Monday, February 24, 2014

Spring Cleaning Post #1

It’s that time of year (or at least I want it to be.) I want to hear lawn mowers and smell freshly cut grass. I want to hear baby birds chirping and wonder if I need a light sweater this morning rather than “which heavy coat should I wear today?” With spring, though, comes spring cleaning.

I’ll write a couple of posts on cleaning topics and gauge the interest level. Today, I’ll share some tips and shortcuts I’ve picked up along the way.

The Case of the Clean Ceiling Fan
                Use an old pillow case to clean ceiling fan blades. For each blade, gently slide the blade into the case, then pressing with both hands, on top and on bottom of blade, slide the case along the blade while pulling it back towards you. This removes the majority of the dust, trapping it in the case. Then you can wipe the blade with a wet microfiber towel to remove the rest. The built-up dust can fall and will stain carpets and furniture if it lands on anything cloth.

Take your garbage disposal from “what’s that smell?” to “that smells swell” in no time flat
                Run hot water from your faucet into your sink until it’s gotten as hot as it will get. Turn off. Drop ½ of a lemon, some ice cubes, and some table salt into your disposal. Let it sit for a couple of minutes, then turn disposal on for a few seconds, followed by running with the hot water going. Turn disposal off and allow hot water to run for a couple of seconds more.

Basket Case
                I use an adaption of this tip. An article I read suggested buying cheap laundry baskets, one for each member of the family. As you go around picking up, you simply toss each item into its owner’s basket. Then the basket goes to the appropriate room. My version has a basket for each room.

Shower Power
                It’s not pretty, but I clean the inside of my stand-up shower while I’m in the shower. I keep a scrubby sponge, an old dish brush, and my cleaner (Soft Scrub) in there along with my other products. Once a week, I’ll put a deep conditioner in my hair and then spend a couple of minutes scrubbing down the interior. At the end, my hair is free from split ends and my shower is sparkling.

Be Our Guest
                When I’m cleaning for anticipated company, I hit the areas I know they will surely visit:  the entryway/foyer, the guest bath, and the kitchen. Then, I move out in a radius from there, cleaning as I have time and doing less and less the farther away I get from the entry. Also, I suggest sitting where your guests will sit – the living room couch, a dining room chair. It is here that you will see a spider web on a light fixture or a random sock under a coffee table. See things from their perspective and you’ll clean more for them than yourself.

Bag Lady
               In the home office, bedroom, and bathrooms, I line each waste basket with a plastic grocery bag. Luckily, I almost never remember to take my reuseable bags with me to the grocery so I have a good stash of plastic ones. In addition to putting one in the can, I put a couple extra down in the bottom so when I pull out a full one to throw away, there are extra empty ones awaiting their turn.

Chore Box
               A friend of mine suggested this many moons ago and I’ve had limited success with it. Like a diet, it works best when you do it. Take a recipe card box and fill it with a stack of blank index cards. On each card, write down one household chore:  Run a load of clothes. Empty & reload dishwasher. Dust dining room table. You fill out the cards until you’ve listed everything you do to clean every room in your house. Then each day, you’re supposed to pull a certain number of cards. Something reasonable and feasible. Depending on the involvement of the chores you pull, you may just do one or you might knock out five or six.  Once you’ve done the chore on that card, you move the card to the back of the stack, and pull a new card from the front. The theory is that by the time you make a full circuit, your house is more or less clean. My problem is that a room I’ve just cleaned dirties itself while I’m walking out.

Need more tips? Check back soon. Have a tip? Please do tell!