I love to read posts and sites and books about cleaning and organizing. I’ve read Marie Kondo’s books and watched her show. I’ve got every book Martha Stewart ever wrote. I even take those quizzes that tell you what kind of “cleanie” or “messie” you are (so much more fun than actually bleaching the grout in the bathroom). All the books and websites have such beautiful pictures about how things will look when you’ve cleaned and organized them, and how cute you’ll look wearing your apron and carrying your glass spray bottle.
Thing is, in the real world, that glass spray bottle gets broken in about three minutes, and then you have to clean up the glass, and then you don’t feel like cleaning whatever you originally set out to clean because you just spent fifteen minutes picking up glass shards and you’ve got a hand full of shallow cuts to bandage. I’ve realized, after mumble mumble years of cleaning, that the rules I follow (and that actually work) don’t appear in any cleaning manual I’ve ever read. For instance:
1. My mother’s favorite rule: Well, I’ve got this wet paper towel…
When I was growing up, my mother would start out to clean the kitchen table by wetting a paper towel and scrubbing the table. Then, she would look down at the sodden mass in her hand and say, “Well, I’ve got this wet paper towel…” and look around for something else to clean. Could be the stovetop, could be the entire inside of the refrigerator, could be my sister’s or my cheeks (often after the paper towel had been used to clean the kitchen table, the stovetop, and the entire inside of the refrigerator). She would keep cleaning until the paper towel was a bunch of shreds that, given all the things it had just sopped up, should probably have been disposed of by a Hazmat team.
I’ve found myself doing the same thing, although I will say you have to be careful what brand of paper towel you use. They don’t make them like they used to, and yes, I’m aware of how much I just turned into my mother. But there are worse fates, and at least my kitchen table, my stovetop, and the entire inside of my refrigerator are clean—not to mention my cheeks! Which cheeks, you ask? I’ll let you guess…
2. My favorite rule: As long as I’m up…
Despite being fascinated by all things housekeeping, I’m actually really lazy. I let dishes soak and tell myself I haven’t made my bed yet because I’m letting it air out. I’d rather sit on my sofa and binge watch shows that went off the air five years ago because I have to know what happens next! But I’ve gotten in the habit of, whenever I get up to refill my glass or use the bathroom or whatever, I’ll do something. I’ll wash the dishes, and then I’ll sit back down. Next time I get up, I’ll empty the trash, and then I’ll sit back down. Little by little, it all gets done.
I should add a caveat to this method: it greatly helps to have recurring bladder infections. When you have to get up to pee every half an hour, this method ends up being a lot more productive. Or you could just drink a lot. Oh, man, the perfect housekeeping method: The Lush! I foresee a bestselling book, possibly followed by a Netflix series. Marie Kondo, eat your heart out.
So that’s how I keep my house in somewhat decent shape most of the time. I’d post carefully curated pictures of my home, but I’ve had a few glasses of wine. When I get up to pee in a few minutes, I’m planning on wiping down the kitchen counters with a disinfectant spray. Fast and lemony fresh! Well, for the kitchen counters, anyway. For those of you trying The Lush method of housecleaning, I do recommend taking extra care to keep your cleaning equipment straight. Nothing worse than a Lysol wipe in the wrong place, amiright?
[Image credit: Image by klimkin on pixabay (no credit required, but a very cool picture and well worth checking out!)]