Thursday, March 31, 2011

The Categories of Cleaning

{I don't know how many times I have typed "cateRgories"...if you ever see it that way here just know that I do know how to spell, my fingers just slip!}

I think I may have worked as a Professional Organizer in another life.  If not, and if I believed in reincarnation, I'd want to come back as one.  (However, the entire concept of reincarnation just makes me tired.  I mean, this life has been challenging enough, do I really want to come back for another go-round??  I think not.)

In the process of trying to 'teach' my older child how to go about cleaning her room (I know, I know - you shouldn't have to 'teach' a child 'how to clean'.  But this particular child is VERY LITERAL in the way she thinks and will probably grow up to be a lawyer or something because she like to argue every single point with me.  Not sure where she get this tendency, wink wink.), I realized there are actually two categories to cleaning: Nooks 'n' Crannies cleaning, and Soap 'n' Water cleaning.

1) Nooks'n'Crannies cleaning: this means systematically and regularly going through every single storage space, flat surface, drawer, closet in your living space.  Any space that is used to store stuff falls into this category - starting with your attic or crawl space, moving through any and all drawers, closets, shelves, down into any kitchen cabinets and pantries (you know you have expired cans of peas in there), bookshelves, DVD and/or CD storage, coffee-table shelves...and on into the basement if you have one.  Basically anywhere you can set something down and forget about it, qualifies as a "nook" or "cranny" and can also be described as "a flat surface not used on a daily basis where I can deposit piles of cr*p and forget about it".

Why go through all these little spaces?  Because my friend, if you don't, you are basically straightening up, storing, and cleaning around vast amounts of JUNK which, really, you haven't used/touched/thought about in a really long time.  If you don't regularly go through this stuff...well, pretty soon you're being featured on an episode of "H.oarders" and you're not even sure how it got to that point!  So, instead of ignoring all these spaces (hoping the junk grows legs and walks itself to the junk bin just really doesn't work), take one shelf or one area, and just go through the stuff.  Use the three categories we have all learned from watching shows like "H.oarders" - the "keep" pile, the "pitch" pile, and the "donate" pile.  Put the "pitch" stuff immediately into a garbage bag, and put it immediately into the trash.  Take the donate stuff and put it into its own bag, and put it immediately into your car....and the next time you drive by the Good.will drop-off, drop it off!!

2) Soap'n'Water cleaning:  This has to come second in the process because otherwise, you are having to move piles of stuff just to get to the surface you want to clean, right?  I mean, it is hard to wipe down the shelves in a closet if you open the closet door, and can't even see the shelves because they are covered with stuff you can't remember ever having bought or used, and really don't want.  No, you would open that closet door and look at all the stuff taking up your (perhaps only) spot to store things....and close the door again, right? 

I will be honest in saying that I have not been successful in doing this kind of cleaning throughout my entire house!  These cleaning suggestions came to mind as I pondered the contrasts between how I "clean" and how my husband cleans.  He has a tendency to straighten the clutter, and I don't think something is truly clean unless I've gone through the clutter and gotten rid of stuff, and then cleaned/dusted the surface.  His method definitely makes things "look" cleaner more quickly!

Thanks for reading!


Rachel said...

So if I extend an invitation to both you and your husband to my house for a cleaning party we can get both categories accomplished! He can move stuff and you can clean with soap and water! This will keep me off an episode of hoarders. I hear they are featuring me soon! Just kidding but I do need to organize my kitchen!

Diplo_Daddy said...

My wife would love you! She occasionally crawls my backside because, I never dust—ANYTHING in our house. It’s boring, time consuming, and I just hate doing it. I don’t mind vacuuming floors, mopping, cleaning bathrooms or evening doing laundry—ironing too. But dusting... My general rule of thumb for dusting is: leave it to my wife.

An said...

Ooooo.... can you come over to my house soon, please, to help me clean? Lately - with the change in weather - I've begun collecting items to donate, and tossing stuff that has been accumulating when it was intended for the trash, but somehow ended up piling up in some of those 'nooks and crannies' in our house. It feels really really good to get the house emptied of clutter!

JMB said...

Hi Rachel! Sure thing, I'll/we'll come clean your place...cuz you know, it is always easier to clean someone else's space than one's own, right?

Hello Diplo_Daddy - hmmm, no, your wife probably would not enjoy my current dusting method, which is this: take a deep breath and blow the dust off the surface...then the dust (eventually) lands on the floor, where it then gets vacuumed up! Done! :-)

Annie - I'm so there!!!!! Love you! I'm glad the commenting is working now, I'm not sure why it was doing that for you.