I am 66 years and almost four months old and I am learning a lot about the details of housekeeping. For nearly 33 years I have lived in rectories where I was honored to have a housekeeper. For the first 20 years of my life, I lived at home and my housekeeping responsibilities were minimal. Every Saturday morning, all of us kids had a chore to complete, beginning with cleaning our own bedrooms. By the way, or parenthetically, a friend who grew up in Pittsburgh told me recently that he would have said ‘redd up’ the room, … Pittsburghese for to clean the room.
Now, retired, I’m on my own and am learning anew or being reminded of what I had forgotten about keeping house…it’s all about cleaning! The first thing that I learned from reality is that no one is going to clean, do dishes, launder, except me. Lots of people have help, but I remind myself that this is not a good option when retired and hindered by the so-called fixed income. Me, myself, and I.
When I first started living here on a more permanent basis, I declared that Monday would be the cleaning day. The routine was: 1.) light colors laundry, dark colors laundry, drying, folding and ironing; 2.) toilet, sinks and shower cleaning; 3.) dusting (enough said); 4.) floor cleaning. My floor is bamboo so this is easily done with a spray wet mop. Anyway, Mondays became less and less the rule as weeks passed!
Now, I clean as needed, which requires less discipline, but it also makes cleaning more erratic and more difficult in that I find myself doing odd chores throughout the week rather than just in one day. My schedule allows for such irregularity, and I also am taking more time to figure out how the work can be done more efficiently.
A great stride was made just recently when a friend gifted me with a vacuum cleaner. Using a vacuum is much more effective in picking up dust and even easy enough to do more often! One more step in the right direction is that the vacuum doesn’t have replaceable bags, but an easy-to-empty canister. Such modern living!
One of the things I vowed to not do is to get into the paper towel routine. They are used too easily and too often, and my paternal grandmother Gloy taught me the value of cloth towels and the magic of washing machines! This was in keeping with her generation, of course, but the lessons of old return to help economize.
To keep my vow, I bought a lot of cloth towels at Ikea. I use them like paper towels and have no qualms about using too many because the washing machine is always available and convenient in my apartment. Recently, however, I learned the value of microfiber. I bought a package of 24 of them for about 13.00 at a local hardware store. Talk about a game changer!
Now, it’s not that I have just learned of such a miracle cloth. This has been around a long time, but as I mentioned earlier, I really did not need to experience microfiber because I did not have to clean much in over 40 years. Now, I use them for everything: kitchen hand towel, duster, buffer, smudge remover, counter cleaner, wet spill picker-upper, sink cleaner and the list goes on! The kind reader thinks I am silly for being so giddy about such a discovery, but it’s new to me! As you can see from the photo above, they are colorful, fold and stack easily and are durable enough to endure multiple washings.
Such a discovery after so many years! The efficiency reminded me of my discovery of the original California duster, that wonderful hand mop that takes Arizona dust off a car to make it look like new. This and the microfiber cloth might be considered, by some house and car keepers, the greatest thing since sliced bread!