I went out of town a few weeks ago for the affresh Ironman in Muncie, IN. Overall, it was a great weekend – we met a lot of wonderful people, watched some tremendous athletes, and spread “affresh cheer” to everyone who came by our booth. Besides the nearly unbearable heat, we had a terrific time.
With that said, we worked really hard and when I finally got back to New York on Sunday, I was exhausted. Little did I know, my girlfriend, Katie, had been working hard all weekend too – our apartment was spotless! It was as nice a surprise as if I had come home to a steak dinner.
Katie even admitted that she enjoyed using all of the affresh goodies I sometimes bring her home from work (side note: I bring her flowers on occasion too, not just appliance cleaners).
Needless to say, I was stunned; the kitchen shined, the whole apartment smelled fresh, and apparently the finish of our cooktop is not a caked-on brown color naturally.
But now here’s the hard part – keeping it clean! Since she did such an amazing job getting the apartment clean, I’ve made it my responsibility to keep it that way. I walk around in socks, pick up everything the moment it hits the floor or countertop, and I definitely haven’t used the stove top since I’ve been able to see myself in its reflection. I’m too afraid to cough or sneeze for fear that I might make a mess.
All kidding aside, it was a fantastic gesture on her part and I greatly appreciated it. All it cost her was a few hours of time but it was just as effective in showing me she cares as any material gift would have been.
So what I learned is that “cleaning means caring” and sometimes all it takes is some old fashioned scrubbing to truly brighten someone’s day…but in case I’m wrong, I’ll still bring her flowers.
When I was a teenager, we lived with my grandparents in a small but comforting little house with an art studio in the basement and plenty of room for visitors.
Our big family meant many visitors and visitors meant two things in my grandmother’s house: the vacuum and the bathroom.
It wasn’t unusual at that time to find me on a Saturday morning doing my teenage duty and sleeping in past the noon hour. But when visitors were expected we could all expect to hear the sound of a vacuum at 6 a.m.
Now the logical thing for a teenager to do when the sound of a running vacuum is heard at 6 a.m. on a Saturday is to turn to one’s side and cover one’s head with a pillow. That solution, however, was short lived because while my grandmother was already busy cooking the entire day’s menu, my mother would eventually haul the vacuum up the very narrow staircase that led to our bedrooms where she would stand letting it whirrrr loudly until we opened our eyes.
We had a choice. “You can vacuum or clean the bathrooms,” my mother would say. But either way, we’d better be up and cleaning something within the next 20 minutes or we would be deemed reprehensible mongrels for the rest of our days.
And nobody likes cleaning the bathroom … So I’d grab the vacuum.
We’d clean the house top to bottom within the 24 hours prior to any visit. It seemed like a chore then. But as an adult, it takes on a new meaning. We talk a lot about cleaning here at the blog – obviously – but cleaning up is about so much more than just getting rid of the mess.
A clean home is a reflection of you, the homeowner or apartment dweller. It shows you care about your home and the people you welcome to it. It’s a matter of genuine pride. Nobody set foot in my grandmother’s house unless the floor was mopped, the tables were dusted, the cooktop was sparkling and carpets were clean. And that sense of cleanliness has been passed down from one generation to the next.
Keep that in mind the next time you cast a weary eye on that filmy cooktop or dusty coffee table.
In a few short weeks we’ll celebrate my grandmother’s 80th birthday. She’s given us 80 years of life lessons that only grandmothers can give. For those of us who live nearby, our homes will be turned into short term inns for visiting family members.
Which means … I’m sorry but I have to go. There’s a vacuum with my name on it.
What lessons have been passed down to you when it comes to cleaning? Post your story to comments!
During the summer, our house is nice and cool because we have our air conditioning running, our blinds are drawn to block out the sun and our ceiling fans are spinning around. When it isn’t beastly hot outside – as it has been the last few weeks here in Michigan – we generally spend our time in our yard or garden, but when it is hot we tend to hole up inside where we accumulate clutter and dust.
Speaking of dust, when was the last time you looked at your ceiling fan’s fans? See that layer of fur on the top? That’s dust my friend, and it is spinning around in the air. Quick get a dusting cloth and wipe it away.
But where did that dust come from? Well if my memory serves me right, the last time we changed our furnace filter was when the furnace was on. Perhaps that should be changed right away and, in fact, we should change it once a month this summer to help keep all sorts of unwanted dust and particles out of our air.
While I’m on the topic of dust, when was the last time you washed your pillows? I don’t know about you, but in the summer I can have a combination of sunscreen and bug spray that likely makes its way to my pillow along with dust and allergens that have made their way into our home. Perhaps I’ll wash those pillows tonight.
The moral of my summer cleaning story? Think about some of things you take for granted as clean like your dishwasher and your washing machine – even items made to clean for you need to be cleaned and actually benefit from regular cleaning. Next time you change your furnace filter, throw in an affresh® Dishwasher puck with your load of dishes.