I’m spring cleaning – well sort of


Feather duster, dustpan and broom, and upright...

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I enjoy having a clean home. And I used to enjoy housecleaning.  Until now. Maybe it has something to do with getting older, but I’m now at a point in my life where I feel like I should be out seizing the day  instead of doing mundane tasks like dusting. After all, I don’t have that much time left. I figure 30-35 years at the most, and the last 10-20 of those will probably be wasted going to early bird specials and taking bus trips with other old people at some “retirement community.” Depressing. So I feel like I should be getting as much out of life as I can right now, and  that no longer includes dusting.

Yet, the house gets dirty, and I want it clean. What to do? I could hire someone to clean, and I did try that for a while. It seems that the cleaning company’s idea of clean and my idea of clean did not quite mesh. The “cleaning lady” could clean my whole house in three hours, while it takes me six.  Plus, I keep thinking,  “I could be doing something FUN with the money I’m spending to pay someone to sort of clean.” That whole seize the day idea again. Maybe if I hired an illegal alien to clean, instead of an American from a cleaning service, I could get more for my money and get them to clean exactly the way I want it done, but hey, I’m above that.

So, back to cleaning. I’ve resorted to the age-old method of cleaning that college students and a lot of other people use – clean when you’re having company. That works okay, but you either have to have company a lot, or put up with a dirty house. After all, we only have so many friends. I’ve also tried guerilla cleaning, or blitzing. Notice my use of sports and war analogies related to cleaning  – it IS a war on dust after all. My husband and I buzz around the house as a team, picking up, me dusting, he vacuuming. It works, but again, you need some motivation and the time to do it. You can’t be out hiking the Rockies, and say, “Gosh, better stop now, have to go home and clean.”

So today, I’m trying a new tactic that’s called – “hurry up and dust, move furniture and vacuum, because the carpet cleaning guys will be here in an hour” method of cleaning. The principle is this: everything needs to be dusted. And it’s time for the carpets to be cleaned. But I don’t want to be dusting furniture and risk pushing the dirty dust onto the newly cleaned carpets. So I’m dusting the lamps, tabletops, pictures, etc now while I’m also moving the smaller furniture out of the way before the carpet cleaning guys get here. The carpet guys will come, clean the carpets, and when I move all the freshly dusted things back – voila’ – the entire room  will be clean. Brilliant. Except it only works when I’m having the carpets cleaned. And it doesn’t take care of the rooms that don’t have carpeting. And it’s exhausting to be running around like a madwoman, while being tired from all the seizing the day I did yesterday, and trying to get all this done before the carpet guys get …

Sigh. Never mind, they’re here.

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28 thoughts on “I’m spring cleaning – well sort of

  1. I think most woman as I am in my 40’s feel like you do about Cleaning. I laughed when you did the hurry up and clean before the carpet guys get there….I have done that too!

    • Thank goodness it’s not just me. It was such a great idea in theory – right now the house is half put back together from the carpet cleaning on Friday. By the time I get everything put back where it belongs, the stuff I dusted last Friday will be dusty again. 😦

  2. I am right there with you when it comes to cleaning. Why dust when it will just be dusty again in a couple of days? But, yes, it has to get done, and I have to admit that I do feel happy when the entire house is clean at the same time, which is a rare occurrence. One of my best friends is coming for a five-day visit next week, so I have to time the cleaning perfectly, not too soon so that it needs to be done again, but not waiting until the last minute and feel stressed. Maybe my husband should just look for another job and we can move. That always means we’ll have a clean house for a little while.

  3. I can so relate. I like a clean house too. However as my physical abilities waned, so did the spotlessness of the house. It became spotty, at best. Then my husband pitched in, which, considering how hard he works physically every day, was not an ongoing option in my eyes.

    The Universe provided me with a solution. I had decided to provide some relief and hired a housecleaner recommended highly by some good friends. She turned out to be a jewel, fast efficient and the house felt SO much better after she had been here.

    Turns out she was looking for someone to help set up her business financial books. Hey, I could do that! I was already doing my hubby’s and my business books. I broached the subject to her. I thought she was going to faint. She cried, “That’s exactly what I need, yes, yes, yes.”

    So I’ve been doing her bookkeeping, she cleans my house, and we are both supremely happy.

    Maybe you could trade jobs with someone, with you doing something you love, and her (or him) taking care of the dust, etc.

      • C’mon, huffygirl, you’re a great writer. Maybe someone needs letters written for them, or even a flyer or brochure. One of the things I did last December, at the request of the grandmother of a child, was to make a special book just for the little grandson, incorporating pics the grandma had given me of the little kid.

        I made it as a website (since our slide presentation equipment was incompatible), and used the pics to punctuate a story of Dixon’s little adventure. The kid loved it (he’s only not quite two), the parents were thrilled, and the grandparents were very happy. I did it for money rather than a trade, but that’s something that you could do. And the parents/grandparents are happy as … well, something that is really really happy.

      • I’m impressed. I could probably do similiar things as well – but the trick is finding someone to do the cleaning who will do an excellent job, who also wants something done in return that I could do on a regular basis. There’s probably a Craig’s list category for this I’m sure – would just have to take the time to delve into it.

  4. My husband is the house cleaner. He does a great job in the kitchen and bathroom, he does the laundry and makes the beds and vacuums. The one thing he doesn’t do is dust because he’s a bit of a bull in a china shop. And I have to admit, I rarely dust. What’s the point? Two minutes after you dust, it’s all back again. Dusting gets done in my house before company arrives, or when the “bunnies” start asking for snacks. 😉

    Seize the day, Huffy. Write your name in the dust and head out the door for a bike ride.

  5. I always thought you had a cleaning gene that the rest of us missed, Aunt Donna. I HATE cleaning, and the fact that I’m not good at it makes it worse. Vicious cycle. I have thought about the idea of hiring someone (and we unfortunately could probably do the illegal alien thing quite well if we knew where to find them… on the other hand, Carlos will probably be meeting a lot now, actually, with his new practice. But I digress, because I’m with you on the ethics of all that…) Anyway, I always stop short of investigating cleaning services, because I guess I feel weird rising to that level in my perceived notion of the socioeconomic strata. I feel like I should BE a cleaning person, not able to hire one…

    • Quite deep Judy. The socioeconomic strata gets me a bit, not because I feel like I should be the cleaning person, but because society has always stratified the position of housekeeper as a lower status. But it’s silly – anyone can and should clean and housecleaning should be beneath no one. I think it harkens back to England and the days of servants and class systems.

      Anyway, I do have the cleaning gene and have always enjoyed it up until lately. I think it’s seeing my years ahead ebbing away that has changed it. Anyway, If I ever get the house put back together after this carpet cleaning, I hope to turn over the proverbial new leaf and set a schedule. Starting out with everything clean at once should help.

  6. So funny Donna and I know exactly how you feel. You remind me of myself. When I was seven years old my mother started me doing chores, cleaning the bathroom, ironing – especially all of Dad’s shirts. Mind you, EVERYTHING HAD TO BE P E R F E CT !!!
    If anything was not PERFECT I had to do it over again. The house always had to be perfectly clean and tidy. My friends never wanted to come over, probably many adults didn’t either. Shoes had to come off just inside the front door and you could not lay anything around.
    So I knew I never wanted to have my home feel like a picture in a magazine…an un-lived in room/house. I want people to feel comfortable and at home when they come to see me. I don’t let it get filthy, but I don’t go through it everday and clean. But is is aok if someone should just show up at the door. Of course, I do prefer to have a little notice so i can run around and tidy up 🙂

    • Yes, I think perfect is too difficult to achieve, and as you know, not really necessary. I like to look at pictures of homes in in decorating magazines, but they are always too perfect. I always wonder “where do they keep their mail and their newspapers and their messy stuff.

      • You got that right…those are unlivable spaces. It is just like when you put your house up for sale you are supposed to take all personal pictures down, clear off most items on all counters, clear out all clutter and everything but the basics. I was told that you have to remember it is no longer your home when you have it for sale. Talk about difficult and awkward.

  7. That is what the real estate agents say. However, in this economy I cannot afford an agent so am working to sell it myself. I AM more conscious about certain things, but selling yourself there is better control over when someone is allowed to come look at it 🙂

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