I am one of the few people I know who still deeps cleans. I’m not talking about washing dishes or making one’s bed. Most of the people I know follow those social rules. I’m talking about sweeping under furniture, washing the windows, dusting the chair molding and polishing the silver type of cleaning.
Deep Cleaning, like baking bread has mostly gone out of style in our very hectic modern lives. But believe me, like baking bread, it is an art form that gives back more energy than it takes.
Cleaning is my default action when I’m stressed. I remember in college cleaning my dorm windows right before registration time. The deep clean that fell upon our apartment before our wedding was legendary. And when I eventually get pregnant and go into nesting mode I may need to start offering my services out for free. It is a very safe, very healthy means of controlling the jitters.
Not all cleaning activities are created equal. I detest washing dishes and though I do it faithfully, I’m not big on scrubbing the tub with baking soda to get rid of soap scum. But there are certain cleaning activities that are the perfect pick me up when the world appears to be crashing or when everything is out of my control.
Dusting: I grew up in a Pledge household and even when we were teenagers we used cloth diapers to dust the armoires, table tops, mantle and chair legs in my parents’ home. Nowadays we use a greener dust spray and old, soft tee-shirts on the wooden surfaces in our apartment. Few cleaning activities allow you to turn a dust-laden surface into a shining table top. It is an extraordinary and easy accomplishment. A feather duster applied to a bookcase or plant reveals brighter colors and cleaner surfaces with a mere flick of the wrist. And nothing is more exciting than climbing on a chair with a broom to sweep the ceiling free of cobwebs. We are talking mountain-moving exhilaration.
Sweeping: Staying on the same theme of large quantities of actual dirt and minimal effort, we must discuss sweeping. Our apartment is entirely wood floors and windows—a very dangerous combination. With 17 windows and 4 directions of sun light we accumulate dust faster than any house I’ve ever lived in. I could sweep every week and come away with a mound of dust even though we walk barefoot in our home and don’t have pets. I love the feel of a freshly swept floor under bare feet. Even though most people wouldn’t be able to feel the dirt and certainly not see it, every time I sweep I revel in the smoothness of a clean floor.
Vacuum: We have one teeny area rug that gather dust very quickly and with about 30 seconds of vacuuming look like we just bought it even though it is 12 or 15 years old. For those of you with floor-to-floor carpets I envy you the long sweeps of smoothing out footprints and couch prints. It really is a rather poetic cleaning activity.
Window Washing: The aforementioned 17 windows in our apartment are all very large and get cleaned once or twice a year. It takes up to two days of serious 2-person labor to create this much sunlight. But it is worth it. I like to use a water and white vinegar combination with first paper towels and then old newspaper. This cuts down on streaks and makes them even cleaner. It is a trick my mother told me my grandmother used to use. So all the better. Don’t miss out on the opportunity to scrub the sill and the window frame. They get fabulously dirty and will look so white and shiny with a tiny bit of work.
No matter how large or small your home is, there is an infinite amount of deep cleaning that can happen whenever you need some freshening up. You will immediately feel accomplished, satisfied and in control of your own destiny. Why wait for spring to feel this good. You could find a small project to accomplish after work today. Don’t have time today, as my mother always says, the mess will wait for you.
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