019 – Spring Cleaning: It’s Time

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Episode Summary

Spring is a season of rejuvenation and renewal, so why not re-energize by giving your studio a good spring cleaning and physical overhaul? We’re not talking about your everyday dusting and sweeping here, people. It’s time to go deep. Deep cleaning that is.


Happy Spring to everyone living in the Northern Hemisphere! While the season officially turned over almost two months ago. It’s been fighting to break through ever since. Here in Indiana it’s been a late, wet and cold Spring and I am so over it.

In it’s usual personality, Spring, likes to tease. We had one absolutely gorgeous 70 degree Saturday back in mid March and another in April and that’s about it. If it’s not raining, it’s been windy.

A couple of weeks ago we had the most glorious beautiful Saturday Spring weather. We pressured washed the house, pulled out outdoor furniture, cleaned a few windows on the porch, and more. It was a physically laborious day but sometimes a good hard day of physical labor – especially outdoors – is the perfect soul reset. For more on that, checkout last weeks episode called “Grounded: Mental and Emotional Resets.”

Spring is a season of rejuvenation and renewal so why not re-energize by giving your studio a good spring cleaning and physical overhaul. In todays episode we’re going to have a little chat on how to Spring clean your studio. I mean, when is the last time you really did a thorough overhaul of your physical space? Huh? We’re not talking about your everyday dusting and sweeping here, people. It’s time to go deep. Deep cleaning, that is.

Welcome to the Piano Pantry Podcast where together we live life as independent music teachers. I’m your host, Amy Chaplin. In this space we talk about all things teacher-life related from organizing our studios to getting dinner on the table and all that comes between. You’ll get loads of easily-actionable tips on organizing and managing your studio while balancing life and home.

Cleaning is a chore we can think about on three different levels. The first level is not even so much cleaning as simply tidying. This is something that we should strive to do every day whether it’s straightening up our teaching area around the piano at the end of the day, resetting the living room, or simply doing the day’s dishes. These are tasks that, if we don’t keep up on them on a daily basis, can quickly spiral into a bigger mess.

The next level of cleaning is your actual everyday cleaning – well, not so much every day but just your regulars like cleaning the bathroom, running the sweeper or dusting. Some of this we might do weekly, some every couple of weeks and some tasks once a month.

The third level of cleaning and the one we’re chatting about today isn’t just about cleaning toilet bowls, running the sweeper, and dusting your desk. It’s about rolling up your sleeves and going into those cracks, corners, and places you don’t normally see or even think about cleaning on any kind of a regular basis.

Before we go any further I have two disclaimers or really, admissions. First of all, I don’t mind cleaning. Growing up, my mom spent years cleaning houses for income and we would often go with her to help. It’s one of those things in life that we might fight against, but, when it comes down to it, when we just get it done, it can produce pleasing and joyful results. Hey – kind of like practice! LOL I love how easy it is to make analogies.

Now, I realize not everyone may feel this way and I get it, I really do. That’s fine. Unfortunately, it’s something that has to be done eventually so if there’s any way you conjure up the ability to find joy in the simple life task, then I would encourage you to dig deep into your soul for that.

The second admission is that after years of feeling guilt that I should be able to do it all myself, we finally took the plunge and hired out our day to day cleaning. Best decision ever. I still do a lot of day to day stuff myself – like giving our kitchen and great room floors a once over with the dry mop every morning – as well as the deep cleaning. It’s a nice way to kind of “stay touch” with our homes without being the one to ensure the carpet gets swept or toilets cleaned once a week. It’s a tax write off for the studio space and an expense well worth it.

If that is a step you’ve been pondering but won’t give yourself permission to go ahead, I would encourage you to stop hem-hawing around and just do it. What’s the worst that could happen?

Alright, let’s get into some nitty gritty here. I want you to close your eyes and take yourself on a journey. Imagine you’re a student. What is the path they come into contact with every day as they enter your space? The reason this exercise is important is I think we often forget about areas of our studios such as the outside space – whether it be your front porch, a side entry door, or storefront windows. When is the last time you wiped down the front door? Please know that I’m not asking this question for anyone to feel shame, it’s simply about gaining awareness of areas we may not actually come into contact with OURSELVES every day.

If your studio is in your home and you and your family enter through the garage into your kitchen, you may not even step foot outside your own front door that often. If you’re able to do so right now now, in this moment, I want you to go to the outside space where your studio families enter and look around. What do you notice? Are there more dust and cobwebs in the the corner than you realized? Maybe your porch rug is more worn out than you remembered or the flower pot tipped over and you didn’t know it. If you’re in a commercial space, take note of how clean the window front is…what do people see from the outside? Is it welcoming?

Think about how many people come through the door of your studio every day – especially if you have a commercial space – There are a lot of bodies walking through there and touching that door. It’s time to wipe down the entire front door inside and out with hot soapy water including the door frame. Next, clean any windows – both inside and out that are easily visible from your studio or entry door.

Here’s one you may not have thought of – how about the light fixtures? I cleaned our porch ceiling lights recently and it took all of 10 minutes to take the cover down, rinse out the bugs, wipe down the inside and ceiling area around it and put it back. You’ll be surprised at how fresh the porch will feel with these extra deep cleaning steps!

Next, let’s move into your studio entry area. Perhaps you have an actual waiting area where families can sit. Wipe down the chairs they sit on – upside down and all around – legs, underneath and all. If they’re covered in upholstery – sweep it. Are there any stains that need treated?

In general, when cleaning, it’s good to think about moving from the top down. It’s very easy to consider what’s right in front of our face or underneath our feet but don’t forget to look up. You might need to clean some light figures, a ceiling fan, or replace some light bulbs. They’re not always easy to see, but cobwebs can creep into wall corners and around the tops of ceilings. Take a duster with an extendable wand around the entire space. Think of it like outlining a box.

Next, take a lightly damp rag and look over the walls. Flies don’t just leave their mark on windows – they like to leave little dark spots on your walls too. At the same time, use that rag to wipe down all the wall hangings as well as the light switches and electrical outlets – carefully of course. Yes, they can get smudged and dusty.

Some of what spring cleaning entails is taking what you do on a regular basis to the next level. Maybe as part of your regular dusting routine, you wipe down bookshelves but only the exposed portion. So, during your spring cleaning, pull everything off the shelf, dust the entire shelf, underneath the body of the cabinet, and even behind – I promise there will be spider webs that don’t catch your eye on a daily basis.

Not only that, but, while you have everything pulled off the shelf, reconsider it’s configuration. Do you really need everything that’s there? Can you re-organize it in a better manner?

When I’m doing my dusting during spring cleaning, I go so far as dumping out everything out of my office organizers and pencil cups on the floor, wipe out everything and then put it back.

Another good example is the piano music stand and keyboard probably get wiped down regularly but what about the body of the piano? Maybe your grand piano could use a light dusting inside or underneath. If you have a piano with a wood case that’s OK to polish, this is a good time to do that.

Once all the dusting is done, it’s time to sweep. As much as you can, pull everything in the room away the walls – the piano and everything. You know, our sweepers aren’t usually able to actually get into the corners of the walls plus, it’s time to give some love to your baseboard – a place that’s easy to forget about. The baseboard is something, I have to admit, I use as a gauge of how a space is. If you look down at the baseboard and it’s covered in dust and hair and grime. Yeah, it needs cleaned. Get on your hands and knees if you can, take a rag to the entire rim of the room then, take either a small handheld vacuum or the hose of a larger sweeper and run it along the edge between the floor and baseboard – that 1/2” to 1” that your sweeper never can quite get up against. Once you’re done with that sweeper trimming. Run the sweeper around the peripheral of the room, then move all of your equipment back into place.

Lastly, let’s consider the bathroom area. If you don’t do this as part of the weekly cleaning, then it’s time to start by wiping down the entire toilet – around the front, the base, and every single angle. I like using those easy disposable disinfecting wipes for the toilet area and like to run them even around the floor area of the toilet. Wipe down the toilet paper holder, towel holders, soap dispensers, cabinet and clean out any under-sink storage areas. Like the entry way, don’t forget to wipe down the door, frame, and handles.

Spring Cleaning isn’t something that has to be a huge chore. While you could do it all in one go, you might find it a little more manageable to tackle a little each week over the course of a month. One week you tackle the outdoor area, the next week the bathroom, the next week the walls, corners, and baseboards, and the next week pulling everything out and dusting and sweeping really good.

The main thing to remember is to go further. Go further than your everyday cleaning, move that piece of furniture you never move, wipe down that lamp you never dust, and while you’re at it, do a little re-arranging! Playing around with different studio configurations can be an easy way to shake things up.

Do it before it gets too nice outside though otherwise who wants to give up their beautiful outdoor weather for inside cleaning? I guess that’s why it’s Spring Cleaning and not Summer Cleaning!

If you’re on on Facebook you can find me at Piano Pantry, on Instagram at amy chaplin piano. No need to look on Twitter. It’s not my thing.

Now, Are you ready to get your spring cleaning on? Just do it – you know it’s time!

Thanks for sticking around to hear this weeks fun fact about me, your host. Since we’re on the topic of Spring – a season in which we get a lot of rain – this made me think of one of my pet peeves and that is when the car windshield wipers are not set to the proper speed for the intensity of rain. You got it right, I am a total passenger seat driver when it comes to this. Drives me nuts. Adjust, adjust, adjust! See you next week everyone!