The last two days have brought a flurry of cleaning over here at Shiny Red Houses. It was becoming Squalid Red Houses and needed a deep down clean.
Even David got in on the act.
He's usually too busy to get involved in deep cleaning, but I suckered him in at just the right moment. I started by asking him to wipe down the counter.
David is incapable of just wiping down the counter. He removes everything first and then wipes it down. Once he was moving the coffee maker I knew he was on a roll so I mentioned that the refrigerator really needed a complete scrub down.
Reader, he completely emptied it, removed all the shelves and cleaned the entire thing.
It was hot.
Married women, you understand.
Today the cleaning continued. I cleaned underneath the furniture upstairs, wiped down the baseboards and scrubbed down the bathroom.
I also addressed something that has been driving me a little nutty for the last month. Our homeschooling supplies lacked cohesion. I knew that we had books, puzzles and games that would be appropriate for our lessons, but none of them were in the same place. I needed to pull them all together and organize them by subject.
I think I have mentioned that our house is small. 1,400 square feet of cozy. Three bedrooms, two bathrooms, kitchen, dining room and living room. We have one completely terrifying basement with damp rock walls and a cramped attic which is part playroom and part storage. The closets are tiny and we only have a few of them.
It's a great house, but we have to get very creative with the way we use our space. Alexandra Stoddard's wonderful book Creating a Beautiful Home has been an inspiration to me as I try to find new ways to make my home meet our family's needs. She talks a lot about making a home that it both beautiful and practical and this ideal has inspired my own design aesthetic for years.
I was thinking about this as I roamed the house trying to imagine where I could squeeze in a few bookshelves for our homeschooling materials. I considered downstairs, but we do our work upstairs. It's far more practical to have the items we are going to be using close by. I considered my own room, but really couldn't think of a way to add more books without the room becoming intolerably cramped.
That's when I thought of the hallway and remembered a pair of bookshelves that we've had for about ten years, but which have been in the basement for the last five holding 47 cans of spray paint.
I did some quick measuring and got to work emptying the shelves. Up two flights of stairs they came and into the hallway they went.
After cleaning five years of basement grime off of them I got to work collecting the different books and materials from around the house.
That was without a doubt the most fun part! I created a history shelf for all of our Egypt books and pioneer books. Another shelf holds all of the life science books and another holds the physical science books. Each girl has a shelf with their workbooks and textbooks. Another shelf holds reference books and one holds my supplies. We even have a shelf devoted to the puzzles and games which will reinforce our studies.
I love how the books aren't all crammed together. It's easy to see exactly what is on each shelf.
On the opposite wall I put up a great big map of the United States. I need to get a world map too so I don't embarrass myself when the kids ask where Bulgaria is.
Did you know that dog washing is an important part of our curriculum?
It's such a lovely feeling knowing that the house is clean. Even the dogs smell great!
The only bad news is that my basement is back to being a mess. I need to get down there and start weeding through all 157 pitchers and get rid of some.
I am totally keeping my spray paint though.
Progress not perfection.