Get your sparkle on — resistance is futile

I channel June Cleaver and listen to Amy Winehouse Death and taxes, and housekeeping; it’s funny that most sensible people acknowledge the first two as inevitable, but rail against the last. Darlings, before you tune me out, let me tell you almost anyone who lives well does some housekeeping, unless they are the Queen of England, Donald Trump, or someone equally exotic and well-heeled.

I don’t hate housekeeping. I find a Zen-like peace in making things orderly and clean. Often when I’m busy at some household task, my mind is far away unraveling a problem, planning a menu, or working on a writing project. I wonder at creative people who work at home, but have no time for housework. I find getting up from desk and buzzing through my home to straighten, rearrange, or just clean clears my mind too. Fresh ideas flow as the clutter and dust fly.
 
Granted, if I decided to hate housework and resent the time it took to do it, I doubt I would have such a pleasant or productive time. But the housework, alas, would still have to be done.
 
I understand the pressure of frantic schedules; I have been on them. Help is a lifesaver when you are super busy, if you can get it. But even with help — unless you are lucky enough to have housekeeper and butler — you will still be the organizer. And you will still do some daily housework if you want live graciously. If you have a husband and or children, you will have even more bodies and stuff to organize.
 
Half the battle is putting your resentment to rest. The other half is finding your own rhythm. I will never be Martha Stewart, although I admire her. My dedication stops just short of hers. While I long for her perfectly-labeled canisters and shelves; I settle for neat and sparkling clean. Your ideal level of domestic perfection is up to you.
 
Resenting cleaning gets you nowhere. I had a friend in Moscow who employed a full-time maid, but her house was always a shambles. She hates housework and feels it demeans her. She thinks of it as “stealing her valuable time”.  She thought her maid would do it all and free her to do as she liked. Her maid was tireless, but disorganized. Drying laundry hung perpetually from her kitchen ceiling. As her maid washed and ironed her underwear and even polished her shoes, she and she husband amassed mountains of paper and books in piles around the apartment. Until, she learned to take charge of her own home her house was a mess with a full-time maid.
 
Finally, she buckled down and learned to sort her desk, discard, and get organized. The change was astounding. But what was totally frightening is how she resisted doing the most basic daily tasks. Yet, she was thrilled with the result her small efforts made. It’s hard to convert the housework-hater to a daily routine of tidiness. I’m not sure why, as many who try often find to their likening.
 
While I don’t hate housework, I am sure I would if I had to clean a filthy house. I’d loathe it. But having a daily routine things keeps under control.  I keep cleaning supplies stashed in every bathroom and in my kitchen as well. I hardly ever leave those rooms without wiping everything that needs it. I can do a bathroom in less than three minutes. The kitchen takes a quick five. At least four days a week I do a little straightening and wiping throughout out the house. That is a tip that I gleaned from lifestyle maven Alexandra Stoddard. I adore her books. It is amazing how fast you can clean a home that has had daily care.
 
There are a million tips and tricks to a get a home spic and span quickly. There are also new products that make it snap.   Editor Alice Farnsworth hates to clean, but has fallen in love with Clorox Green Works. She says the line of products makes cleaning more fun. She also has adopted my trick of stashing cleaning stuff and constantly wiping. She said it changed her life.
 
Alice is onto something. Recently, I have been testing out “green products”.
I have been trying supplies from Mrs. Meyers Clean Day and GoldCanyon Homeology. I really like them both.  Homeology is available by mail-order to the U.S. and Canada. They have flat $5.95 shipping fee that helps make the slightly higher price of "green" cleaning products more appealing. Mrs. Meyers is sold at stores and online.
 
Both lines are scented with natural essential oils. Mrs. Meyers has unscented products available too. It is amazing how cheerful you can feel spritzing and wiping to the scent of flowers and spices rather than chemicals. You may not believe me, but it’s so heavenly you may even look forward to wiping the bathroom or cleaning the kitchen counters.
 
In the past I have resisted “green cleaners” because they streaked or seemed not to really clean well. I have a lot glass. If I am going to clean, I want things to sparkle! Homeology Glass is not cheap at $11.98 US for a large bottle. But the plant-based glass cleaner, infused with essential oils of peppermint, lavender, lemon, rosemary and eucalyptus does not streak. I also really like Homeology Floor Cleaner infused with essential oils of lavender, eucalyptus, and sweet orange.  It lets me clean my ceramic tile kitchen floor in just minutes after dinner with a micro-fiber mop. It works great on hardwood too. All the Homeology products are refillable at more affordable $8.50 US. http://www.goldcanyon.com/shop/default.aspx?productline=3&cid=1

 

 

 

I have also been using Mrs. Meyer’s Clean Day Geranium General Purpose Cleaner. I dilute it  into spray bottles. I use it on the bathrooms and kitchen. It does a great job on everything, although I still use a stronger cleanser in parts of the bathroom. And I like Comet with bleach to get stains of my white sink and counter. 
Mrs. Meyers is a great cleaner that seems to work on everything. I have even cleaned mirrors with it.  At $7.99 a bottle for 32 ounces, it is not cheap, but diluting makes it go a long way. I find I need to use it straight on stubborn kitchen messes. The scent is fabulous and lingers in the bathrooms nicely.
 
Some people recommend cleaning with vinegar and other things. I scrub a few things with baking soda and clean my copper with a home-made concoction, but I find this type of cleaning stinks — literally. It also never seems as cheap as advertised. But if you are into it, go for it.
 
If you hate cleaning, treat yourself to one of these new spirit-lifting cleaners and see if it weakens your resistance. And if you are a happy housekeeper and I am sure many of you are paragons that put me to shame, reward yourself!
 
Coming home to a lovely, clean house or apartment is a joy. Even the simplest abodes can be lovely when looked after with care. I have seen million dollar-plus nests made inhospitable by ladies too busy to take care. No one notices an $800 vase filled with exotic fresh flowers surrounded by junk and dust – at least not in a good way.  
 
Darlings, stop resisting. Some housework is inevitable. If you can afford it, get a good helper and train her. Family and partners need to pitch in and help too, but they’ll need a leader and a routine. Either way, the sooner you tidy up or clean every day, the easier and lovelier your life will be. So find your rhythm and learn to love it – or at least not to resist it.
 
As for rhythm, these days I like to dust-bust to Amy Winehouse and Etta James. But, play what ever helps you get your sparkle on.
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Clean Green

http://thegroutcleaningstore.com/images/pail_red.jpgDolceDolce’s Alice Farnsworth hates house work and she doesn’t care who knows it. That is why we decided she should test out tht new green Clorox cleaning products. If they could get Alice in a good mood while cleaning, we knew they had to be fabulous. Again, here’s Alice:
 
I hate housework and have always envied my more obsessive friends who, unlike me, are able to get it all done without moaning and groaning. So, it is with great surprise to all that I am absolutely rhapsodic about a new cleaner which I have been pushing on all my friends, with some success.
 
Green Works, by The Clorox Company, works better than any of the other name brand products I have used. All of these products are made from plant-based ingredients, are biodegradable, non-allergenic, and are not tested on animals. The plastic bottles can be recycled.
 
WOW! Do they work! The wonderful smelling all-purpose cleaner usually cleans sticky counters with just one spray. It also leaves stainless steel sinks and faucets sparkling. I can say the same for the glass cleaner and toilet bowl cleaner. The dishwashing detergent cuts grease like nothing else I have ever seen. A friend who is allergic to all other detergents was able use this product without gloves. To top it off, I actually enjoy using Green Works. They work so well.
 
Green Works cleaners are available in grocery, drug and mass retailers. Green Works is inexpensively priced. And it’s even better value because you need so little to do the job.
 

http://www.clorox.com/products/overview.php?prod_id=gw

 

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