Tuesday, August 1, 2017

What's Your Cleaning Personality?

Cleaning. Photography. Britannica ImageQuest, Encyclopædia Britannica, 25 May 2016.
quest.eb.com/search/132_1255602/1/132_1255602/cite. Accessed 29 Jul 2017.
Not to suggest that there are only three ways to clean, but we happened to be reading 3 housekeeping books recently (you can imagine what prompted our excursion through this subject) and were intrigued by their different takes on orderliness.

Do you just need to get organized?
If your house is clean but cluttered, try Spark Joy: An Illustrated Master Class on the Art of  Organizing and Tidying Up by Marie Kondo.

KonMari (as the author is nicknamed in her native Japan) put this out as a follow-up to her bestselling The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up. We almost feel she's mellowed - we don't remember any talk of a "gray zone" in the first book, or suggestions that you can save items for indoor cosplay, and a statement like "the act of discarding things on its own will never bring joy to your life" smacks faintly of blasphemy. Helpful, though, is her definition of  tidying up - "tidying up means confronting yourself" - as opposed to cleaning, which is "confronting nature." Spark Joy is definitely about tidying. How to place things, hang things, fold items (there's a lot of folding methods, who knew?) and pack drawers, suggestions for parting with and discarding items. KonMari does touch on different areas of the house, but it's all about how to store all the items you've kept because they spark joy.

Maybe you want to be more organized about cleaning.
Your house needs cleaning. You don't have time and you feel overwhelmed. How do you start? Maybe you'd like charts to help you stay on track. Perhaps you'd like to deep clean using less toxic cleaners that you can make yourself. You need Simply Clean: The Proven Method for Keeping Your Home Organized, Clean, and Beautiful in Just 10 Minutes a Day by Becky Rapinchuk.

We had heard of Becky Rapinchuk before, because people had shared some of her Clean Mama charts on Facebook. Simply Clean wants to be your cleaning bible. Rapinchuk offers a down-and-dirty take on establishing your cleanliness goals ("Just Start Somewhere: Every Day a Little Something") and puts you immediately on  a weekly cleaning schedule -Wednesday is vacuuming day, Thursday is floor washing day, etc. She recommends putting together "a cute cleaning caddy that makes you actually want to clean," suggests a 7-day kick start and a 28-day challenge for those who need a boost, and then moves into monthly and yearly cleaning schedules. There are checklists of tasks for you to fill in, recipes for cleaning products, and a section called "how to clean anything." She touches on organizing and decluttering, but her focus is cleaning, so expect to use elbow grease. Rapinchuk remains upbeat and down-to-earth in her presentation - you've got this! She did it, and so can you, in just 10 minutes a day.

You are a slob. You live with a slob. You need emergency action.
My Boyfriend Barfed in My Handbag...And Other Things You Can't Ask Martha by Jolie Kerr begins, "If you're here it means that you've got a cleaning disaster on your hands." You're not thinking about organizing - you have a mess on your hands. Maybe you don't even know how much of a mess!

We were first introduced to Jolie Kerr by her online column, "Ask a Clean Person." Kerr tackles the nitty-gritty of cleaning your kitchen, your bathroom, your laundry, your wedding regalia and gifts, your car, and "the things you really can't ask Martha (or Mom, for that matter)" - there really is advice for cleaning barf out of a purse, goo out of your pocket, and more intimate messes. You will learn how to clean your hairbrush, your hot rollers, your forced heat radiators, your greasy vent hood, your washer and dryer. You will learn how to tackle an assortment of stains using different methods (although the author admits she is obsessed with OxiClean). And throughout, Jolie Kerr will not mollycoddle you. The world is a a disgusting place, and there is mess everywhere. She is plain-spoken and reassuring ("Now, then, that wasn't too bad, was it? I bet you thought our discussion of bathroom cleaning would be far more scarring!") and not afraid to touch on the rude details - a mushroom could grow in your house, your laundry could mildew, you have to clean your pumice stone because you are rubbing it on your "gross feet," and that pee smell in your bathroom might be the floor or the walls around the toilet, particularly if you have men and children in the house. Less of the natural solutions to your cleaning dilemma, but touches on cleaning issues you've never heard of or might be embarrassed to discuss, many of them taken from real-life scenarios that she received letters about.

Which is closer to your cleaning personality? We got the information we were looking for (about carpet-cleaning) from Simply Clean, but now that we read My Boyfriend Barfed in My Handbag we will be cleaning our radiators. We're still working on tidying up.

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