Woo-hoo! It is finally spring cleaning time- the snow is melted and it’s getting warmer outside! No-No, I don’t have a fever and I don’t need a doctor! I just love spring cleaning time! Of course, I only really spring clean the camper, and that means it’s getting closer to camping time!
I don’t spring clean the house much, some years I might hang out curtains or wash a few windows in the spring. Many years ago, I stumbled across the FlyLady online. I had babies and toddlers at home, the husband worked evenings and I felt a bit overwhelmed. The Flylady’s humor and routines really have helped with house cleaning and decluttering. Using a feather duster, like she suggests, is amazing! No more moving everything to dust! So, in the house I deep clean throughout the year, well kind of. At least my schedule and routines are written down, so it is easy to get back on track when I need to.
I love spring cleaning because I only do the camper. It is way smaller than the house and it goes very quickly. I can even keep my motivation to clean, because it means soon we will be hiking, cooking over the fire and camping!
To spring clean the camper, I start at one end and clean top to bottom. This involves taking everything out of all the cubbies as I go and washing all the walls, doors, cubbies and windows. I also go through the items in each cubby, to try and declutter them. Before the 5th wheel, I used to also wash the ceiling. The ceiling took a few days, since I rested my elbows often. Now, it’s too tall to wash, so I just wipe it with my cobweb broom. Thankfully, the ceiling is also too high to hit with the flyswatter, so there are no ‘fly marks’.
Last year though, we learned a new easy tip that helps with the flies. The tip came from a friend of our youngest. I did not think it would work at all and it meant I actually had to break down and buy Windex. I clean mostly with vinegar and baking soda. It was very hard to buy actual real Windex, I know it’s not expensive but I quit buying cleaning supplies a few years ago and I was very hesitant to buy any again. I did try spraying the flies with just vinegar in the spray bottle, but they didn’t really care. If you spray them with the Windex, they do care. They fall to the ground, stunned. It is easier to get them with the flyswatter when they are not moving. Of course, you need to watch where they land as they fall. I have terrible aim, so its way easier to watch as they fall instead of trying to hit them.
Once spring cleaning, vacuuming and washing is done, it’s time to get the camper ready for the season! The husband takes care of all the outside cubbies. He pulls everything out and vacuums the cubbies, then sorts the stuff as he puts it back in. He uses totes and hooks to help organize the cubbies. I try to help, so I can convince him that we really do need 4 marshmallow sticks, 6 pie irons and 6 dozen firestarters in the camper.
I joke, though, that he can’t help me with the inside cubbies. He never complains about the 13 camping cookbooks, but he is waaaay too practical with the pile of odd Tupperware and excess towels.
This year, I have waited until April to spring clean the 5th wheel. When we bought the travel trailer with bunks (our previous camper), I was spring cleaning in February! Would you care to guess which month we bought it in?
It was new and exciting, rushing around the corner of the house in the cold to enter the warm, warm camper. I was just glad it was not a very snowy winter and that the driveway where we park the camper is close to the house. I can’t imagine how much propane we used, just to clean the camper and then hang out in it. It was fun,though, washing the inside and finding just the right place for everything.
Now, besides waiting until I really need to spring clean, we also don’t use as much propane to heat the camper throughout the season. We have 2 electric ceramic heaters, similar to these, that also oscillate and have a high/low setting. This helps us use less propane from the tank and more electricity from the campground, which we pay for anyway with the sight fee. I love the husband’s frugal ideas.
I also love it when he solves a problem for me. Sometimes you just need a new perspective or different way to look at things. For example: the bathroom basket drives me crazy.
When I close up the camper for the winter, I bring in: food, except for the time we forgot the pound of potatoes in the bottom of a cabinet all winter and found it the next spring (That was a whole different kind of smell!), remotes with batteries and bathroom stuff. It would be horrible if a liquid soap got left in the camper to freeze, break and then leak all over. At least it was in the sink. Now, I bring in all the liquidy stuff in a basket, and since it is bathroom stuff-it goes in the house bathroom, right? That was my thinking; except our bathroom is small and I have to re-arrange the washcloths and towels to cram in the camper basket. Then, all winter, the washcloths are falling out of the shelves and making me grumpy.
One day, the husband was in the bathroom as I grumbled and pushed washcloths back onto the shelf, him-”Why don’t you take that basket upstairs?”
Me-“Because it is bathroom stuff.”
The husband-“Not for this bathroom, take it to your sewing room and put it with the cordless tools with batteries that I bring in for the winter.”
Oh my gersh. For 2-3 years, I have frowned at that basket and the washcloths. It is such a small change, realizing that the bathroom basket doesn’t have to be stored in the house bathroom, but it will make a huge difference in my attitude.
I can’t believe how a different way of looking at things can make such a difference. Next fall, when I close up the camper, I won’t spend all winter frowning at the basket and washcloths. Similarly, the Flylady’s humor and routines have helped me have a different outlook towards spring cleaning. Now, the house stays clean throughout the year and I can’t wait to spring clean the camper! I am actually excited to vacuum, sort and wash the cubbies and protect the marshmallow sticks from my husband.
I hope you have fun getting ready for the camping season this spring. Please share any cleaning hints or ways that you think differently that have helped you with camping.
Happy Camping (or even Spring Cleaning)!
The Frugal Campasaurus