The Secret to Spring Cleaning Your Studio
I stood there holding the paper frogs in my hand. These weren't just any paper frogs -- they were super cute ones, from a file folder game I had printed out years ago. They were cuuuuute.
On one side there were staff notes, on the other side cute little frog eyes looking at me. The goal was to match the staff note to a letter.
The only problem was, there were only eleven of the original fourteen froggies. Year after year, as I cleaned my studio, I came across these eleven frogs and I just wasn't quite sure what to do with them. I knew I wasn't going to find the other three, but what if I did?
So, I just kept putting these eleven frogs back in a baggie and would stash them on my shelf. I never used them throughout the year, and then when it came time to Spring clean my studio, well, I would go through the same frog contemplation once again.
Um, yeah. Brilliant.
I have learned the hard way -- by mostly doing it the wrong way -- that Spring cleaning your piano studio can be time consuming. Like keep-staring-at-the-cute-froggies consuming.
But it shouldn't be. In fact, I'm going to share with your three secrets to Spring cleaning your studio -- FAST and efficiently.
1. Set a time boundary for yourself - like one hour.
If you are reading this in disbelief, thinking to yourself "one hour -- what, that's not enough!", I'm going to guess that you weren't planning on Spring cleaning. Nope, subconsciously, you were planning on Spring organizing. Am I right?
See that's where we get in trouble. We start down the organization rabbit hole and end up three hours later, surrounded by piles of music, and still staring at the eleven froggies. Believe me, been there, done that, a million times.
And, because we know that about ourselves, we tend to procrastinate on this Spring cleaning business. Because we know we will make it a much bigger project. Because we know we are going to be in there forever. (cue deep, echoing voice)
The way to cure that is to give yourself a time boundary. Repeat after me: "I will not work on this longer than one hour." See now, don't you feel better?
And then, set a timer. A big ole visible timer on your phone, or an egg timer twisted to one hour so that it gives that annoying tic-tic-tic as time passes.
As you are working, keep glancing at that timer. Watch how fast it moves, and it will make you move faster.
2. Try the sorting system, with a twist.
You've heard of this right? Three bags or boxes: throw away, give away, put away. Great system, but not for our Spring cleaning.
In our studio, we are going to have just two bags: throw away and give away. There will be no "put away". (gasp)
That's right. The problem with the "put away" is that usually is translated to mean -- "go to your home office and try to find a coordinating file folder so that you can invent a brand new system for organizing all of your games, but then decide if you are going to label that file folder with a sharpie or with a label, oh what to do and then . . . " (you know what I mean).
Nope, we are going to stop that whole crazy-making in its tracks and simply not pull it out. You have a music game that is in the wrong place? Leave it there. We'll get organized another day. Can't find the cover to your metronome? Don't worry about it. We'll find it another day.
Today we are cleaning. That's it. So, as you go, if it is eleven froggies and you know you have no idea where the other three froggies are, throw it away, friend. If it is sheet music that is missing the middle page, throw it again. If it is an old assignment sheet that you've revamped anyway, throw it away.
If it's a method book you picked up at a yard sale, but you never even use that menu? Give it away. If it's that composer biography that is written so dry, you know if you loaned it to a music student they would hate it? Give it away.
Then, at the end of your hour? Don't worry, we will deal with the trash and the giveaway stuff.
3. At the 10 minutes left mark, actually do the cleaning.
When there are ten minutes left, now is the time to clean. And make it a quick one my friend. Cleaning does not have to be done perfectly to be a blessing to you and your students.
Pull out that dust rag and wipe down surfaces. Yes, dust around stacks of piano books if necessary.
Run your vacuum across the rug or the mop across the floor. Don't worry about those baseboards or the abyss under the couch.
Spray and wipe down the windows (inside only) and use your broom to grab any cobwebs from the corners.
Keep it simple -- good cleaning, not perfect cleaning.
Then, and here is the hard part: force yourself to STOP when that timer is done. Right at that moment, the trash bag goes in the outside trash and the give away bag goes in the back of your car. (Helpful hint: write "thrift store" on a post it note and stick it on your dash to remind you.)
Put your cleaning supplies away and then do just one more thing: Look in the mirror, point to yourself, and say "you're done."
Yep, tell yourself "no more!" so you aren't tempted to go back in there and take care of anything else.
Yes, there will be more froggies to sort someday. Yes, there is more music you could go through. Yes, of course you want to update that one wall.
But, today, my friend, is just Spring cleaning day. That's it.
Get it done. Enjoy the fruits of your labor, and know you've blessed yourself, your home, and your students with your cleaning.
My goal? To do this this afternoon. I'll post on FB if I did it or not.
A little bit of Spring cleaning, even one hour, goes a long ways. Want to join me and do it today? Trust me, you'll be glad you did.