Some people are born knowing how to clean, some learn from others or are self-taught, yet others don’t really much care and live at various levels of clutter and crumbs in the kitchen and dog hair on the floor and piles of books and papers all over the place and bathroom lint stuck to the mirror and heaps of things in the basement… and perhaps you can guess which category I might fall into.
I’ve never been any good at cleaning, as most of the people who have come into anyplace I’ve ever lived can tell you. While I enjoy having a clean and clutter-free house, I have no earthly idea how to a.) get there, or b.) maintain it in such a state.
Mom never really taught me how to clean – she simply told me to do my chores. She has moderate OCD, and perhaps was one of those people who intuitively knows how to give a house a good and thorough cleaning in an efficient manner.
Because I’m not very good at it, and because having a clean house is such a temporary, fleeting, ephemeral state, I loathe the process of cleaning. Because I hate it so much, I avoid it. While I know intellectually the task will be much easier if not put off, if regularly performed, the immediate gratification is Not Doing It.
In a house full of white carpeting, two humans, and four dark-haired animals, this does not go over well. The carpets continually have a black fuzzy layer, particularly around the edges – should one of us decide to vacuum, neither of us is very likely to break out the edge attachments and spend that extra twenty to forty-five minutes edging.
I know this makes your skin crawl just looking at it – I’m sorry.
Further confounding my house-cleaning apathy is the complete inability of vacuum manufacturers’ abilities to design a truly great appliance. To wit: The Dyson Animal has such tremendous suction, it got within a half-inch of a power cord, sucked it in, ripped the cord off its adapter brick, wound it around the brush rotor, ripped off the adapter tip and started chewing through my bedside lamp cord before I even knew what was going on.
The EngiNeir is currently in the basement working to fix this little snafu. The powerful suction is a huge plus (when not destroying things,) but the Dyson’s wand and attachments are the absolute suck. My lower back is shrieking from being all hunched over and bending awkwardly to accommodate its peculiar ways (all of my friends are trying not to burst from giggling to themselves right now, as I talk about suction, power wands and attachments.)
The Eureka “Pet-Buster” vacuum I bought a few years back does a great job with pretty much everything, including its long wand and powered attachments. Where it utterly falls down, however, is in the dirt receptacle – it is less than four inches tall. My husky mix sheds more than that in the time it took me to write this paragraph. I have to empty the bin every two to three minutes with that one. Fail.
This entirely-chock-full vacuum is just from doing the stairs and the getting the fuzz off the kitchen floor. Seriously! There is no room left in this giant container.
And what the hell is this? What does this sticker even mean?!
“If the attachment is vibrating, listen to some angry German industrial music while bending the laws of physics? Oh, and be sure to unplug properly.”
I’ll end my vacuum ranting there, and get back to my point – if I indeed had one.
The cleaning, yes. I hates it.
If I had money, I would hire a cleaning service without a second thought.
Because I don’t know any better, I am a Pile Sorter.
That is to say, I attack the area or room I’m cleaning, and sort things into piles – one pile for recycling, one pile/box for trash, one pile for “goes in this room and needs to be put away,” one pile for “goes elsewhere,” one pile for “take to Goodwill,” and so forth. While this saves me the trouble of getting up and carting something off to its appropriate place every ten seconds, by the time I’m done sorting and cleaning, I’m often out of energy and those piles might sit there for a long damn time.
This pile was created on Saturday, and may well be there until June:
Judging by the trash bucket full of dead leaves, I suck at houseplants.
I don’t even know what to do with this room anymore – notice the walls are not yet the nice, soothing green color I chose.
I glance in the door and the energy drains from my body.
Some of the chaos and clutter I attribute to Having Dogs, much like parents will tolerate a certain level of child-related clutter:
Dogs will be dogs, and there will be toys and skewed rugs and balls and hair and stuff out of place. It happens. After I clean up the living room, it will be completely cattywampus and in utter disarray within 24 hours. This is… discouraging.
Other areas I have more control over. I cleaned off my bedroom dresser top tonight, and pile-sorted it into the craft room. This is the result:
While the cats do enjoy nesting on the sewing table (not visible here, it’s the surface all that crap is sitting upon,) they usually leave the stuff alone, except for knocking over a thing or two. I can get this settled and under control. It’s just the doing of it, the getting started. Ugh.
So, Internets, what are your favorite pro-tips for housecleaning? Please help me learn how to tame my home.
Now that my net energy level is increasing, thanks to no longer being employed in the computer industry, and now that my schedule has a bit more flexibility, I’m slowly beginning to tackle the long-put-off chores.
I have visions of inviting other actual humans over to our house and not dying of complete shame. Also, visions of them not leaving with the screaming heebie jeebies, dying to wash their hands for twenty minutes straight, muttering, “get it off… must get it off… the dirt, get it off.”
Time-savers, organizational ideas, things your mother taught you when you were a little kid, anything. I will take whatever tidbits I can.