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Thursday, January 13, 2011

Shiny Happy People

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Cleanliness becomes more important when Godliness is unlikely. P.J. O'Roark

Over Christmas break I did a some spring cleaning. I suppose I could call it Christmas break cleaning, but I’ll stick with spring cleaning because technically it was cleaning that I really should have done back in the spring. But, the giant Girl’s Camp Monster swallowed me up and then suddenly it was time for school to start again and then Superdude got married and then… Ok ok ok so who am I kidding? I just didn’t want to do it ok? It was a lot of cleaning and re-organizing and going through boxes and boxes of random stuff and I procrastinated as long as I could.

But apparently I have not yet reached the point of being a candidate for the TV show Hoarders because I just couldn’t stand it anymore. I could feel the giant jumble of stuff lurking down there, probably spontaneously multiplying while I slept and I had to do something about it.

So I bought a WHOOOOLLLE bunch of plastic totes from Walmart, unfortunately online, so I didn’t actually set foot in the store. My loss apparently as that is where hilarious blog opportunities are born. My Walmart totes were delivered by a handsome UPS dude that I unfortunately don’t have any good stories about either (except that he was still wearing shorts in December…brrrrr).

Anyway, once the totes arrived Ebay and I set about cleaning and reorganizing the much neglected downstairs area industriously packing totes, and collapsing boxes while vacuuming, dusting and mopping every grimy corner, cobweb and dust-bunny. Clean Sweep and Clean House and all those other organization shows would have been proud of us – even though it really sucked. It was totally not fun and I realized several times while standing in the middle of piles of sh…I mean stuff why I had put it off for so long – I hate cleaning.

I come by my hatred honestly though. My family had a cleaning business when I was a teenager where we worked for several large apartment complexes in Arizona. We would clean the vacant apartments to get them ready for the new tenants sometimes 10 or 12 apartments a day – that’s a lot of refridgerators, stoves, ovens, bathrooms etc. So you see, I feel like I filled my cleaning quota at a very early age.

Unfortunately, the flip side of all that cleaning is that I do like things to be clean. I think I must be trying to fool or maybe motivate myself because I’ve noticed that I seem to pick cleaning products with very inspirational and happy names. I noticed I was wiping down the dusty plastic shelving with Fantastik. I used Behold on the old wooden rocking chair. I had a bucket of warm sudsy Joy for cleaning the grout between the tiles. I was backed up by Resolve to get the chocolate syrup stain out of the carpet. And when we were done we threw all the dirty rags into the washing machine with a Cheer!

The product manufacturers must be on to the fact that people may require some inspiration from their cleaning products because there’s lots of other product names apparently designed to send you running gleefully for the sponges and rubber gloves. Besides the ones I found under my own sink, it doesn't take too long for other's to bubble to the surface. Pledge, for example, came to mind - perhaps helping us pledge to take care of grandma’s antiques? Gain: you’ll gain more friends if your clothes are clean? Dawn for those early morning dishwashers complete with sunrise and birdsong? Shout or those who like a little affirmation with their spot removing. All because everyone should be in on the laundry. And I noticed something at the store the other day I’d never heard of before called Fabuloso (really – it is) – which is obviously self-explanatory.

Anyway cleaning still sucks, but Behold it looks Fantastik downstairs (or at least a lot better anyway) and I’ve “Cheer”ed up a lot since we got it done. Ebay was a Joy to work with and inspired me with his Resolve to keep at it till we finished. But even with all of those products trying to fool us into being shiny happy people - I still wouldn't want to do it again for at least another 409 years.


Gerb said...

Way to go, Mel! Not only on getting things cleaned up, but I somehow knew you would come though and find a way to mention WalMart in your post this week. ;)

Mel said...

I'd have given anything to have a Walmart bathroom story too - darn the luck.

Anaise said...

That was funny! Really funny!

I've never thought about the names of cleaning products that way before . . . but then all we use around here is baking soda, vinegar, and organic dish detergent . . . no wonder cleaning up is so boring for me!

Richard & Natalie said...

Inspiration hits when you need it most- even in the form of a cleaning product.
Cute, clever post, Mel.

Michelle said...

Loved this. And I'm dreading cleaning out our basement. It's on our spring 'to do' list and it is looming.

Teachinfourth said...

It always feels good to have things a bit more organized, doesn't it?

Hurrah for mentioning Walmart...I guess we're going for a record here.

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