Monday, September 20, 2010

Fall Cleaning

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Everyone talks about Spring Cleaning, but the last thing I want to do when the weather turns nice is stay inside and scrub the floors. Or whatever. Fall Cleaning -- now, that’s different.

The house has been somewhat neglected during the summer, with all our energy going into outside projects. The windows have been open, allowing dust to creep in through the screens, and all the effort of late to preserve the garden harvest has had its affect on the kitchen.

And the kicker? A dinner party. Nothing like several other couples coming over to cause a cleaning frenzy.

So now the floors are scrubbed, as are the baseboards, the tops of the cupboards, and the insides of the refrigerator and the dishwasher. Windows gleam. I’ve dusted books and CDs, wiped out medicine chests and vacuumed the bricks around the fireplace – as well as just about everything else. I was surprised and gratified to learn the green dry cleaner doesn’t charge any more than the ones that use harsh chemicals. So now the blankets and quilts are fresh and bright on the beds.

My favorite cleaning products? Vinegar, Barkeepers Friend or Bon Ami, baking soda and lemon oil. The steam mop does wonders for the tile floor, and even freshens carpet using only water. Microfiber cloths snap up dust and are reusable. Pieces of old t-shirts and terrycloth towels make the best cleaning rags.

The dinner party was a success. We had a barbecue on the patio. In the dark. Hardly anyone came inside at all. Stop laughing.

The one place I haven’t touched yet is my office. It looks like a bomb went off in it. This is not unusual, mind you, but the mess is bad feng shui at best and detrimental to my work at worst. I have several projects going on right now, and I need to feel organized.

Actually, I need to BE organized, too. There can be a difference, at least in my case.

It’s too much to tackle all at once, though. So I’m plugging along with writing and planning, plotting and researching, reading and critiquing, all in my untidy office. And once a day I put everything aside, turn my hourglass upside down, and work at getting my work space under control. So far I’ve spent most of the time sorting through paperwork and throwing things away.

Then I empty the trash and the recycle. And every time the room is a little clearer, and my mental clutter is a little lighter.

If this office cleaning keeps going so well I might just try the same method on the basement next. You never know. Crazier things have happened.

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