This column by Sherry Turner originally appeared in the Clayton News Daily newspaper.
While many people profess that they “geek” cleanliness, few claim they “geek” cleaning. There are many methods and levels of intensities to yield a clean environment. I can recall my mother indicating if she wanted my siblings and me to do “a lick and a promise cleaning” or a deep cleaning.
We can either do the cleaning ourselves, pay for cleaning services, delegate to family members or implement a combination of all three.
One only has to glance at the phone book to see a multitude of businesses supported by customers that would rather have the cleaning done by others. Maid/janitorial , home power washing, chimney sweeping, air conditioning duct cleaning , window washing, car detailing, laundromats and such.
Let’s face it: everything in our world needs to be clean. Personal cleaning standards are reflected by the cleaning schedule chosen to maintain all that we have. In a home, the schedule can be arranged room by room including the garage. Outside items to be cleaned might include: lawn chairs, sidewalks, eaves, windows, siding, doormats and porches etc.
The frequency of cleaning is relative; one might vacuum daily but ignore the need to change the bag, empty canister and dust the outside, or remove hair and debris from the vacuum brush in a timely manner. This will alter the efficiency of the appliance and in the long haul costs the consumer more when the cleaning appliance is not properly maintained and will need to be replaced sooner.
Organizing your cleaning is a job in itself, but once a tentative manageable schedule is established, there are countless products on the market and homemade recipes and formulas readily available. These days, green products are an alternative that allow cleaning without compromising the environment, pets, or people. Green cleaning products are widely accepted now, so you can choose a green product that is just as effective and competitive in price.
If you have ever enjoyed visiting a historic site, they are always clean and well maintained. My son in law is a historic preservationist. He has shared with me the meticulous efforts that are taken to clean and maintain everything in a historic home. One of the first steps in preservation is to return the item to its original condition by properly cleaning it.
Although none of us probably have a full time staff to keep every little screw in our home shiny, we can keep the dust bunnies underpopulated, extend the life of cleaning gear, and do our best to meet our own set standards.
This week I witnessed my two youngest children head off to college; we are now empty nesters at my home. I am sure my house will be cleaner as I stare at a narrative that I have had framed in my home for many years. I am already yearning for them to return at Christmas with their dirty laundry and an influx of dust bunnies. For all the busy moms that battle with the “dust bunnies” I share this poem to give perspective on cleaning challenges.
“Wet Oatmeal Kisses” (author anonymous)
The baby is teething. The children are fighting. Your husband just called and said, “Eat dinner without me.” One of these days you’ll explode and shout to the kids, “Why don’t you grow up and act your age?” And they will.
Or, “You guys get outside and find yourselves something to do. And don’t slam the door!” And they don’t. You’ll straighten their bedrooms all neat and tidy, toys displayed on the shelf, hangers in the closet, animals caged. You’ll yell, “Now I want it to stay this way!” And it will.
You will prepare a perfect dinner with a salad that hasn’t had all the olives picked out and a cake with no finger traces in the icing and you’ll say, “Now THIS is a meal for company.” And you will eat it alone.
You’ll say, “I want complete privacy on the phone. No dancing around, no pantomimes, no demolition crews. Silence! Do you hear?” and you’ll have it. No more plastic tablecloths stained with spaghetti, no more anxious nights under a vaporizer tent, no more dandelion bouquets, no more iron-on patches, wet, knotted shoestrings, tight boots, missing mittens, or ponytails falling out.
Imagine, a lipstick with a point, no babysitter, washing clothes only once a week, no parent meetings, carpools, Christmas presents out of toothpicks and paste.
No more wet oatmeal kisses.
No more tooth fairy, giggles in the dark, or knees to heal.
Only a voice crying, “Why don’t you grow up?” and the silence echoing,
A little elbow grease along with these books from the Clayton County Library System will help with cleaning endeavors: