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!
There are many ways that a house cleaning service can really help to bring a home back to shiny newness. Perhaps you have a wedding or other big family occasion coming up this summer and expect to entertain visitors over a period of weeks. It can be daunting to try and do this cleaning yourself. Engaging professionals mean that the carpets, flooring, all fitted white goods and especially that oven, will be thoroughly cleaned. Maybe there is spilled juice, soups or nail polish that have stained areas. A professional has the equipment and know how to get rid of these – with special chemicals and sheer experience. The kitchen is always tricky – normal housework will take the surface grubbiness away on a daily basis but that won’t get the oven, fridge, freezer or dishwasher stripped back to absolute pristine freshness – and don’t forget that overhead cooker hood or exractor fan!
You really do need to keep an eye on children when they have their pals around. All the houses around this way were finished off with fitted carpets, back in the day. It wasn’t considered at all odd to have carpet in every room, including kitchen and bathroom – seems very peculiar now though. Most times, I would like to have completely wall to wall wooden floors downstairs where all the activitiy happens, and then carpet up the stairs and througout the upper storeys. Children who live in houses with wooden floors only appreciate their worth when they spill something nasty on or leave muddy footprints on someone else’s carpeted floor! If carpets get very grubby, a professional carpet cleaning agency will make a splendid job of them. They have the correct equipment and the expertise on how to use it – carpets feel and smell wonderful after a professional clean.
I had a truly brilliant Christmas break away in the country with some friends and a couple of dogs. They’re not mine, but belong to the host’s family. We had lots of walks donw the lanes and across fields, and Iean real walkies, around 5 miles each time. Coming back with mud drenched hounds is no laughing matter and cleaning down has to be handled quickly and preferably by two people – 8 very shaggy wet muddy legs and paws could definitely cause carpet melt down! happily babysit the same dogs occasionally when their owners are away. I have learnt by trial and error just how to keep the house relatively mud free when the dogs stay over. It can be rather hit and miss in my case without the 2nd responsible adult! But having access to a professional carpet cleaning agency is such a boon. They come in twice a year and make a fantastic job of my honey coloured wool carpet!
Oh that happy time of year is nearly upon us. Yes, Christmas and New Year. When I was small we always had a busy round of visiting to do at Christmas and mum used to go balmy trying to keep our main sitting room as clean and presentable as possible. Not easy with several youngsters about, one coal fire, parquet flooring and no fitted carpets. Gosh it seems unbelievable how good my memory makes it all look!
Last year when approaching the same period, I did hold a family pow-wow to deal with the accumulated junk that was now taking over our old family home. Mum no longer able to cope. We had one weekend of clearing the piles of clothes, crocks, papers etc. and then a professional cleaning company was brought in to completely clean throughout from top to bottom. The carpets look fantastic and feel incredibly soft. Hurrah!
Halloween used to be just something that happened at the end of the month I was norn in and was a small stopping point between my birthday party and celebrations and the major do – Guy Fawkes Bonfire Night. The house was scrubbed out and made ready for the big visit and woe betid anyone who trod bonfire into the rugs! Although we used to know instinctively that Halloween was an old tradition that grannies and old folk used to tip their hats to, for youngsters, we didn’t really do much. When my sister was a Brownie, they had a fancy dress competition – they each had to make a suitable outfit to include witches, brooms, black cats. etc. Not too much mess involved there.
These days there are huge sales of pumpkins, the shops go absolutely crazy trying to outdo each other to get the halloween party season cracking. Bigger clean ups than ever needed!
Mellow September – oh what fun I had this year. Fantastic fun. It would have been even better had the weather played ball a bit more. We had 3 dogs between us and as we all know, dogs, small cottages, rain – not a good combination at any time. The holiday cottages were part of a stable block arrangement with an old smithy and all extremely old. There was a small laundry room, with cleaning tools such as dust pan and brush and broom. This proved pretty useless and one member of our clan was getting really irked about the mess. What we needed was an industrial cleaner! The owners didn’t mind the mess, they have a system whereby hirer leave Friday morning, in comes the professional cleaning company Friday afternoon. all clean and hygienic again Saturday for the next lot! I was amazed how effective a professional cleaner is compared to normal domestic quality products.
Referring to an earlier post, it reminded me of when I worked in the offices of a very well known and respected wool and worsted fabric mill in a very smart northern town. I was not born up there and was wary of joining this old fashioned family outfit, as the secretary and export clerk, and lunch time telephonist. I learned so much from my colleagues about cleaning the office and why they were so fastidious about sweeping up after any snack or lunch was eaten. I laughed at them at first but was soon put in my place when signs of vermin near my desk drawer were discovered. We had to get the cleaning lady in to strip out the area and once the deep cleaning had dried, I was named and gently shamed – forgiven, for being a southern nitwit I suspect. I’m a much wiser and cleaner one now though, they taught me proper like!