To sleep perchance to dream.
Just not yet. We’ve got work to do…
Welcome to Week 3 of The Deep Clean Challenge. So far, we have cleaned up the kitchen and done a clutter clearing challenge. Each week we are tackling a different area of the home to give your home a solid reset without spending all day on any one project. Then by using the chore schedule (or your own), your home can stay functional and enjoyable without too much ongoing effort. But, you can always sign up for a rinse and repeat at the end of this challenge if you need a fresh start.
Life happens, then we clean up.
The bedroom can be an incredibly challenging room, even more so for those who are neurodivergent. To help, we’ve added several different strategies to the end of the article, beyond our usual suggestions of accountability, body doubling, and using a timer and breaks. Remember, neurodivergencies are on a spectrum, and not all strategies are appropriate for every individual. We all have to find the approach that works for us. Finally, remember that what matters most is that the room is hygienic. Clutter only matters if it bothers the people who occupy the space. If you share the room, a compromise is necessary.
Why are we cleaning the bedroom this week?
We started the Deep Clean Challenge with an overall clutter clear for a quick, visual win. Next, we moved to the kitchen to make our day-to-day lives more pleasant. Now, we move on to the bedroom because most people spend around a third of their time in this room.
The only other place you may spend this much time is your job if you work outside of the home. Here at Home-Ec101, we’ve been remote from the start. Heather currently works from the “spare bedroom/office” and even wrote Home-Ec 101: Skills for Everyday Living from the master closet of her old house.
Since we spend so much time in the bedroom, let’s freshen it up a bit, shake out the cobwebs and invite in some fresh air* and sunlight. This may not be the best idea if the trees are busy doing their thing and getting their pollen everywhere. Your mileage may vary based on your locale. Exclusions and limitations apply.
Insomniacs, we do hear you. Your haunts are coming soon. However, next week, we are headed into the bathroom; please don’t think that’s what we were implying.
What will be cleaned in the bedroom?
How far you get down the list will depend on the state of the room at the start. The key is to remember that the challenge is not meant to be an all-day activity. There’s a time limit of two hours of active labor. With the washer and dryer playing an essential role in this week’s challenge, exact timing may be tricky.
- Fan/light fixture
- Exercise Equipment
- Under the bed
What is our goal in cleaning the bedroom?
While we’re not therapists, and we don’t play them on TV, we grew up with different backgrounds and know that there’s a lot of stuff that can get wrapped up in the state of your bedroom. We’ve lived in many different circumstances over the years, including without a bedroom at all.
We are here to help you get your room to a functional state for you. Clean—all dishes removed, laundry dealt with—ideally stored elsewhere, but if it must remain in the room, sorted to be dealt with— and the bed ready for your next sleep.
There’s no judgment and no shame.
There’s enough of that in life without anyone else adding to it.
What tools and cleaning supplies do we need to clean the bedroom?
This list is written with the many materials and starting states that may show up in a bedroom. Not all bedrooms have all materials. You will not need all of these supplies. Also, keep your expectations in line. If your room is starting at teenage disaster level, which can also be thought of as stressed out new parent, depressive episode, or burnout, don’t expect to get to cleaning the baseboards this round.
Who looks at your baseboards, anyway? (If anyone does, hand them a rag and a bucket and tell them to knock themselves out. Then, show them the door because you still don’t need that kind of negativity in your life. At least now you have clean baseboards and less judgment.)
- garbage bags
- bus tubs/bins
- rubber gloves
- glass cleaner
- paper towels
- soft bristle attachment
- foxtail or soft bristle brush
- broom and dustpan
With all of their nooks, crannies, and soft materials, bedrooms tend to collect dust. Cleaning stirs up that dust. So, if you have allergies and you wear a mask while cleaning, you can save yourself an afternoon or evening of misery. Go ahead, channel your inner Retta and treat yourself.
How do we get started with this week’s challenge to clean the bedroom?
Have you texted or called your accountability friend?
Are your supplies ready to go?
Music or podcasts loaded?
Excellent, there’s not anything left to do but read through and get started.
How long should cleaning the bedroom take?
Like other cleaning challenges, it depends.
We don’t ever want these deep cleaning challenges to take more than two hours. No one wants to give up their day off to clean all day.
Do what you can, if your room is starting off from a challenging place, focus on clearing out the dishes, trash and laundry first. Your next focus will be to get your bed ready for bedtime.
Your next round can be dust and grime-focused.
Let’s Clean that Bedroom!
Have allergies? Grab that mask. (Wear it even if you won’t be dusting today, simply moving things around stirs up dust.)
Get your laundry hamper, your trash bag, and your bins or bags you’ll be using to tote items to their new homes and get them ready.
To start we do a clear-out of everything that doesn’t belong: trash, dishes, laundry, out-of-place objects
Next, we will start the cleaning process: Top to bottom, left to right, dry to wet. (You are moving dirt down and out and not giving it a place to stick to on its way.)
Is there a ceiling fan? Switch it off.
While it is slowing, make a decision.
Will you be washing the bedspread, duvet covering or comforter? No? Remove it from the bed and put it in the hallway or closet for a moment and shut the door. Spread the top sheet over the entire bed. This is your dust-catcher, leave it in place until we’re done with the dusty stuff.
Clean the fan.
Start with the blades and be impressed by the dust caterpillars you create. Check to make sure the fan is rotating in the correct direction for the season where you live. If it is currently heading into the warmer season, the blades should be spinning counter-clockwise.
Don’t forget to clean the light fixture portion of the ceiling fan.
Clean the overhead light fixture.
Now, while that dust settles, take a look at the corners of the room. Cobwebs? Knock them down, gently. You don’t want to add wall repair to your to-do list.
Clean the windows and window coverings.
If you have curtains or drapes, are they washable, and will they be washed today? If not, vacuum them using the soft bristle attachment. If you do not have a soft bristle attachment, use a clean, soft-bristled brush like a foxtail to gently brush the dust and cobwebs downward toward the floor.
You can use the same technique to clean your mini blinds. If your blinds have been very neglected, give them a once-over today and on the next round of The Deep Clean Challenge give them a thorough cleaning. You will have more time.
Do not wash the windows, yet.
We’re going to pause the top-down for a moment and switch to horizontal.
Clean shelves, dresser(s) and nightstand(s)
We already cleared these of the clutter and trash in the opening portion of the show, so these should be a quick wipe down to dust and straighten.
Clean any light fixtures that are not overhead.
Some experts claim that keeping electronics out of the bedroom is key to a good night’s sleep. That may not be practical in shared living spaces. Set a reminder to learn how to set up do not disturb hours—with those emergency exceptions, we see you, fellow anxiety friends. Use cord minders or even zip ties to keep your nightstand from staying a tangled nightmare. Heather likes these, but 3M also has a Command version that is clear.
Clean chairs and exercise equipment.
Grab the vacuum and get to it for any upholstered furniture. Wipe down hard furniture and exercise equipment.
Strip the bed.
You knew this was coming.
Strip it all the way down to the mattress.
Wipe down the headboard and footboard if you have one. Rotate the mattress.
If the mattress is not in an allergy barrier and you do not plan on putting it in one today, give it a good vacuum.
How to rotate a mattress.
Traditional style mattresses get rotated to keep the wear even. Think of it like rotating tires on a car. Each season you will shift the mattress through a pattern. The first turn is to just rotate it 90 degrees, so the head is now at the foot. Three months later, you flip the mattress so the top is now the bottom. Three months after that, rotate it so the head is the foot, and then in three months, you flip once more. It’s not perfect, but it helps extend its life by changing the stress points regularly.
Zip it into your new allergy barrier and replace the mattress pad. (If it is in the wash, just hold off on this part until it is ready.)
Are your sheets clean and ready? Replace them.
Pillows, toss them in the dryer to fluff them up a bit if you would like (Check the care tag, first!) Zip them into their allergy barriers and add your pillowcases.
Make the bed.
Since today is a special deep cleaning, make your room, even more, inviting with a special scent, if you like/tolerate scents. Lisa loves the Calm app’s lavender spray. Heather just loves the Calm app in general. Make the bed well, so it’s extra enjoyable to slide into this evening.
Vacuum or sweep
This is a thorough vacuuming or sweeping, not the usual just the middles. Get into the corners and under everything. Use the crevice tool and get along the baseboards and behind the curtains.
Clean the walls.
If anyone smokes in the home, a dilute degreaser will make this much easier. Nicotine is very sticky and creates a yellow, dingy film. Please don’t forget to wear gloves, as degreasers will dry out your hands, which we have done enough damage to the last couple of years.
Do not scrub and do not get the walls really wet. In many cases, bedrooms are painted in flat, matte, or eggshell finishes which aren’t meant to be scrubbed. Wring out your cloth and try to be consistent with your approach to avoid clean patches and streaks. Work from top to bottom and left to right.
Do a quick lap around the room to get the switchplates, and check the doors and door jams for fingerprints and smudges at foot, waist, and shoulder heights.
Wash the windows.
It’s time to let the light in. If you have made it this far and still have time left, go ahead and get all those nooks and crannies while you are at it.
Put your cleaning stuff away. You’re all done.
Now, you deserve a reward. What’s something you love that you can do in this room? Right now to enjoy it, while it’s in this state.
Tools, tips, and resources for accessibility and success are simply that. If they help you accomplish your goals of making your home and life more functional then they have done their job. If a role of painter’s tape makes life better, use the painter’s tape.
One of the challenging aspects of neurodiversity can be issues in the area of executive function. This relates to anything that has to do with time management, figuring out which tasks need to be prioritized etc. When cleaning a room, this can look like cleaning down the rabbit trail or becoming overwhelmed and not doing anything at all.
Managing executive function issues can be challenging and it may take many experiments to find the strategy that works best for your situation.
Break the room down into tiny, manageable tasks. Much smaller than what is outlined in this article. Please let us know if you would like a detailed breakdown printable. We will create and send one if there is a demand. It will need to be several pages long to account for different bedroom situations.
Dividing a room into 2′ or 3′ squares with string or painter’s tape can make a room much more manageable than trying to take in a whole space. Grid out the room in a way that makes sense. (Clear anything on the bed onto the floor, try to use the bed only for sleeping and other indoor sports).
Does the room have a lot of “doom piles” or “doom boxes”? This isn’t a bad thing. This means that the stuff is already partially handled, it just needs to be distributed. Only tackle one doom pile or box at a time. Take a break between or instead of trying to tackle the entire bedroom today, just do one pile today. Every pile conquered is a win, we all get to set our own pace. That’s one of the best parts about being an adult, in our own space. We get to set the rules.
If there is a habit of bringing dishes into the bedroom. Try having a bus bin in the room and placing the dishes in that instead of on other surfaces. This is easier to remove from the room, keeps dishes in one place, and can make carrying less difficult.
Finally, check out Behavioral Activation: