©copyright 2005 Bonita M Quesinberry, R.C.
. . . But! I love a clean home. So, I don’t clean house: never scrub sinks, commodes and tubs or spend time looking for misplaced items. Think I have a maid? Nope. Instead, I keep a clean house. Does this sound redundant? Well, it really isn’t. Some call me Queen of Clean; but, more often, I’m accused of being obsessive-compulsive about cleaning: although, they’ve never seen me at the task. By definition and experience as a counselor, this would mean I’m cleaning round the clock what already is clean. Remember: I hate housework! Besides, with MS and a host of other maladies, I look for the easy way out.
I’m a typical Gemini with myriad interests, which I actively pursue; so, I’m not about to spend every waking moment cleaning: mother, grandmother, author, counselor, director of both TSaS and Lighthouse of Prayer; poet; personally maintain an acre of beautiful lawn and gardens; shopping, crochet; go out with friends, help others; and, amidst all these activities, my abode stays immaculate, laundry done, and even cook for myself as well as care for my ferrets— one ailing with cancer for the last two years.
Some might say, “Well, obviously, you don’t have a husband and kids to pick up after.” Well, I do have Cocoa and Princess; but, no, I don’t; albeit, for many years I certainly did— even used cloth diapers, instead of throw-aways, with three children— and nothing was any different then than it is now. My children were taught from the cradle up; and, any parent who isn’t doing this is in for a very bumpy ride and many disappointments as well as heartaches: not to mention kids who are ill prepared for adult reality.
I’d much rather spend my time doing things I love, such as playing with the kids; thus, over the years I’ve developed a number of tricks to maintaining a sparkling home with very little effort or time involved. How about approximately an hour each day, most times far less? What I offer here not only applies to our homes but our jobs as well.
The first trick is to look at chores or tasks in terms of minutes, as opposed to hours, the latter of which can be overwhelming and cause one to put off. Next, be well organized: everything has a place and everything in its place. You say you aren’t organized? Then get organized: one room at a time. It takes less time to return something to its place than it does to set it down willy-nilly, then later have to waste time just to find and put it away. Being organized aids speed; for efficiency organize closets, drawers, desks and cabinets.
Also, clean from the back of the house to the front, including vacuuming, carrying anything with you that needs to be put away, washed, or thrown away: such as an empty glass on the night table, carrying a bag to empty wastebaskets, etc. No backtracking. Dusting is the last thing done. As for husband and children: they should be a part of maintaining the home you each share— no one should be classified as the maid.
Remember I said I don’t scrub sinks, commodes/toilets or tubs/shower stalls. When finished with a sink, dry it out before hanging up the towel. Before drying self off and while still in the shower or tub, towel down the tub or shower including those shiny fixtures; which prevents corrosion and they always shine— within this couple of minutes, you already are dry: better for our skin to air dry, which prevents overly dry skin! This keeps fixtures clean thus scrubbing unnecessary. It also eliminates even the possibility of dangerous mold forming, which ultimately will get inside walls where it can’t be cleaned.
As for commodes, simply keep the brush nearby and every few days or so, when you happen to be there, swish it around the bowl then take a small bit of toilet paper to wipe of splashed moisture; which effectively cleans the seat and rim. Boys and men really don’t have to stand to do their business: besides, their aim is terribly off the mark! If they insist upon standing, then they should clean up their mess, including the spattered walls.
Another trick: do not wear shoes indoors. People really don’t mind removing their shoes inside the door when they know their feet or socks will not get black walking on filthy floors! Quickly vacuum daily as well as run a damp mop over tile floors: this also will prevent carpet and tile from wearing out, keeping it in like-new condition. I hate to waste money by having to replace something that, if it had been properly cared for, otherwise would not have needed replacing. I think of better ways to spend money. Nevertheless, if something gets spilt on the floor, immediately wipe up with a damp rag.
Every six months, dry shampoo carpets and strip tile floors of old wax. Apply a thin coat of Turtle Paste Wax for cars, buff it, then apply two coats of Johnson Clear Wax: the floors look like they have a sheet of glass over them and will remain this way with just daily damp mopping for the next six months— never any wax build up in corners, etc. This does not apply to self-shine tile or linoleum. About four hours work twice a year.
Laundry is done when a load accumulates: for those with children, it will mean doing at least one load daily— immediately folded as taken from the dryer and properly put away. Do not, under any circumstances, take out all the dry laundry and pile it somewhere else to be folded: this takes much more time and causes procrastination.
Clean up the kitchen as a meal is being prepared. This way, when dinner is finished, the only thing left to clean will be dishes on the table. Dishwasher: stack it as you go and run it only when full. Put clean dishes away each morning and begin stacking process again. Never leave dirty dishes in the sink. No dishwasher? Then wash them immediately, dry and put away. Procrastination occurs when things are left for later.
It’s okay to let a little dust accumulate. It isn’t necessary to dust furniture every day; perhaps, once a week. I have a lot of glass tables, mirrors, and fine woods: glass and mirrors clean without smearing if a cloth-wet-with-plain water is used, then dried with crumpled newspaper: Voila! No smears and no lint. A bit of Endust® or pure lemon oil on a soft cloth is great for dusting woods. I rarely clean glass and mirrors: if something gets splashed on them, immediately wipe and dry off; otherwise just dust.
And, the acre of lawn and gardens: Tuesdays I mow and Fridays mow and trim; always clean up the mower and Weedeater when done. This makes mowing not only easier and faster but it also prevents the grass from burning by cutting too much off the top AND assures that my weekend will be entirely free of work. When hand watering the gardens, I pluck up weeds as I see them. I fertilize the lawn every two months with Scott’s Weed and Feed®, and fertilize the gardens monthly with Rapid Grow Shake and Feed®.
About an hour to mow and another thirty minutes at most to trim as well as clean the equipment: so, in a week, I’ve spent perhaps 2.5 hours on the lawn. I’ll spend another couple of hours every three or four days hand watering both lawn and gardens, which allows me to pluck up weeds before they have a chance to take hold— as well as solve the world’s problems in the bargain. About 7 hours, in any given week, keeps this acre park-like. When I had just a small yard, I spent very little time keeping it beautiful.
No one need be a slave to housework— spending hours of backbreaking scrubbing and dusting and polishing— or maintaining lawns and gardens. With organization and a maintenance attitude, as opposed to a once-a-week-cleaning/mowing mentality, one can keep a beautiful house and grounds in very little time; time I am sure you’d rather spend doing other, more enjoyable things.
A week consists of 168 hours, less 42 to 56 hours for sleeping; depending on individual needs: at the least, 112 hours remain. From this total, I personally can deduct about 6 hours for the house and another 7 hours for the grounds, leaving a total of 99 hours to prepare meals, eat and do as I please. Your grounds may not be as large as mine; so, you might wind up with more free time than I do.
This equates to approximately 14.1 hours of free time each day! Okay, okay! I hear ya! You work a fulltime job of 8 hours plus commute time of, say 2 hours. You still have 4.1 hours of free time every day— that’s 1,476 hours of free time per year! More on the Lord’s Sabbath: because I do absolutely no work on that day, except in God’s Word, and neither should you.
Don’t clean house! Keep a clean house. . . THE EASY WAY!
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