Things have a habit of catching up with us when we least expect it. Take this strange weather of late – we’ve so far not had very much of a winter. It’s been horribly wet and muggy but so far the usual freezing frost and snowfalls forecast some weeks ago have not arrived yet That part is great, but the messy wet weather has caused all kinds of havoc with keeping the home clean and tidy. I feel so sorry for all those families with a dog or two! My neighbour is a prime example – there are 3 adults and a late teens daughter. And the dog, a gorgeous doe eye labradoodle with a fluffy scruffy coat that is usually a pretty creamy colour. It’s a strange brown and mud two tone now. Things got so bad recently that in addition to showering her down after tramps out in the park, they’ve now hired a professional agency to come in regularly to clean the carpets and furniture in the downstairs area. It does look fantastic in their lounge and the delightful aroma lingers – more so than the natural one that comes with wet dog!
Oh my goodness we have had the most ghastly wet couple of months – it is hard to believe that we also had one of the hottest and certainly the driest spring early summer too. This means that our gardens are gradually getting baked hard in the summer months and then the constant wet in the autumn and winter doesn’t have a chance to drain away. We noticed it all laying around far more than usual so that our daily walks are now not a case of enjoying the fresh air with sights and sounds of the outside – we’re having to be careful where we choose to walk out. The dogs are also getting frantic with boredom! I had an incident recently when my labrador brought in rather more damp squidgy leaf mould and trod it into the carpet. I couldn’t get the marks out myself but I have now had a professional carpet cleaning agency in to carry out some spot cleaning – and I am both amazed and impressed at the level of service. Hurrah
I do like to keep my honey coloured carpets in a pretty reasonable condition as far as it’s possible with the family activity levels as they are. Families tend to have lots of sporting activities so this equipment rgularly gets tossed on the floor whilst that missing sock is retreived, the golf clubs get checked over in the warm rather than in the chilly garage. Then there are the dogs. Love ’em as I do, there’s no escaping the mess that follows them in their wake. I have a wash and vac machine that does do a splendid job – you vac up very thoroughly, then after emptying you change the tank and hoses so it can now become a carpet cleaner. It is very good and makes an excellent job of the carpets but for special occasions, as in our daughter’s wedding the other year, we opted to have a professional carpet cleaning agent come for a weekend He did the entire house load of carpets and the resulting super clean brand new looking carpet with that luscious smell wafting for weeks was well worth the fee!
My family have just returned from a wonderful long holiday in north america. Being the start of our autumn, we were there for the fall leaves. To get there we travelled by cruise liner – it was as luxurious as it sounds and I made the very most of it all. The huge buffet hall was a wonder – breakfasts from 5am through 11’s, lunch afternoon tea and on into dinner. It was a very slick operation. Hundreds of people through at any one time meant great vigilence with respect to hygiene was needed. The scare of having any kind of onboard illness sweeping through was taken very seriously indeed. There were hand basins at the reception of every restaurant and eatery. There were stewards asking everyone to wash hands carefully and then use hand sanitiser gel before and after eating anything. The cleaning was fastidious too. Everywhere you went there were cleaners and stewards wiping down surfaces and tables. It felt very safe indeed.
When my family moved into our house in the early 2000s, it was brand new – all lovely and smart. We took photos on the day when we were allowed in to measure up for curtains etc. In fact my daughter mastering things much quicker than me, managed to make a pretty good video of us wandering from room to room. She did a good running commentary and I did the magician’s assistant trick of opening all the cupboard and room doors for her to make a grand entrance! The carpets had yet to be fitted. We had chosen a gorgeous pale honey colour. Probably a big mistake, especially as we had a complete petrol head living in, his greatest joy was mooching about in garage and then coming into the house via the integral door. . . It’s amazing how efficient a professional cleaning company can be when faced with half a engine of oil over the new honey carpet!
I was staying at a chum’s house a few weeks ago – helping them out of a scrape with doggy care. I don’t stay there often as they’re a busy household with several children and very busy mum. This last point came home to me during that stay. I went to use the oven and the nightmare of a grubby kitchen came home well and truly. I’m certain there was movement around the edge – pesky kind of movement – the collection of food particles and muck was truly awesome and I decided not to bake anything after all. It’s hard to appreciate how exhausting it is to run a house and and work full time. Knowing how to diplomatically suggest a professional clean up is going to be a problem but it needs to be done. For a forthcoming big birthday, a weekend away for the mum with a professional oven and kitchen cleaning company engaged to strip out the place and it be a wonderful surprise for her on return. Hmmm… how to do this without hurting her feelings is something still in planning . . . . .
We’re bombarded with advertisements on tv and in magazines – of course, this is how all commercial publicaitons and broadcasting is funded; there’s no escaping the constant and relentless urging us to buy this item and test out that. A couple of items that have started to feature far more are cordless vacuum cleaners. These are so much easier to use around the house and now that technology has improved, they are able to run for much longer per battery charge. Nothing more annoying than having to keep charging up a piece of kit halfway through a clean up. Of course, the suction of these new toys cannot be as good as a plug in machine – and I have experience of this. It does mean that every few weeks the house will need a really good going over. Carpets retain more inground dirt if they’re not heavily vacuumed and the new cordless cannot do that. So getting a carpet cleaning company on board could also be a very good idea.
Decluttering – a buzz word for many years covering all areas of ruthlessly going through our pocessions and disposing of anything more than 6 months old or not been used for a nano second. I can’t quite get my head around the need for such drastic measures – if the wardrobe is getting too bulgy, then there will be more clothes than were owned when the wardrobe first arrived. There can be a gentle cull of the items that have been lovingly kept ‘just in case’ and as for paperwork, how many folk do you know who do toss out masses of documents in their own sanity restoration programme – only to realise 3 months down the line that they need some of them – a bit late now. The only time I feel comfortable with a drastic clean up is when we have the contracted cleaners come in to ‘bottom out’ the entire house. We found that a once a year heavy session followed by monthly bursts of activity is sufficient for calm, reasoned life to continue.
We have had some jolly strange weather in the last couple of years. As a youngster I can well remember we had proper seasons when the weather was pretty well predictable and as a result, various domestic jobs were timed in accordance with the likely weather and light conditions. For example, we still use the word springcleaning – the point here is that the days got longer and warmer; the fug of a house shut in over winter, with coal dust, every day living debris and mucky stuff trodden into rugs and sofas would benefit from a really good clean in one fell swoop. Generally there being no vacuum cleaners until after the second world war – it was brooms, dustpan and brush and a bucket and wash cloth. Coal firs and kitchen ranges used to produce a huge amount of dust and coal coloured mess. This needing sweeping up twice a day and all solid floors were swept regularly to stop vermin from finding anything too interesting! I still use the old ways when I can’t be bothered to fetch the heavy vacuum cleaner out of the garage!
You don’t hear of housewives planning their spring clean in the same way we used to when I was young. It was always a big thing for most of the families i mixed with. Christmas and new year would rapidly go and we’d be back at school. Between that and Easter would be the half term holiday. This signalled the big push for getting the house & home ‘righted’, as my grandmother would say. To her, this was almost spiritual and involved not only the cleaning of the rugs from each room, but totally stripping the beds, taking the matresses out and giving them an equally violent battering. This was to remove as much dust, grim, nits and other grim stuff as could be removed. The paintwork and cornices were washed down whilst the rugs were outside. It took huge efforts and everyone pulled together. So much easier today – pick up the phone and call the local cleaning agency – it can all be arranged just like that!