Wednesday, April 8, 2009

I Need a Maid or a Hand Grenade

This morning as I was putting away clothes, I left a stack of my husband’s underwear on top of the dresser while I sorted his socks. When I lifted the underwear there was a space on the dresser that looked different from the rest because it was dust-free. I took the stack of underwear and wiped off the rest of the dresser and then put them away in the drawer.

Put Away Clothes: Check
Dust Dresser: Check

Now, I am not a domestic goddess or anything, but I do make an effort to keep the house tidy. Sometimes doing things the regular way does get boring. I have found that the trick to stay motivated about housekeeping is to make it interesting. Sometimes the kids will make it interesting for you . . .

When the little one rode by on a tricycle wearing nothing but a pair of socks, I asked him, “What are you doing?”
“I’m riding my tricycle.”
“You’re naked.”
“Oh, yeah. I forgot.”
Then I get to play “guess where his bottom has been so you know what areas to sanitize.” See, isn’t this fun?

A book that I read said that when you are cleaning house, you should try to stay focused on one thing at a time. You will be more efficient and will feel energized by completing a task.

“Where are your pants?” I asked the little one, as he strolled by in only a shirt.
“I got some pee on them.”
“How did? . . . Never mind. Did you put them in the hamper?”
“No, I put them back in my dresser.”
Then you get to wash and fold an entire drawer full of clothes instead of just one pair of pants.

Although I agree with the book about needing to stay focused, you have to be prepared for whatever household cleaning emergency may arise.

“There is a spider downstairs. It was freaking me out!”
“Where is it?”
“I killed it.”
“With what?”
“Brothers shoe.”
“Did you wipe it off.”
“With what?”
“The carpet.”

One website I looked at said to clean in short bursts, you will be amazed at how much you can get done in only 10 minutes. Although tough jobs take more time, it can be fun to go through the house like a cleaning tornado trying to whip the house into shape before the end of a commercial break. But even a tornado can be stopped in its tracks.

“Mom, smell my hand.”
“Why? What does . . .? P-EWWWWW!!! Your hand stinks! What have you been doing?!”
“I don’t want to tell you.”
“You’ll be mad.”
“Where has your hand been? I promise I won’t get mad.”
“My bottom itched.”
“Go wash your hands. Now! Do it now. Don’t touch anything.”

After an “itchy bottom” you get to play a new game, it is similar to ‘guess which surfaces need to be sanitized.’ Only this one is called “Guess which surfaces need to be disinfected.” It is pretty much the same from a strategic stand-point, the only differences are that it takes longer and it isn’t as much fun. Oh and it is still a single-player game.

If you don’t like to play games when you are cleaning, you could always take the opportunity to ponder some profound and theoretical questions. Things like: Why is toothpaste always spattered all over the mirror, am I the only one in the whole house whose neck can bend over the sink? And: If you vacuum up an estimated 20 Legos a day, how come the total number of Legos in the household does not seem to diminish but actually seems to increase?

Now, for one of the toughest cleaning chores there is, cleaning a teenager's room. Try not to go in if possible. Only enter if there is an aroma that is tainting the rest of the house. Start by throwing out anything that is beginning to grow roots. Take all cloth like materials (bedding, curtains, and clothes) and wash them. Empty the garbage—this includes the entire contents of the floor. If the room still cannot be revived, only resort to painting and spackling after the child has secured their own apartment. If the young person returns, chances are, so will the smell.

The household chores can really be an adventure if you just try and keep a positive attitude. If all else fails, I heard somewhere that if you leave the gas on in your oven and go shopping, the explosion will blow the dust off of everything and the heat will sanitize it. I have never tried it myself . . .

1 comment:

  1. I like that last idea best. When I was a teenager my mom threatened to have that section of the house removed! Does that work for you?