Carolyn’s Column

By Carolyn Beachy
Posted 6/10/99

Once in a while, I remember my friend who washes her windows, all of them, every week. Once, she decided that when the allotted time for washing windows came around, she was not going to wash them. …

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Carolyn’s Column


Once in a while, I remember my friend who washes her windows, all of them, every week. Once, she decided that when the allotted time for washing windows came around, she was not going to wash them. After all, she didn’t know many other people who faithfully adhered to this practice. However, when the time came for her to wash windows, she didn’t know what else to do, so she gave in and washed them after all.

I admire this friend. Her habit also makes me slightly incredulous. Maybe that’s because for me, cleaning house takes special fortitude and talent. Often, I don’t see what should be cleaned until the door bell rings. And I laugh a lot at coined statements like, “A messy kitchen is a happy kitchen, and this kitchen is delirious,” or “A clean house is a sign of a misspent life.” They may not be totally true, but they represent an important segment of our population, not on the same end of the spectrum as my friend.

Anyway, spring cleaning should be about over if you do it every year. If you’re like my friend, it’s really not a necessity. But if you’re like me, spring cleaning is a misnomer, because my kind of cleaning isn’t seasonal. It’s a year round need.

There ought to be a day honoring expert house cleaners. Of course, to qualify, you’d have to pass a test. On it, you would have to list the things you know should be done to have a truly clean house. They could be matched with a master list and if you have, say, 3/4 of them, you’re in. This would simply be a test of knowledge. There would be no statement at the bottom like “I solemnly promise that I do all of the above” with a blank line for a signature. And in the fine print, there would be a promise of no house inspections. I might actually pass if it were set up this way.

I’ve started compiling a master list. I’ve gotten help from some of you. This list will help you see what still needs to be included (let me know), and give you a head start on studying for the test.

Wash out wastebaskets…touch up any area that needs it with paint…use q-tips and toothbrushes on hard to get places, like around faucets, grooves on light covers, and any small cracks and crevices…move furniture and clean behind it…go through closets and drawers and throw stuff away…destroy those spider webs…wash down walls…wash toys and portable fans…scrub pots and pans with an aluminum and stainless steel cleaner…wash and scrub and wipe small electric appliances…especially between the buttons on the blender…polish silverware and silver candlesticks and silver anything…put lemon oil on all wood surfaces once a month…get all the bugs out of light covers…dust ceiling fans…move refrigerator and stove out to clean behind, brush dust off the coils under the refrigerator, clean seals on freezer door…wash around inside of dishwasher door…wash the fronts of cupboard doors, including the knobs…wash open space above cupboards…clean under the kitchen sink…clean underneath and all around and in toilets…scrub sinks and don’t forget down in the drain…take everything off the shelves for dusting, and get those top shelves where only tall people can see…dust baseboards and above door frames…wash silk flowers…wash those wonderful miniblinds…wash exhaust fan area above stove, including those greasy screens…bleach old countertops…shampoo carpets and upholstery…wash windows and curtains…scrub floors…shine mirrors…hose down sidewalks, siding, cement slabs…weed flower beds. Is the housecleaning about finished? The garage is waiting.

I asked one lady what she does if she wants to do a really good job cleaning her house. She said, “Call my friends!” What a good idea, especially if they’re like my window washing friend. But if it doesn’t suit for them to come, you have a couple other options. Consult this list and get to work. Or coin a statement like, “I may get to it, but if it doesn’t get done; clean or dirty, this house is a home.” And don’t forget the upcoming test.