When I was a newlywed (back in the early 70s), one of our neighbors had a painted sign in her kitchen that read, "My House is Clean Enough to Be Healthly and Dirty Enough to Be Happy". On my recent trip to Utah, I found this same sign on a shelf at the Deseret Industries thrift store. Of course, I HAD to buy it.
Cleaning--it's something we all have to do, but does anyone really enjoy it (other than my mother-in-law)? And, with chemical sensitivities, what cleaning products are safe to use? (And, if they aren't safe for me, are they safe for anyone?)
Cleaning is a broad topic (since every thing and every one needs cleaning at some time or another), so this is going to take more than one post. We all probably have some general rules we work by, so maybe that would be a good place to start. These "rules" are certainly not a matter of right and wrong--more like a personal "philosophy of cleaning".
My number one general rule of cleaning is: Clean as you go.
If I spill on the kitchen counter, I take a wet rag and clean it up immediately. While fixing a meal, I keep a sink full of hot soapy water so I can wash dishes as I dirty them and set the pans to soak while we are eating. Obedience to this basic rule saves me a lot of time, not to mention elbow grease. Also, if a spill is wiped up or a soiled blouse set to soak immediately, there's no need for strong chemical cleaners after a spill becomes a set-in stain.
A rule my mother used was: Take as few steps as possible.
As you clean one room (or one floor of the house), make a pile of things to be taken into another room (or upstairs) and take it all in one trip.
This leads to another rule: Sort. (aka, The Pile Method)
As you are working on a project that involves papers, or cleaning up clutter of any kind (i.e. toys), sort things (or papers) into piles and then put them away (or file them) all at once. Of course, if the piles on your desk ARE your filing system, that's another matter entirely.
And that leads to another rule which my sister lives by:
Touch every piece of paper only once.
As papers come onto your desk or into your home, handle each one only once. Take care of it, respond to it or dispose of it (recycle, of course). I personally find this rule hard to follow all the time, but it's a worthy goal and leads to my last rule:
Keep a clean rag in every room (including your office).
With a clean rag always at hand you can clean up the spills as they happen and dust any surface during those moments (and in my house they are just moments) that the piles are cleared and you can actually see the surfaces beneath.
So, how do you make cleaning simpler and reduce the need for chemicals? What is your Philosophy of Cleaning?