Dining In?: The Deep Clean Challenge Week 6, the Dining Room

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Welcome to Week 6 of The Deep Clean Challenge. Today we are going to conquer the dining room.

How does The Deep Clean Challenge Work?

Each week’s challenge is announced on our Facebook page each Wednesday morning. This gives you time to plan your strategy and get any tools or supplies you may not have on hand for this week’s project. When Saturday rolls around, you are ready to start. (If Saturday doesn’t work for you, move it to a day that does). We know about shift work.

So far, we have:

If you have been with us since the beginning, are you seeing progress? How does it feel?

Is the printable weekly chore schedule helping you to stay on track? Is that manageable for you?

To keep the language simple, we will refer to the area we are cleaning this week as the dining room. Please note that we understand that not every home has a specific space for eating. Sometimes it’s more of an idea of an area, such as when you live in a studio apartment or a home with an “open concept.”

Why are we cleaning the dining room?

The goal for today is to clean the space that contains your table and chairs. If you do not have a table and chairs, focus on the area where you consume most of your meals, whether your bed, desk, couch, coffee table, standing over the sink, or sitting in your car. Everyone does what they must, and you might as well eat in a place that is as pleasant as possible.

Life is what it is.

We don’t need any perceived guilt or shame when trying to eat—something we all have to do multiple times a day, every day.

Having a space to eat our food in peace matters. We can give ourselves that…to a point. We understand that other factors can intrude on mealtimes that aren’t peaceful. Jobs, kids, pets, other family members.,

We’re helping you control what you can.

What tools do we need to clean the dining room?

  • A vacuum with a soft bristle attachment and an edge tool if you have carpeting
  • Window cleaner and paper towels or newspaper
  • If you have wood furniture polish and an applicator (rag) or potentially paste wax
  • A stepladder or sturdy chair
  • A spare sheet
  • A screwdriver—maybe
  • Appropriate floor cleaner if you have tile or hardwood
  • Dilute degreaser
  • A mask -it’s another dusty one

What will be cleaned in the dining room?

We’re looking to get rid of any clutter, fan/light fixtures, the windows & coverings, walls, furniture, and floors.

How do we get started with this week’s challenge to clean the dining room?

Dining rooms can be a distraction minefield. They often have doom piles of mail, things to be filed, and items dumped on that large horizontal surface (most of us call it a table) instead of getting put away.

Putting those things away can cause us to lose track of our main task, cleaning the dining room. Getting caught up in figuring out how the paperwork needs to be handled can be distracting too. Before diving in, come up with a plan. Will you be dealing with these items during the cleaning process or at another time? Will you be doing a quick sort (trash, trash, keep) or keep it all to go through later?

There are no right or wrong answers. You need to know what you will do and how you will keep yourself on task after you get started. It may help to know that we will work on paperwork and your digital life (things like bills fall under that).

While planning your strategy, remember that you can set timers to keep you on task for periods and allow yourself a set amount of the challenge to focus on the STUFF before putting it away and cleaning. There’s always the rinse and repeat at the end to come back around and do another deep clean. Whatever you choose. You’ve got this. 🙂

Strategy chosen? Good. Do you have an accountability partner notified? Podcasts or music ready to go? Excellent.

How long should cleaning the dining room take?

Every week with this question. It depends. For the challenge, no more than two hours. Please put down your mops and dust rags and go outside and play. We really wish we could provide a specific answer. How high were the doom piles? Oh, you didn’t have any, and you have no knick-knacks and dust every day. It will take you very little time, indeed. For the rest of us, it might take a bit longer.

Let’s get started with cleaning the dining room.

Before we start our usual top to bottom, left to right, dry to wet routine, let’s go ahead and remove everything from the horizontal surfaces, using the strategy you created above.

We’ll wait.

Clean the fan and light fixture(s)

Start by spreading your sheet under the light fixture or fan, and then clean the fan and/or light fixture.

I love this video by Dr. Bertice Berry. She is a wonderful storyteller, and I think about this one every time I clean a fan or light fixture in my home.

Dust builds up slowly, and we don’t notice it slowly dimming the light in our home. Take the extra time today and when you are done, take a moment to appreciate the light.

Knock down cobwebs and clean the walls

Start with a quick dust and then look carefully. If you live in a home with only grown people, the walls might not need anything more. If, however, you have small children, you may need to address smudges and food spatters. If your walls are flat paint, be careful.

Clean curtains or window coverings

Will you be removing the curtains/drapes or just vacuuming? Whichever you choose, now is the time. Go ahead and wash the windows while you are here. Really get into the nooks and crannies, if you can.

Dust and polish any tall furniture

At this point in our cleaning adventure, we’re looking at china cabinets, shelving units, bookcases, etc. Give them a good dusting, and polish, if warranted. Work your way, from left to right around the room to keep yourself on track.

Clean the table and chairs

Cleaning a dining room table and chairs can get pretty involved. We have a post on how to clean a very grimy table and another on how to remove milk splatters. The soft bristle attachment on your vacuum will get most of the crumbs on most dining room chairs, canned air can get most of the rest and determination and gentle prodding with a toothpick can get the last bits. (Why do we insist on having things that are so obnoxious to clean?)

If you have microfiber covers on stools, that’s especially fun to clean.

Clean, dust, and polish low furniture

If you have any buffets or other short furniture in your dining room, now is the time to go ahead and give that a good once over.

You guessed it, it’s now time for everyone’s favorite part:

Baseboards and flooring

Work around the dining room, use the soft bristle attachment of your vacuum and swap that out with the crevice tool if your room is carpeted to give the baseboards a good once over. If the baseboards are really grimy, the degreaser will work, as will dilute powdered Tide (assuming the baseboards are white; if the dining room baseboards are wood, stick to the degreaser).

Once your baseboards are done, it is time to clean the flooring, according to the material you have. If it is carpeting, vacuum it thoroughly. Give it a good thorough mopping if you have wood, tile or linoleum. Just remember to only use a damp mop on the hardwood.

Put away all of your tools and celebrate another job well done.

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