Wednesday, March 12, 2008

If There's A Bustle In Your Hedgerow, Don't Be Alarmed Now

It’s just a spring clean for the May Queen. Ah, I love Led Zeppelin. And I love that song, especially now that I know what the heck a hedgerow is.

Tip Of The Day: How to spring clean like a May Queen and have fun. On a dime, of course.

Tip For Tomorrow: Sales and shopping events going on this weekend, so you can get a head start on everyone else. That way, you snag the best loot. Forewarned is forearmed, and so forth.

Further Elucidation Of My Cheap Deal: As much as I like my home to be clean, I LOATHE the actual cleaning part. I’m sure I’ve mentioned this before, but I am a lazy slacker and cleaning is WORK. I try to avoid WORK as much as possible, so I can concentrate on FUN. Or SLEEP, which I also enjoy.

However, this time of year inspires me, and other slackers like me, to clean our little booties off. For example, Miss HaC cleans and summer-izes her closets in the spring. She’s one of those people who actually rotates her winter and summer clothes, storing the off-season items until the time is right to unveil them. The only other person I know who does this is my mother.

I, on the other hand, merely sort through my stuff and weed out the clothes I haven’t worn in at least 8 months, look ratty, or no longer fit my style/body/butt. Like HaC, I tend to do this in the springtime.

I also organize all my home office paperwork (in time for tax season), examine my shoe and purse supplies for necessary replacements and additions, and clean my jewelry. I like my shiny objects to be shiny, don’t you know.

Yet even the thought of having shiny jewelry, a new pair of shoes, or the IRS breathing down my neck isn’t enough to motivate me to clean. I need more. So here are a few of the tricks I devised to make cleaning, well, not necessarily fun, but at least bearable.

1. Have the right supplies on hand. Nothing is more irritating than running out of cleaning stuff or organizing stuff mid-project.
For example, if I’m cleaning my closet out, I’ll have paper or plastic bags handy to chuck items in for donation – recycled ones from Target or the grocery store, natch. I also buy new hangers to replace any ratty wire ones (NO WIRE HANGERS!!! Sorry, but that quote was totally called for). I get the wood ones from IKEA – they’re only 99 cents for these ones:
http://www.ikea.com/us/en/catalog/products/60078939, or $1.99 for these: http://www.ikea.com/us/en/catalog/products/40079609.
If I’m cleaning the floors, I make sure I have a new vacuum bag in the cleaner – I hate the smell of an old bag (vacuum bag, not you, darling. You smell fabulous.).

Cheap Tip Alert:
Instead of using the Swiffer wet pad thingees for cleaning my Pergo floors, I use the Handle with a damp rag attached to it. I’ve found that the pre-packaged pads leave streaks and take forever to dry. Plus? They are more expensive and fill our landfills with waste. Al Gore hates that.
Instead, I get a bucket of hot water and mild cleanser, dunk my rag in, ring it out, and attach it to the Swiffer Mop Handle dealie. That way, I don’t have to get on my hands and knees to clean the floor (which is only sexy in Chocolat, not in real life). Just be sure to rinse and re-dunk every few feet of floor, so it actually gets clean and you aren’t just mooshing around the dirt.

2. Make it entertaining. No one says you have to clean in complete silence. Unless you live in a monastery, crank up the tunes. I either listen to my IPod (thanks, big brother!) or a good mixed CD. Target sells the best mixed CD’s for less than $10 – and you can sample them before you buy.
My Ma listens to books on tape/CD when she does chores. These are available for FREE at your local library. I recommend going online and reserving your favorites – their in-house supply tends to be lacking in variety.
If talk radio is your thing, and you live in MN, you are in luck. FM 107 is an excellent station for women (sorry men, but do you really clean? I mean, really? Do you?) who like to listen to talk. I love Cooper Lawrence (and no, not just because I’m on her show occasionally) at 7 PM, Colleen Kruise at 11 AM, and the Shop Girls on Saturday at 10 AM.
If you’re cleaning a room with a TV and DVD player in it, put on a favorite movie – one you’ve seen before, and can quote in your sleep. That way, you don’t have to focus on the movie to follow the action, but you’re still being entertained. You can buy previously-viewed DVDs at your local Blockbuster for a lot less than new ones.

3. Include many snack options. Truly, food improves any and all situations. The only time I don’t eat when I clean is when I’m tackling the bathroom. The cleanser fumes tend to wreck my appetite. Otherwise, bring on the eats!
You’ll want snacks that don’t perish quickly and allow for grazing. I like Reduced Fat Wheat Thins, baby dill pickles, olives, M&M’s (peanut butter is the best), and deviled eggs. Now, most of you would include deviled eggs a perishable item. Clearly, you have never witnessed my behavior around deviled eggs. They don’t last long in my presence, certainly not long enough to perish, is what I’m saying.
For drinking I’m actually NOT going to suggest booze. You’re trying to accomplish a task here, and alcohol can hinder your performance. Especially if you’re cleaning out a clothes closet – you want a clear head for that task. Reflect on all the bad decisions you’ve made while under the influence (what WAS his name again?) and you’ll understand my point.
Instead, I like plain old tap water and strongly caffeinated beverages with extra sugar, to keep my energy level up, like Vanilla Coke or Mountain Dew. They’re like liquid crack, and will keep you going for hours.

Cleaning, for the May Queen or otherwise, is never going to be a hoot and a half. But, with a little forethought and a few dollars, you can make it WAY more enjoyable.

1 comment:

LaRue said...

Ahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh-AH! Ahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh-AH! Name that Led Zeppelin song...

Topic: I wish I could be as organized as HaC, but since I wear summer clothes in the winter too (hello hot flashes!) it wouldn't be practical. As for taxes, I have a folder just for that on my desk, so as I make donations or get W-2s in the mail, they go right in there. They are the ONLY items that get filed on a regular basis. Why? Because I hate doing taxes, and want to make it as quick and painless as possible.

Movies - the Hollywood Video on 66th and Xerxes is closing, so get your discount movies now! I recommend Hot Fuzz. SO funny, not a porno, no matter what the title sounds like.

Clothes sorting: have friends help you- they can be far more honest about your butt actually looking fat in those pants. Or turning your chest into one giant sausage roll.

That's about it. Aren't you happy I let you know?