Thursday, December 3, 2009

Speed Cleaning with Sallymandy

retronewyear60xmas.jpg retro vintage after party domestic kitchen man woman couple mess clean apron image by Nocturntable

So, today I came home from meetings and errands to a house that would make my grandmother

purse her lips.   

Between sending a husband to live in Las Vegas, starting a small business, taking care of 1 cute daughter and 2 cute doggies, impending holidays and now being the only adult in the house, well…let’s just say my housekeeping standards have reached…

…a nadir!!     

I’m not complaining.  I’m not a neat-freak.  I love our lived-in house because it’s proof that a lot of exciting, nurturing, interesting things happen here.  But everyone has a limit. 

Looking around my kitchen with its corners filling up with piles, I felt a creepy anxiety.  I seemed unable to start.  All messes seemed equal in importance. 

frightened woman

What to do??



A friend of mine always starts cleaning with her sink.  I looked at mine, full of dishes.  I remembered a trick I used to use on myself.  I set the microwave timer for four minutes and challenged myself to empty the dishwasher.    

I whirled into action.  I stacked up everything that went in the same cupboard and staggered across my microscopic kitchen to unload.  I easily threw out details like putting the silverware handles the same direction and I just slammed the silver spoons into their compartment.  I scoffed at nesting the cereal bowls large-to-small as is my habit. 

Guess what?  In 2 minutes 45 seconds I was done.  I used the remaining time to stash the dishes from the sink into the dishwasher—foregoing my usual practice of arranging and rearranging until I use every last centimeter of space

I didn’t quite get the counter wiped down, but in four minutes, I had an empty sink.  woman-cooking-main_Full


how cool is that? 





Sometimes the smallest task can seem overwhelming.  That’s especially so when there are so many small tasks that they really do add up to one whopping mess. 

Here’s a very short list of other messes that frighten me: 

The mishmash of dog collars, hair tie thingies, Chapsticks, stamps, paper clips, pennies, batteries, and pen caps swimming around in a big white ceramic dish by my blender.

The National Geographics on the shelf that someone at a school or Girl Scout group could use for a craft and are too good to recycle.

The mismatched-sock drawer.  

The bag of papers left from SSR’s last school year.

The four-foot papier-mache dragon left from SSR’s last school year.

The styrofoam salt atom model left from SSR’s last school year.

What about you?  Do you have any really scary messes in your house?  How do you keep your quarters livable in a busy season? vintagewoman


Do tell! 

Love, sallymandy


Gal Friday said...

Go Sallymandy Go! I know you can eventually do away with your messes.
I am not a natural neatnik, either. If you are a creative type with kids(and pets...and a job) and other interests, of course things are going to get a little ...grubby.
I find the best motivator for getting my house tidy is having company come to stay. That gets my cleaning mojo going.
Since it isn't yet a week since my relatives left, my house is pretty clean right now(give it a few more days, though...and that pile on the kitchen counter and that other pile on the spare dining chair will start growing).

ethelmaepotter! said...

Love these retro clip arts you find!
Scary mess in my house is one entire side of the master bedroom - the hubby's side of course. It started with his nightstand, crept onto the floor beside it, then in front of it, then onto the rolltop desk on that side of the room. I am not ALLOWED to clean it up, because he used to say I always "lost something important." So now it's HIS mess, and when people come over, I just tell them so.
They know him. They understand.

Northmoon said...

For me it's clothes in the bedroom. I change when I get home from work so I don't get cat hair on my 'good' clothes. The pants are fairly easy to hang up, but sweaters, tops, shoes etc. end up piled on chairs dressers or (in the case of shoes) on the floor. Perhaps something needs a minor repair, I'll just leave it out. Or I should clean these shoes. Next thing I know I'm overwhelmed with piles everywhere!

I know it's a matter of discipline - if I want a calm orderly bedroom, I have to take a deep breath and deal with it. I live alone, so it's all mine!

Tiffany said...

I'm a bit of a neat-freak, most of the time, but right now there are piles mounting in the kids' rooms that are reaching terrifying proportions. We will be moving house in less than a month, and somehow it seems silly to be tidying up after them, when packing will involve lots of sorting out (and LOTS of throwing out/donating) ... But I still have to avert my eyes when I walk past their rooms. They have not inherited my fondness for tidy houses. Sigh.

La Loca said...

The brown cardboard tray of papers on the kitchen island...everything from Netflix envelopes to math worksheets.

My daughter's bookshelf.

Gweb said...

Hi SallyMandy,

I can so totally relate to this post! My house is a tangle of small messes that all add up to one great big freakin' mess. I've taken the lived-in look and run with it. Now it's the live-in-filth look with no real hope in sight! There's so much to deal with, I've just kind of given up. The only way I've found any peace about it is when I can surrender to the fact that my house is a mess and will probably remain so until I move out.

The Small Fabric Of My Life said...

I think you have shown that thinking about a task is always worse than actually doing it.

Eleonora Baldwin said...

Paper, paper, paper! Bills, old parking tickets, receipts, notes, scripts, leaves and leaves of useful/useless paper all mixed into one dusty forest of butchered trees.

I recycle in bulk every once in a while, but it takes guts to actually sit down and sift through YEARS of paper.

You should consider yourself lucky you have a dishwasher, girl! I do the monumental pile of pots n pans in the sink BY HAND. That, my friend is one scary monster come Sunday night.

I love your posts, they make me feel like I'm right there with you wiping the countertop.

Lola xx

Suecae Sounds said...

Cables. Sometimes I wonder why I bother will technical stuff because they come with my arch-nemesis: cables. They are everywhere and never seem to be able to get organized.

Darla said...

I cannot go to bed with dishes in the sink and I must make my bed in the morning - in fact my kids joke that if the house caught fire in the night I'd make my bed before running out the door.

Other than that housekeeping is pretty casual.


Lori ann said...

Haha! what an adorable post. Sorry, i didn't mean the messes you/we have to deal with, just how cute you wrote about it!

Having had 5 children and being an organised neat person at heart, it was important for me to choose my battles so to speak. everything couldn't get done on a regular basis, but with some careful delagation we managed okay!

Now that they are all out of the house :( it's easy to keep on top of things if we just do a teeny bit everyday. I play games like you, while waiting for the tea kettle i'll put away the dishes, or fold a pile of can get alot done this way!


PurestGreen said...

Do you have another four minutes to do my kitchen? After a busy long weekend and the rest of the week working late every night, my flat is a mess. I'm away tomorrow and only have Sunday to get myserlf organized for another long week. So tonight it's dishes and at least one load of laundry before bed. How exciting!

sallymandy said...

As usual, I just knew I wasn't alone. I guess we all have those bad areas in our houses where we dare not go, unless absolutely forced to.

Should we start a club for people who have not only a "junk drawer," but a "junk room??!"

La Belette Rouge said...

Very impressive. I use a timer. If I didn't set the timer I would feel like the job was never going to end. By knowing the bell is going to ring I end up working faster, smarter and I get more done.

Deborah said...

What a great post - clever and funny! I had never thought of putting on the microwave timer, which is a SUPERB idea, but had used the lets-see-how-much-I-can-get-done-in-twenty-minutes-before-I-get-completely-bored strategy. I'm going to suggest the timer thing to my youngest son, whose good cleaning intentions are sabotaged by his distractability.

I leave little messes behind wherever I go, and then start getting anxious about them. Papers are a problem. Well, actually most flat surfaces are a problem, but I never let it go for too long. Can't write in a mess!!

Thanks for my big smile for the day, Sallymandy.

Nina said...

I agree with gal Friday, my motivation comes when company is coming and then my house gets cleaned lickety split!(whatever that means). I love the timer idea. next time the dust bunnies get too friendly I'll try that to get me going. Watch out her comes rug rage!!
Great post and happy cleaning. As my neighbor used to say:"If you're coming to see me, come on over. If you're coming to see my house, Call First!" I love that! Blessings. Love and Light, Nina P

Cynthia L. H. said...

Oh YES! I would win the prize for the worst junk room. ;^)
I was going to clean out a junk drawer or two today...but this is so much more fun.
I usually blame my junk room on my 3 daughters not getting their stuff and hauling it to their own abodes.
;^) (Hey, it works for me...)
I have a card from Lyndsey, who actually has most of her stuff out of says, "It's not an empty nest until the kids get their crap out of the garage."

Expat mum said...

The problem with junk drawers is, well, the junk! I have two in my kitchen and more and more stuff is creeping in from the garage. Like screwdrivers and wire cutters, that really shouldn't be there. Grrr.

Rosaria Williams said...

I DO clean once a month or so, thoroughly. But, on a daily basis, I let things accumulate wherever.

Life is too short to spend cleaning.

Kat Mortensen said...

I read this post a few days ago, sallymandy, but had to leave it and have a think. I love to clean, but have to be in the mood. I think your idea of setting a timer and challenging yourself is EXCELLENT!
I shall be doing that when I have to haul out the vacuum cleaner (the one chore I despise, except for the fact that it makes me feel so POWERFUL against all the dust-bunnies and cat-fur tumbleweeds).
I have a few drawers that end up collecting junk. They always seem to have that stuff that comes from the box you packed from your last move that had defunct pens and ends of tape rolls and dead batteries and old rusty pennies and bits of string and so on and so on. I'm sure next time I move I'll be packing up yet another box destined to live in a new junk drawer.


xxx said...

Mostly I'm neat, but I like to live in a home and not a set.
I try to do a little everyday, but it doesn't always go according to plan and somedays larger than life messes appear.

I thoroughly enjoyed this post.

best wishes for a fun loving festive season

x Ribbon

Between you, me and the Fencepost said...

My microwave . . it's by the stove and the kitchen door so it's the catch - all for keys, junk mail, small change . . . old insurance papers, salt and pepper shaker . . . bits and pieces that have no home and are hanging abou waiting to be put away . . .the list goes on and on.