I’m a big fan of the ladies over at Aiming Low. So I am ripping a page out of their book today (imitation being the highest form of flattery, of course) and will attempt to explain just exactly how low I can aim. Specifically? When cleaning. I make a total shamockery of the whole concept of house cleaning. And here’s how I do it.
While some of my childhood friends had things matched and just so and put away in their places, I did not. I could care less about order. Many memories of my mother include exasperated pleas to do something about my bedroom. But my kind of cleaning usually resulted in finding old stuff and playing with it in the very corner I started in until she came back in and saw me off in la-la land still surrounded by the shambles of my bedroom. Call me rebellious or just a particularly lazy kind of lazy or perhaps distracted by my own unique style of creativity (oh, I like that one), I kind of only barely did anything to make heads or tails of my own living space.
Then I became a grown up. And when dishes got left someplace or the rug pilled exotic animal hair balls, I heard my mother’s voice grumble from under my breath: “Who do you expect is going to clean this up?” Me. Damn. Do I have to? I guess.
So, yeah, I clean now. But only because I have to. And usually only when I invite someone over. Or I get mad. When I’m mad, I love to clean. So consider my home a happy place when it’s dirty (which is often, so yay for us). But maybe worry if it’s too clean. Really. Or else just expect company to ring our doorbell in the next 5 – 10 minutes because that’s about how clean it will remain with my boys at large, trailing dirt from shoes, dismantled toys and sandwich crusts.
But if I hate to clean so much, how do I do it exactly? You should not be surprised to hear that when I do clean, it isn’t the most thorough job ever. Shocked and appalled, I’m sure, but you need to understand that buffing the underside of the frig’s crisper drawers just doesn’t turn me on. It just doesn’t, I’m sorry.
Ok, time to discuss cleaning itself. I’ve procrastinated enough. I usually start with the dishes. Because there is NO way a home can be considered even remotely clean if there are dishes in the sink. So that means unloading the dishwasher, cramming everything haphazardly into whatever cabinet that fits it and slamming the doors shut to keep it all from falling out. Then cramming the dishwasher with whatever could possibly fit in there too. As long as the spinning water thingie on top clears, we’re good.
Then I wipe down the kitchen. No I don’t pick up the toaster and look for crumbs. No I don’t scrub every milk circle off the table. No I don’t scrub the scum off the stove burners. I have, but you have to be some big-wig kind of company for me to go that far.
Then I sweep. Where you can see. (Do NOT move my couches or you will be asked to leave my house.)
Vacuum? …Maybe. It depends. I take a step back and eyeball my carpets. Like a ripe melon, you just know when the accumulated grime is impossible to ignore.
If there is a splat of something on the floor, do I grab the mop and wet the whole place down? I’ve done it before. A few times ago, I did it. But usually? I grab an anti-bacterial wipe and spot treat. Perfection.
(Note: Those antibacterial wipes are fab. No sponges or extra spraying steps. Wipe everything down and you know bad germies are gone(ish). Yes, I know they’re wasteful. But one goes a long way, let me tell you. Or at least they do for me…)
Oh. Clutter. Yeah, there is always a place for that. Usually in the guest room. All things unwanted and undealt with go to die in my guest room. And then when you are looking for tax forms or insurance cards, you always know where they are. More or less.
(No, I file stuff. I have special piles. I know where everything is. Not to worry. …Don’t look at me like that.)
Toys? Oh I have a favorite spot for toys. If they don’t fit into the established toy baskets or if they are falling apart, they usually go in a bag to charity. Seriously. If they are cluttering everything up and aren’t being used, buh-bye. Easy.
Laundry might be my favorite. Well, at least the part where you can throw heaps of it into the washer and shut the top. Voila, gone! It’s just the part about taking it back out again and sorting and folding it. Lame. So my kids get their school clothes out of the “probably” clean hamper. Wrinkled? My husband’s remedy is to sprinkle them with water and throw them into the dryer for a couple minutes. And yes, this is a wasteful use of electricity. Duly noted.
So them’s my tricks for clean living here at Chez Morningside. Feel free to steal a couple. Or take this post as permission to let yourself slide now and again. Because any parent of young children who takes the time to perform multiple exercises in futility clean regularly should expect it undone within the hour.
Granted, if you get mad about that, maybe you’ll want to clean again.
Funny how it all works out.