I don’t know if it’s next to godliness, but I sure do enjoy it. Now, I’m in no way a neat freak, and I do not have Mr. Monk’s list of dirt and germ phobias, but one thing I do like is a clean house. Unfortunately, keeping a clean house seems nearly impossible. You can have a tidy house and it might still be a dirty house. For the last couple of weeks that’s been us.
We’ve had our air conditioner turned off and our windows opened for about the last six weeks. I just want to point out that fresh air is some of the dustiest air around! After a couple of weeks, I just gave up on dusting until we closed the windows for the winter, which happened to be on Monday night. Our night time temperatures are finally getting consistently colder – reaching the freezing mark this week, and while I enjoy sleeping in a cold room, I don’t enjoy getting frostbite on my nose and ears as I sleep!
Yesterday I dug out all the cleaning supplies – Pledge, Windex, Fantastic, Clorox toilet wands, dust cloths, vacuum, garbage bags, and Pine-sol. (Sidebar: I love the smell of Pine-sol. If I could get my hands on a Pine-sol scented candle I’d buy a lifetime supply of them! It just smells clean to me, and it doesn’t leave a heavily bleached or alcohol-y odor behind.) I had had enough of the dirt, and it was time to do some serious cleanin’.
I started in the kitchen. I don’t know about y’all, but when I clean, I have a routine, and I feel like the kitchen is the right place to start. It’s the place I enjoy being the most; it’s the place that gets used the most; and it’s the place that I know is already the cleanest!
After the kitchen, I grabbed a garbage bag and proceeded to make my way from room to room looking for trash – junk mail, old catalogs, napkins that we had used as coasters, magazine advertising inserts that had fallen out and been kicked under chairs, old coupons that had expired, shopping receipts that had piled up, and miscellaneous garbage cans that were about to overflow. I never realize just how cluttered things get until I’m carrying around a garbage bag. The minute I start walking around with one, if Sam’s home he’ll start grabbing up stuff and stuffing it into drawers so I won’t just toss it – I’m dangerous when it comes to de-cluttering. I’ll throw nearly anything away, even if it just seems out of place.
Feeling sufficiently purged of trash, I dug out the duster and the Pledge and gave everything a good dusting – from the furniture, to the blinds and shutters, to the stairs, to the ceiling fans and light fixtures, to the baseboards and the judge’s paneling in the dining room. Every flat surface got a swipe or two.
Then it was time to scrub the bathrooms – all three of them. Oh, how I hate scrubbing toilets! Even though I keep up with that regularly, I still think it’s one of the nastiest jobs in the entire scheme of housekeeping. Pee…ugh! Why can’t boys just sit down? Or at least turn on the light and try to aim?
Once I was satisfied that everything in the bathroom was sparkling I grabbed my favorite cleaning tool – the vacuum. I love my vacuum. We finally broke down a few years ago and bought an Oreck. I can tell ya that having a good vacuum makes a huge amount of difference in the quality of your cleaning. It traps the dust as it sucks it in, instead of pumping it back out into the air. I used to feel like Pigpen on Charlie Brown – I’d spend hours dusting and scrubbing, only to run the vacuum and create a whole new layer of dust on everything. Well, not any more.
As I said at the start of this post, I’m not a neat freak by any stretch of the imagination. When Sam and I first got married I was – but I was also only cleaning up after myself, so I could control how much mess there was to start with. But as I’ve aged, I’ve realized that life happens – things get messy – and you can’t always expect your beloved family to feel the same way about dirt as you do. So don’t sweat it. However, when you’ve had enough….anything can go!