pen rainbow

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Mini-Post Thursday—Monkeys Riding Dogs Herding Sheep

My mom's snoopie dog
Cool doggs + darling minkees + funny sheep + a corny soundtrack + a rad truck = 

Wednesday—Good for You, Good for The Home—The Zen of Cleaning House

My cleaning assitant
The Zen of Cleaning House

I'm fairly certain that I was born cleaning up after myself.

:::SLAP:::  Waaaaaaa!  Doctor, would you mind handing me a sponge and a bottle of Lysol?

The Minimalist Woman gets it.  And the FlyLady's gentle and methodical way of guiding even the most hopelessly lost chaos-bot into the light is downright inspiring.  I'm more of a housecleaning warrior than  a hand-holder when it comes to cleaning.  I'm like Patton on cleaning day.  Dustbunnies are the enemy!  Just get out of my way and let me get the job done.

HRH, The Queen, probably doesn't clean her own palace, but I'll bet that she has a tidy desk and a really great staff who keeps the castle impeccably neat.  Kate Middleton is probably polishing her princess tiara as we speak.

It's a good thing to have a clean house.  It's a Zen thing.  Like Zen, there are methods used to attain enlightenment.  Shhhhh, be still and be wise, grasshopper...

Cleaning Schedule
Pick a day each week to clean and stick to it.  My cleaning days are Thursday & Friday, and I divide the house into 2 zones.  I strip the beds and launder the linens on Thursday because Friday is the harder of the 2 days.  Thurs/Fri works best for me because most holidays, social events, and travel plans happen over the weekends.  Plus, I like to take the weekends off for fun things.

Avoid Distractions
Don't clean with a spouse—Don't get on the computer—Don't answer the phone.  Instruct friends & family not to bug you on cleaning days.  It's okay to let them know your schedule and when you will be available.

Make fewer surfaces to clean.  Store things in accessible boxes & bins that can be easily cleaned.  Getting things organized can take a while, so pick one thing to fix each week and add it to your regular cleaning day routine.  Put photos away, sort magazines, organize a bookshelf, clean off a table...

Lightweight Furniture
Furnish with modern lightweight pieces that are easy to move.  Don't over-furnish a room.  Avoid antique finishes that require special care.

Buy Duplicate Sets of Washable Curtains that can be taken down and washed once a month.  I removed the catch on the end of one small curtain rod so that the pocket curtain can easily slide off of the end and be replaced by a clean curtain.

The Right Tools
Use what works best for you.  Here are some of my essentials:

•  A lightweight, inexpensive vacuum cleaner(s).  It's all hype when it comes to vacs, and the high-end $500 vacs do not work any better than the $100 versions.  I've tried them all, and these days, I use a Hoover Empower Widepath (originally purchased at Target, now $100 on Amazon) and a Eureka Optima Lightweight Upright ($60 at Target & Lowes).  I keep a vacuum on each side of the house.  If you have upstairs & downstairs or just a big house, you need two vacs.  When the kids were in dorms & apartments and moving all the time, I got a new vacuum cleaner every year and donated the used vacs to thrift stores.  These things work best when the cannister is emptied each week.

•  I use a portable Husky wet/dry shop vac (in addition to a Dustbuster) to suck up big stuff in hard-to-reach places (chunks of plaster, cat litter, dry catfood, giant mutant dust bunnies, sliding mirror door tracks, window frames, etc.).

•  Knee pads
•  Disposable surgical gloves (for changing the catbox & cleaning the oven)
•  Windex wipes, Murphy's Oil Soap Wipes, Steel Surface Wipes, and All-Surface Wipes—These really speed things up!
•  Inexpensive, store-brand disinfectant wipes (great for toilet surfaces)
•  A good supply of cleaning rags (old washcloths, hand towels, and a few bath towels) to keep from rinsing out rags while I'm cleaning.  I use a bucket of all-purpose cleaner and a rag as I go.  When the rag gets too grungy or hairy, I toss it onto the washing machine & get a clean one.

Locate supplies in cleaning areas
Keep duplicate supplies in different parts of the house so that you don't have to keep running back & forth trying to find the only bottle of Windex.

Spot Clean
Keep a roll of paper towel and a cannister of general-purpose counter wipes in the bathroom(s) to keep counters clean and sinks spic and span during the week.

Fold a square of paper towel and keep it on the kitchen counter to wipe down splashes that cause mildew & hard water stains around the faucet and the backsplash.

Sweep the kitchen floor daily.

Swiffer dry mop wood floors a couple of times a week, if you have pets.

Cleaning Day — Feed Yourself & Take a Lunch Break
Have a healthy breakfast and a good lunch.  Take a 30-40 minute lunch break, relax, and watch a fun afternoon show like Cash Cab.

Cleaning Day — Stay Hydrated
Keep a large cup of ice water going all day.

Cleaning Day — Watch the Clock & Pace Yourself
Allow a limited amount of time in each room.  I shoot for a reasonable quitting time, usually around 5 o'clock.  Cleaning on a weekly basis allows for some wiggle room when it comes to dealing with organizational issues.  There is always extra stuff to organize and put away (mail, sort magazines, filing, clean out a dresser drawer, etc.).

Cleaning Day — Plan An Easy Dinner
Keep a supply of your favorite frozen dinners on hand.  Frozen corn bread pizzas hit the spot!  I like to keep a cold six-pack of Coronitas around for apr├ęs-cleaning.

Cleaning Day — Take a Nice Bath while the frozen dinner is cooking.  ❤