Cleaning House

"These are so gross. This needs to be done annually." Thanks for volunteering, son!
“These are so gross. This needs to be done annually.” Thanks for volunteering, son!

Some people call it Spring cleaning. My mother said we were “deep cleaning,” but by any other name washing walls (and cabinets) is still work.

And we all agree with Garfield that “work is a four-letter word.”

I’m fortunate to have two strong and tall sons. They still had to climb up on a chair to reach the top shelves of the kitchen cabinets. I ask you: does it make sense to have a shelf you cannot reach? What should you store on such a shelf?

I had my son retrieve a collection of cookie and candy tins I have been collecting over the past many Christmas seasons. I wanted to keep them so I could bake cookies and give them as gifts. Needless to say, a few went in the garage sale box, one went in the garbage bag and the others went back on that impossible-to-reach top shelf.

We had a process for cleaning the kitchen cabinets. I pulled the stuff out and set in on the countertop. This way, I could move the items for sale to the garage sale box and dump the junk in the garbage bag.

Behind me, my oldest son used regular soap and water and a rag to wipe the inside of the cupboards. After he dried them, I placed the “kept” items back inside. My youngest son used the bucket of Murphy’s Oil Soap and water to wipe down the outside of the lovely maple cabinets.

I ask you: who did the most work? Especially since I also cleaned, wiped out and organized the bank of drawers by the stove and the other drawers that hold all the silverware and utensils.

Who do you think complained and had to be compelled to continue working? Yeah, the same one who volunteered for what he believed would be the easiest of the jobs.

Silly boy. He forgot that I’m the “mean mother.” I made him do the inside and out of the freestanding pantry. It is, after all, wood on all sides.

Just like the other times I’ve asked them to help clean the house, I provided lunch. They picked out the pizza they wanted. I told them to order cheese stuffed breadsticks, too, if they wanted them.

Washing walls and cabinets ranks right up there with scrubbing toilets and cleaning grout with a toothbrush. I understand their reluctance toward participating in these tasks. And I was graciously thankful that they were here to help me with it. I would have had to spend an entire day on the project, but the three of us could finish in three hours.

I’m clearing off the counters and making it look sparkly and shiny. My husband will get his camera out and take pictures for the online scrapbook we’ll use when we attempt to sell our home.

Hopefully, prospective buyers won’t be too shocked to see the cluttered version when they arrive in person. It’s hard to keep all the junk off the counter when people keep mailing more every day.

What’s your least favorite cleaning task? Do you have a cleaning horror story to share?

5 thoughts on “Cleaning House”

    1. I didn’t know you had a blog, niece of mine. I will have to check it out. I’m always thankful for an extra pair (or two) of hands when it’s time to clean. Your mother and I used to joke that the only reason we had kids was so someone else could do the dishes.

      1. Oh yes, I started a blog recently, aunt of mine. Thank you! I’m always thankful for people who clean up after themselves. I remember mom and you joking about that!

  1. At the end of last year I had to pack up a Queenslander house with five bedrooms and two floors on my own…. My husband had moved overseas (I was following) and the four children had all flown the coop to various cities and countries of Australia and New Zealand. I did manage to get the two boys over on the final day, along with my brother, to move all the large remaining furniture into the store room downstairs. But, basically I spent three months moving a piece of furniture at a time into the store room and packing it with boxes, clothes etc. We have a local St Vinnies nearby so we became their most valued donators of clothes, old toys, books and kitchen contraptions. In the last weeks I had a skip delivered to the front lawn where all the ‘throw away’ stuff was deposited…..having been stored in the garage and under the back deck over the three month period. The thought of having a garage sale was a fleeting one! I was happy to toss, donate and deposit, rather than go through the ordeal.
    The house is now rented in our absence and I have told my husband I have no desire to ever live back in the house again. As gorgeous as it is in sunny Brisbane, Australia, with a beautiful water-hole pool and palm trees surrounding a fairly maintenance free yard it is now too big for two of us.
    ….I think the stress of the final months living in the house on my may have left a little scar as well…….

    1. I would have travelled to Australia to help you. I probably will never have another excuse to go.
      Moving in general is painful and time consuming. I’m all about having a big dumpster out front for all the stuff we collect over the years and have rarely used.
      Let me know if your husband goes for the downsizing thing. Mine is being rather obstinate…

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