There’s nothing quite like the look and feel of a freshly cleaned floor.
Infinitely more satisfying, however, is the clarity that comes with having clean windows, which really do make the outside world look brighter.
Now, I’m not a big fan of housework and I can tolerate medium levels of untidiness, but deep down I really like having a clean home.
Even the simple act of vacuuming generates a sense of lightness, no matter how much paperwork is piled up on the dining table.
I don’t generally schedule housework into my dairy; it’s one of those activities that depends on the weather, my general sense of wellbeing and the distraction of more enjoyable social engagements. Attitude is the decisive factor, though.
I’ve defined my cleaning habits into the following categories:
My 6 cleaning habits
1. Must do.
The kitchen has top priority. I always wash and put away the dishes and cutlery, no matter the time of night or state of disarray in other parts of the house. One thing I really hate is the unwelcome pitter patter of crawly insects.
Fortnightly vacuuming and light cleaning, with particular emphasis on the bathroom. It includes a token attempt at shuffling the pile of paperwork from one end of the dining table to the other. This cleaning habit is occasionally pre-empted by the notification of visitor arrivals.
3. Ad hoc.
Non-essential tasks such as ironing and removing mould build-up on furniture and clothes after successive rainy days are undertaken on an as-needs basis. This habit may override all other habits due to prolonged rainfall.
4. Big Clean.
A quarterly frenzy that starts with dusting, vacuuming, mopping, disinfecting and finishes with dazzlingly clear windows. The pile of paperwork on the dining table is duly sorted into the bin or filing cabinet. Best practice results are achieved with suitably motivational music such as Bhangra, Middle Eastern, disco or African and a tall glass of iced coffee on the go.
5. Annual spring clean.
Starts with #4 and progresses to the systematic washing of curtains, steam cleaning the lounge, dining chairs and anything else that can’t be thrown into the washing machine. It often includes a methodical cull of paperwork in my filing cabinet and/or unused clothes dispatched to the Salvos store. This activity may turn into a two-day operation.
6. The Big Cull.
Occurs when I’m moving house. A tonne of unnecessary paperwork is relegated to the recycling bin while excess clothes, utensils and other knick-knacks are bundled into boxes for drop off at the Salvos.
Despite my recent satisfaction of an overdue Big Clean, the current persistent rainfall will unfortunately necessitate habit #3 as soon as the weather clears. Sigh.
My 5 favourite housework quotes
1. My theory on housework is, if the item doesn't multiply, smell, catch fire, or block the refrigerator door, let it be. No one else cares. Why should you? ~ Erma Bombeck
2. Don't cook. Don't clean. No man will ever make love to a woman because she waxed the linoleum - "My God, the floor's immaculate. Lie down, you hot bitch." ~ Joan Rivers
3. The trouble with living alone is that it's always your turn to do the dishes. ~ Author unknown
4. Housework is something you do that nobody notices until you don't do it. ~ Author unknown
5. I'm not going to vacuum until Sears makes one you can ride on. ~ Roseanne Barr
Are you a fanatical house cleaner?
27/6/2012 11:45:23 am
I USED to be fanatical but now I seem to fit into your categories. Getting a housesitter/dogsitter necessitates bringing the annual one on sooner. My sister used to look at the S bend on a toliet when visiting others & that showed the degree of obsessiveness.
27/6/2012 12:02:41 pm
Sue, I think we eventually realise that the more you clean, the more obvious the mess becomes! I vaguely recall glancing at the S-bend once or twice and noted that it does, in fact, gather a lot of dust!
27/6/2012 12:11:50 pm
Cleaning yes, keeping up with paperwork, no. Loved the Joan Rivers quote!!
27/6/2012 12:16:29 pm
Robyn, I wonder why men don't find housework a turn on?
27/6/2012 02:48:46 pm
When I get enthusiastic about cleaning up and putting away, I can't find a damn thing!
28/6/2012 08:42:55 am
That's an interesting observation, Kate! Is it because we get used to where things are in their messy state, or because we don't remember where we've put it away, I wonder?
27/6/2012 04:12:18 pm
My favourite housework tips come from Phyllis Diller - Leave the vacuum cleaner in the middle of the floor, then no matter how messy the house is you can always say "You caught me right in the middle of the cleaning!"
28/6/2012 08:44:28 am
Lorraine, I have been known to leave the vacuum cleaner lying around AFTER I've finished cleaning... it may take several hours to pack it away, as I get distracted by other tasks!
27/6/2012 10:02:14 pm
Having a good laugh re housework thanks Hari.I am a pain as soon as something is out of place or not done I have to do it and really who cares. So now when my grandson is here I make myself let it go.Phyllis Dillers idea is good when the house is clean have lighting on high when it's filthy have it on the lowest setting and no one can see the mess.Thanks Hari.
28/6/2012 08:46:43 am
That's another great tip about the lights, thanks Coral. It's a bit difficult to camouflage the mess when the sun is streaming through the windows!
28/6/2012 01:04:40 am
I agree about the kitchen & bathroom - they need to be top of the list.
28/6/2012 08:50:04 am
Jenny, I used to hear the same stories about friends' mums or mothers-in-law cleaning every day!
28/6/2012 08:17:20 am
Hari; I first acquired cleaning skills in the RN about 65 years ago. Wjhat I've learned is the if cleaning the house simultaneously cleans your mind...for goodness aske (and no other) stop it!
28/6/2012 08:48:17 am
I agree about the mind cleansing, Bernie. I always feel uplifted when the house is looking neat and freshly vacuumed/mopped. The pile of paperwork on the dining table is a true reflection of my state of mind at times!
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I acknowledge the traditional Custodians of the land on which I work and live, the Gubbi Gubbi / Kabi Kabi and Joondoburri people, and recognise their continuing connection to land, the waters and sky. I pay my respect to them and their cultures; and to Elders past, present and emerging.