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Friday, October 16, 2009

It's Spring...Must Clean

Spring has long since arrived (although, for some us, it hasn't always felt that way over the past couple of weeks). It's right about now I turn my thoughts to the need for dustless rooms and aired bedding.

During each of my three pregnancies, I'd inevitably go through a phase of getting a little cleaning crazy. (The good old "nesting instinct" kicking in.) Not surprisingly, Hubby LOVED this part of pregnancy. Windows had to be washed, the tops of doorways dusted, and venetian blinds wiped clean. Fortunately, many of these cleaning frenzies occurred just before my mother-in-law came to visit. Not that she arrives and immediately whips out the white glove to run her finger along all my surfaces, but if there's one person you want to impress with your cleaning, it's your mother-in-law, right?

After the birth of my third son, and frustrated that I just couldn't seem to get any time whatsoever to clean the house, I bought a book called Speed Cleaning (by Shannon Lush and Jennifer Fleming). On the cover, the authors promised a "spotless house in just 15 minutes a day", which, of course, excited me - hence the reason I promptly bought it. Once home, however, and on closer examination inside the book, this was adjusted to 15 minutes per day, per person. With 5 of us, that meant my home could be spotless in just a short...let's see...1 hour and 15 minutes per day. Great.

Now don't get me wrong. I found the book helpful in part, and I picked up a few little tricks of the trade here and there. I have been known to walk around the house, spraying my mixture of lavender and water, and I use pantyhose to clean around the taps, just as the book suggested. Having said that, it's safe to say that I doubt I'll use the book's tip for cleaning an oil painting (you need some stale urine - about a litre of female's urine to be exact - salt and potato. I kid you not), nor will I steam up my bathroom by running the shower, so I can throw bi-carb all over it and then spray it with vinegar before hosing it all down. Nup. No thank you.

Anyway, due partly to the book, I had a pretty good routine going there for a while. But then, my youngest started to move (a sort of half-hearted commando crawl), and I spent more time picking up after him and tidying than what I did cleaning, and that hasn't stopped. (I don't know what it is about my third child, but he seems to be curious about what's inside SO many more cupboards than what my other two ever were!)

Then the other day, I happened to flick over to Oprah (don't judge - I was eating my lunch at the time), and there was fellow Aussie, and now Oprah favourite, Peter Walsh - a de-cluttering/organisational guru. He was at an apartment in New York, owned by a woman who seemed to not own a rubbish bin. She had garbage everywhere and every surface of her small shoe box of a residence was covered in....well, crap. The camera panned back to Oprah at one point, and with a look of disdain on her face, she announced: "I can't believe people live like that!" No, I bet you can't Oprah. You don't have kids to trash your house on a regular basis, and I'm going to take a gamble on this one and bet you have a cleaner, too.

It was then I decided it's time to set in place a new routine. Once again, I have found myself drowning amongst piles of ironing and untidy rooms - if I happen to be wearing my glasses around the house (which I rarely do, thank goodness) I see dust in places I hadn't noticed before. I don't plan to go crazy, like the man in this article. I'm not risking my life for the perfect home or anything, but it is time to do more than what I have been.

I like a good list. In fact, I'm not afraid of a timetable or two, and so my plan is to draw one up. I have to include time to parent my children, cook meals, help out on the school's P&F committee, reduce my ironing pile, take my children to their various after school activities, walk the dog, drop off my husband's dry cleaning each week, catch up with friends on occasion, do the weekly food shop, run errands, work on the fundraising committee at school, write in the school's weekly newsletter, blog - let's not forget that - and...oh, where was I going with this again? GOT IT! Clean. I have to tidy and then clean, clean, clean like a crazy woman.

Wish me luck.

Until next time...


Nomie said...

Good luck Jodie! Have been thinking the same... although my youngest Miss 8 still manages to leave a trail of destruction. Your list sounds exhausting even with out the cleaning... and similar to mine... but it would appear Spring still hasn't found it's way to Melbourne yet *sob* ... so will just let the dust settle a bit longer!

lifeinapinkfibro said...

I know the cleaning is now long over, but I go through this conundrum about once every...week. All the things I should do versus the things I have done. If only I had Oprah (and her staff) to help me.

toushka said...

seriously? piss to clean paintings? are you serious? =-O

SeraphimSP said...

I think the thing you actually need to do is get Oprah to give you HER cleaning lady. Wouldn't that save you a tonne of time and work? ;) Today Husband and I are headed over to Casa de Chaos to clean it up a bit, which is stupid as the builders are back on Monday, but the mess, the dust would make you weep I swear!

Maxabella said...

Great post to dig out, Jodie! That Speed Cleaning book freaked me out - it just doesn't work that way!!! I like sparkling surfaces and clutter-free benches.... but I'm absolutely not obsessive about it. I NOTICE when I don't get around to it but I don't get around to it, you know? My one trick is that when I do the weekly clean I do ONE thing extra each time (the fridge, the skirting boards, a cupboard, whatevs). Helps me stay on top of it all.

I love the quote my mother has on the fridge "I hate cleaning, just when you've finished you've got to turn around and do it all again next year".

kebeni said...

what is it with spring and cleaning, I have an uncontrollable urge this time every year

Claireyh said...

I hate cleaning, I quite happily walk past dust and piles of clothes these days until I can be bothered with it.

Gill@OurParklife said...

how funny, i just wrote about this book today....It has helped me sooo much but that is because I really really needed a few hints in this department...

I don't follow it religiously, it never takes me just 15 minutes to clean a room and yes, some of her tips are a little odd....i think it was snake poo she suggested you put in the corners of your house to deter mice?!

But it was organisation I needed and it has def. pushed me in the right direction...

Speaking of cleaning, my two year old has decided to draw on the wall in pen....anyone know what is the best product for getting pen off walls? Please?