you’re a shoes-off family like us, make sure there’s plenty of room for guests to remove them.

Our Home

Our front entrance is home to a cabinet for our shoes, a shoe shelf for guests’ shoes, and a simple rack for jackets and bags.

front entry

At the top, we’ve got two boxes for outdoor gear – one for winter supplies, one for summer. It’s handy to pull out the kite, frisbee, and picnic blanket as we’re heading out the door.

seasonal gear

At the top of the shoe cabinet, we’ve got a “junk drawer,” kept pretty organized with a simple drawer divider:

front entry drawer

We house our keys, wallets, sunglasses, coupons, and restaurant handi-wipe packets. We’ve also got a slot to toss receipts from our wallets when we enter the house, so that when I need to update our family’s account records (I do this weekly), I know exactly where all the week’s receipts are. When I’ve entered them, I marked them as such, and store them in a drawer on my desk until the end of the month.

balconyWe rent in an urban high rise apartment, so there’s absolutely nothing I can do about our front door and the outside front entrance. Since I had nothing to do here, I focused on our garden balcony. This sweet spot has become our backyard to us, and we love spending time here. We eat meals at this table from about April through October.

Until recently, this balcony served as a catch-all for random supplies – it had our dryer, clothing rack, miscellaneous barbecue gear, and even our car seats when they weren’t being used (we don’t have a car, so we only use car seats a few times a year).


balconyBut a few weeks ago, we decided to separate utility from relaxation, and moved the dryer, drying rack, and other storage-friendly items on our back balcony, adjacent to the kids’ bedroom. That area now serves as a garage of sorts – it’s strictly utilitarian.

Our garden balcony is home to our small but well-loved garden, our barbecue, and a few toys. That’s it. And it’s so peaceful. I’m out here by myself every morning by 6:30, coffee and journal in hand. It’s one of my favorite places at home.

Changing Your Home’s Purpose by Changing Your Perspective

I hope you’ve had some time to reflect on the value of your home the past two weeks. Our homes are the haven in this stressful world, the place where our children grow, and the rock where our family’s culture is created.

It’s important to keep it clutter-free. You’ll sleep better, you’ll enjoy being there more, and each room will serve its purpose.

It gets easier to spring clean your home each year you do it. If you choose to re-engage in this process next spring, it’ll be easier than it was this year. So long as you actually adopt this philosophy as to how your home operates, it will be easy to upkeep:

“Have nothing in your home that you do not know to be useful or believe to be useful.” -William Morris

I love what Steady Mom said in the comments section earlier this week:

“I really lost my cleaning mojo yesterday as well. My three kiddos kept interrupting and I was getting really irritated with them. I finally decided I needed to let the cleaning go for the day. The idea is that spring cleaning should BLESS my family, but if it ends up making me frustrated and angry with them – that goes against the point.”

She’s absolutely right. Ultimately, the point of spring cleaning our homes is for our family. We want to bless them. We want our home management to be a gift to them, one we can be proud of. Keep your family the focus as you glorify God with your stewardship at home, and you’ll be just fine.

For those of you still working, keep at it! Don’t fade out just because I’ve finished. Continue to post links to your progress posts – head here for all the links to each post here (along with a nifty merit badge once you finish the job). Stay encouraged, and finish strong.

Thanks for taking this journey with me. I look forward to seeing your results today!  Next week I’m going to take a little time off, so I’ve got some great guest posts and the weekly column lined up for you.

What’s your favorite spot in your home?

Tsh Oxenreider

Tsh is the founder of this blog and just finished traveling around the world with her husband and 3 kids. Her latest book is Notes From a Blue Bike, and believes a passport is one of the world's greatest textbooks.

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  1. My favourite spot in my home is the couch in the living room.
    Love your balcony..looks so inviting.

    Dominique´s last blog post…WAHM Giveaway- We have a winner

  2. Favorite spot in my home is the front room because it is uncluttered and looks nice…however if truth be told…I almost never use it. I almost always end up in the family room, it’s just more comfortable.

    I liked the tip about putting receipts in specific spot as soon as you walk in and then reviewing once a week. I think this would help us with out budget as well.

    Thanks for a great post (I’m off too read the other days in the Spring Cleaning list that I missed.)

    Gavin´s last blog post…THE 10 STEPS TO FINDING THE TREASURES YOU SEEK IN LIFE (with Map)

  3. Thanks, Tsh, for all your spring cleaning help! I hope maybe you’ll decide to do this again next year – it was easy to get excited about it knowing that so many others were doing the same.

    I love your outdoor balcony – makes me miss my traveling days. But our house here is my DREAM home. My favorite part? That’s a tough one to decide. I think the living room. It is relaxing and has a simple beauty. And it’s where the five of us read, love, and learn together.

    Does life get any better?!

    steadymom.com´s last blog post…Steady Thought for the Day

  4. I am typing this looking at my neat and tidy entryway with my beloved shoe rack. My family has SO many shoes (it’s like I live in a house of ocotopuses!) and they walk in the front door, take two steps, step out of their shoes and keep walking. So the last person in that night nearly breaks their neck on the shoes-land-mine field in front of the door. Solution: shoe rack. It doesn’t take up much room and each family member is responsible for putting their shoes up. So far so good.

  5. My favorite spot in my home is my living room. My daughter can play there while I sit and relax with a magazine and a glass of iced tea. Bliss!

    I still have more cleaning to do, but I am happy with the progress I’ve made so far and plan to continue. I didn’t get any cleaning done yesterday, but I did do a wrap up post here. Thanks for motivating me to get cleaning. And my hubby sends his thanks too.

  6. Tsh, this has been a wonderful experience for me as a blogger, as a homemaker, and as an organizer. I can’t thank you enough. It has been a challenging two weeks, but I sure appreciate the hold-you-to-it and personal inspiration you provided each day.
    My most favorite place in my home now, is my downstairs bathroom. I just did a Feng Shui redecorating project this week and I just love the results! You can see my before and after pics here.
    As for today, you can see my entryway pic here. I like my “secret” trunk that hides away extra items we use infrequently. It is also great for setting children on top of to tie their shoes.
    Thank you everyone for your wonderful spring cleaning support! Happy organizing this weekend! – Abbie

  7. Your quote: Changing Your Home’s Purpose by Changing Your Perspective – really hit home for me. I’m loving our new place, regardless of the size difference and other small issues. We can make anything beautiful, with time and motivation.

    I wrote a bit about my fav spot at home here:


    Happy Friday all!

    Angie @ The Creative Mama´s last blog post…Nourishing the gift of friendship.

  8. My favorite spot in our home is a gently used Pottery Barn Manhattan Leather chair and ottoman that we got for a great deal off of Craigslist. We put it in our bedroom, which has been designated as a “restful haven” zone, and I love sitting in it to read or journal. From the chair, I can look out the window from our 3rd story apartment, and only see houses dotting the hills nearby (we live in a rough urban neighborhood, so if you stood up and looked out that window, you’d also see the other parts of our neighborhood that aren’t so appealing).

    • Hi Congrats on your Pottery Barn Manhattan leather chair and ottoman. Which color is it? I love that chair! I just got two in Hazelnut off Craigslist. There are some scracthes. But, I think I think I did pretty good for $350 each. Do you know what would help cover scratches on these? 🙂

  9. Rebekah says:

    Thank you for hosting this great event to bless our families. I got very sick during the 10 days, but when I felt better, I just attacked a shelf or a drawer as I worked on catching up with regular responsibilities. Some rooms are completed, and some aren’t, but I am at peace remembering your words to not be perfectionistic and that this method of cleaning is for normal people. I plan to reboot the 10 day cycle and start again.
    Most importantly, you have given me a plan of attack. I haven’t emptied out areas to declutter before. This method really helps give perspective, objectivity and motivation to see ALL of the possessions out at once. It also helps me examine the decision making process when bringing things into my home, having just faced the sea of what I own.
    So, thank you for all of your hard work on our behalf. You have influenced a lot of moms and their families. You are bringing more joy and peace to the world one home at a time. I hope you will stand back and look at your home, taking joy in the work of your hands and sense God’s pleasure today.

  10. Hi, just a note to let you know I’ve mentioned your blog and Spring Cleaning project in today’s MaidenShade Matters’ blog-offering, which is on Garage Sales. It just was the most logical next step IMHO – check it out at MaidenShade.wordpress.com.


  11. Thanks for hosting this Spring Cleaning Party! It’s been a huge motivation to know that at the end of the day I would be posting about my progress. It has made me accountable for each day’s work!

    I have noticed (even through this week of sick children) that the atmosphere in my home has been calmer with an easier daily clean-up!

    My favorite spot in my home is my kitchen! Connected to the dining room, it’s an open space where the girls and my husband gather to talk and enjoy our meals!

    Olivia @ Moomama´s last blog post…Day 9 – The Master Bedroom

  12. shannah says:

    Thank you for hosting the Spring Cleaning Party! Thank you for keeping it simple and focused. It is what motivated me to even start! I am feeling so freed by letting go of some of our “stuff”! This week was a really busy week and I admit i lost my steam on the second day of kids rooms. The rest of our home looks so good though that I am still feeling very motivated to get the rest of the rooms done. It will have to wait till next week though, the weather is going to be GORGEOUS this weekend and we are going to get out and enjoy it!
    Thanks Again!

  13. My favorite spot is in our recliner in the front room….I can see out the front window and door to watch my children play int he front yard!

    Andrea P.´s last blog post…Life vs. Good Intentions

  14. I got side tracked today from Day 10. I’m going to do some cleaning this afternoon and the other half tomorrow. So I will put a link to show my pics later.

    Tsh, this has been an incredible experience. I’m so glad you did this an I was able to be apart of it. Knowing that you have a group of people doing the same thing with you and they are trudging through this just like you are makes you feel good. It makes me feel strong.

    The best part about this is I can now have people over at any time an know that I don’t have to rush around picking up clutter and throw it behind a door. I can proudly leave my doors open and say “Go ahead take a peak in it’s clean.” I hope you do this again next year.

  15. My favorite spot is in our “entertainment” room….this is our main play area with my son, and also a place where we spend time as a couple watching movies and relaxing.

    I need to get the entry area in order–love how you keep your wallets and keys in a drawer–in the same place. My keys always seem to disappear!

  16. Unfortuantely, I only joined in one day and haven’t really followed along. Lots happening and then my Grandpa ended up in the hospita. I have the e-book though and hope that in the coming weeks I can go through it.
    Sorry to have missed hte party…it’s always more fun as a group!

  17. All done. Amen.

    I don’t have a favourite spot in this house, other than my computer corner that keeps me in touch with the english speaking world I crave so much.

    Thanks for hosting.

  18. Thank you so much for guiding us through this process. Even though I did not keep up to speed with you each day, I feel like you have broken down the process into one which I will be able to use for years to come. I cannot express to you the ways this site has blessed me!! Thank you for this ministry.

    tacy´s last blog post…A Meal Plan for the Month of May

  19. I Did it! I’m Done! It’s been fun everyone. Thanks again Tsh!


  20. Hi Simple Mom,
    Just wanted to let you know that you received an award today on my site.
    I received it last week from: http://iamstillstandingafterallthistime.blogspot.com/
    Check it out: http://www.frombottle2box.com

    Amy´s last blog post…A Lovely Blog Award

  21. I thought I was pretty organized for this day, but I was able to declutter a ton! Plus, I incorporated your idea of keeping the kids’ art supplies at their level for them to create with whenever they want. (they still don’t know they’re there, so I need to explain which items need permission before use…like GLUE!)

    I still haven’t done Day 9, but Day 10 is done!

  22. here it is:
    i don’t have a favorite room in the house but our condo that we are moving back i have a favorite patio. i love spending time outside.

  23. I have been so busy preparing for my sister coming that i haven’t been able to keep up with all the spring cleaning!! I have been accomplishing big tasks however, so I feel really good about that. Hope to get the rest done soon.

    Onna@toddlercraft´s last blog post…Crab Artwork

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