Easter has passed, which marks the beginning of my annual Spring cleaning! Not to worry, I do clean more than just once a year (usually). Yes, it is time to get rid of those little dust bunnies collecting under the bed, behind the dresser, and in the corner. As well as the hand prints on the outside of the sliding glass door. We can say good-bye to the cobwebs, which have formed on the ceilings and in those unused corners of the home. And my favorite is, so long to the dust build up on the ceiling fans and base boards.
Okay, just fair warning you are about to get way too much information about my cleaning habits or lack there of.
Yes, it doesn’t matter where we live, the change in weather motivates me to do a seriously deep spring cleaning. I did want to share with you a little about my spring cleaning and the comparison of the USA vs Spain. Keep in mind it only compares the two homes we opted to live in. The USA home was triple the size of our home in Spain, so I am not speaking on behalf of the entire USA or Spain, just to two places we lived.
There are however, fewer choices of cleaning products and supplies in our rental in Spain. If you remember our post about our appliances in Spain, when we first moved. Oh and also how long those very same appliances lasted. I am sure you can assume our cleaning is ever so slightly different.
Cleaning the Windows
In this area there isn’t too much of a difference for me. I don’t like cleaning windows. In the USA we had 25 windows at our home. Yes, that is just crazy! The house appeared to be the standard “Five, Four, and a Door” from the front, but the back and sides were loaded too.
I would get my bottle of window cleaner and a big roll of paper towels and make my way around the inside of the house. I will fess up, I had window cleaner in each of our 4 bathrooms, so there was always a bottle near a mirror and the windows.
Luckily for us, we had windows which we could adjust and tilt in, so we could clean the outside of the window from inside the house. Believe me, I only did that about once a year. Our daily life we would usually have the windows closed, as we would go from heater to air conditioner. Each spring and fall in North Carolina would come with much pollen, so we often didn’t leave the windows open. Fortunately we adjusted to downsizing, before we moved to Spain.
In Spain, we just have 2 windows and 2 sliding glass doors. All of which are usually left open all day and night, from about April through November. It is warmer where we live in Spain and we need the fresh air and breeze to flow through, as we don’t have air conditioning. In the winter, we do still use both of our terraces, but loads of hand prints collect on the sliding doors.
I still clean the windows and doors in the same fashion, with a roll of paper towels and some window cleaner. That said our choices in cleaners are just a little more limited and sometimes I go all rustic and just break out the vinegar and water mixture. Call me crazy, but it works well. That is one thing about living in Spain, you tend to go back to some old-school basic methods sometimes, just due to limited availability of supplies.
Spring Cleaning Flooring
In the USA most of the house had carpet flooring, with the exclusion of wooden floors in the kitchen and dining areas. Keeping the floors clean was a fairly quick vacuum on the carpet and even on the wood floors too. It was pretty easy and painless, but it did need to be done once or twice a week.
In Spain, our floors are tile throughout the house and we don’t own a vacuum. It usually comes down to a daily morning sweep of the house. What drives me crazy about sweeping is that is is difficult to easily get behind and under things, like the bed or a dresser. It is a task to move things out of the way, as the rooms are much smaller here.
If I don’t move things and really clean behind, as soon as we open our sliding doors for the season, all of that dust will blow right out into the rest of the house. We get the most amazing sea breeze through the house with our windows and doors open, but it isn’t great when it is just blowing around dust from under the couch or on top of the ceiling fan.
Yes they do have vacuums in Spain, but our rental just didn’t come with one and there really isn’t much storage space to house one. We always knew our life was temporary in Spain, so we just didn’t invest in a vacuum. That is until now! We now own a tiny little shop vac and I love it! It is a Cevik PRO20X – Aspirador sólidos y líquidos. Of course this exact model isn’t likely available in the USA, but here are some small shop vacs in USA (affiliate link). It is the box in the upper right of the photo below. We actually took the picture, because the tiny little lawn mower was too cute.
We decided on a shop vac so we can easily clean the wet and dry with tile floors. We just set it up the other day and I couldn’t wait to clean. Alan was upstairs and could hear me squealing with delight “woo hoo! Yes!”, from the bedroom down stairs. Of course he has to yell down “What are you doing?” I am sure some crazy thoughts were going through his mind. I was so happy to get all of those little dust bunnies from under the bead and on the baseboards. Ah, it feels so good!
Spring cleaning of the Kitchen and Bathrooms – Comparison Of USA And Spain
Back in North Carolina we had a huge kitchen with white cabinets and loads of counter space. Every spring, I would take everything out of the cupboards and do a deep clean with Lysol, I like the pine smell. I am not sure why, but it would just smell clean. I would also wipe down the outside of the cabinets as well as all of the doors. This was quite the task and would usually be a full day job, as I mentioned the kitchen was pretty big.
As far as the bathrooms, we had 4 of them in the states, so I was lazy and had cleaning products available in each and every one of them. This made it easier for me to just clean on a whim, because that is how I roll sometimes. I would go to my local warehouse store and buy multiple bottles of brand named cleaners and just store everything in the cupboards under each bathroom sink. Spring cleaning didn’t apply too much to these rooms, as they were deep cleaned regularly.
These days in Spain, we have a small but efficient kitchen with one counter and a few cabinets. I actually clean all of these often, as it is small and it doesn’t take much time at all. That said, there is the one cabinet under the sink, which seems to collect anything and everything. This is where the spring cleaning kicks in and also where we store our cleaning products. We don’t have separate products for the bathroom versus the kitchen, we just use what we have and store it all in the one place. It is just on bottle of window cleaner and an all purpose cleaner as well. Oh and also one bottle of bleach.
When I started in on cleaning and reorganizing the kitchen cabinets, Anya walked by and just jumped in to help. Ha! I knew we had an organizer deep down behind the sassy front! You know how tweens are, if I would have asked for help it would have been a battle. Instead, she did it on her own and actually took over. Keep in mind there are only 3 cabinets to clean and organize, but she did a beautiful job.
We have 2 bathrooms in Spain and they both have a pedestal sink and there is no storage in the room at all. They have tile floors and of course we clean them regularly. Even though I clean them regularly with broom and mop, there is still a bit of white dust which collects in the corners. Now that I have a vacuum, I can do a little zap for the first layer, but the rest still needs to be done by hand. A mop just doesn’t cut it in the corners, down on hands and knees to scrub the corners.
I also do a bit more of a spring clean on the tile walls, the light fixtures and the shower curtain. I remove the shower curtain and give it a good soak in a bleach water mixture. I know I should probably do that a little more often, but as I said there is just something about Spring which motivates me.
Spring cleaning surfaces like ceiling fans and lamps
Of course, I am pretty good at letting the dust collect on top of the ceiling fans, lamp shades and light fixtures. Hopefully you do the same. In the USA these are things I would just zap with the vacuum hose as I was doing my regular weekly clean, so it didn’t build up so much. I had my handy dandy dust collecting wand and it was a quick and easy regular clean. We did have on high ceiling fan, which wasn’t cleaned quite as often.
In Spain, it seems we have more dust than we know what to do with. I think part of that is living on the sea and having that salt air, as there is always a fine white powdery dust around. A few weeks ago there was a bit of a sand storm that hit southern Spain, which blew over from Africa. I kid you not, it was a day or two of hazy brown visibility and dust on absolutely ever surface available. I recently found a little dust collecting wand at the store, so I am going to give that a try.
The past 2 weeks, we were dealing with the coating of spring pollen, which comes with serious hay fever for me. Anyway, not to bore you too much, but all of this just makes its way into the house and finds a resting spot. You see none of our windows or doors completely seal, so the wind just blows on through, all year long.
The other night we had a big wind storm and in the morning our foyer was covered with dirt, leaves and other tiny debris. Yep, our place just isn’t very weather proof or air tight. Everything just found its way into the home via the tiny little spaces under the door or around the windows. So, now is that is the perfect time for the spring cleaning.
All of this to say, after my spring cleaning I just love the feeling I have. It not only gives me a sense of accomplishment, but the dust isn’t weighing me down anymore! We have the beautiful blue sunny skies outside, the perfect temperature in the air, and fresh looking and scented home. Now if we could just keep it that way.
What motivates you for spring cleaning? I just share my not so good housekeeping habits with you, so share a few of yours with me.
Disclosure, some links withing this article are affiliate links. If you click on one of them and make a purchase, we will receive a very small commission. So go ahead and shop on Amazon from our links and help us fill up the piggy bank.