My Tips for Making Our Home Stay Clean Longer

After Hours, Behind the Scenes

I mentioned before that Husband and I have been together for 20 years. The round number got me reminiscing about various details of our early life together.

After I moved to the U.S. and Husband and I got married, we of course had to figure out in concrete ways how to fit our personal habits and preferences and two cultures together. Some things we had, in fact, already figured out while dating across an ocean – like how to make lasagne – but there were surprisingly many details we hadn’t thought of before we were actually faced with them.

Towel Day 2014

Thankfully, we never had to argue about cleaning since we both have allergies, including of household dust, and since we both prefer a mostly orderly environment; we just needed to figure out the details. And since I’m a lazy cleaner, I want to be as efficient as possible. 🙂

Here are my cleaning tips, all non-appliance, non-product related. They may or may not work for you, but if they do, I’m delighted.

Note that we don’t have kids or pets, so if you do, I’m sorry but I don’t have any magic bullets. A certain amount of elbow grease and willpower / routine building is required.

 

1) Air the House Every Morning

Fresh air is great! We open windows every morning in the bedroom, our offices, the kitchen and the dining room. We picked these rooms so we could get a cross-breeze on both floors. And yes, we do air the house even in the heating and in the pollen seasons, just not as long.

2) Cleaning As You Go

My preference is to clean as you go if at all possible to avoid stains from drying or setting before the next cleaning day. Then you don’t have to scrub quite as hard, and milder detergents are enough.

3) Doormats at All Doors

We were fortunate to have found an apartment without wall-to-wall carpeting (=allergy-friendly) for both of our joint rental apartments AND the house we fell in love with and bought. To protect the floors, we have doormats at every entry into the house (and almost all the way from the garage upstairs) to catch the worst drips, drops and dregs.

4) Everything in Its Place

We’re not 100% successful in returning everything in its place after using it, but everything does have its own home. Makes it so much easier to de-clutter while cleaning.

5) Machine-Washable Curtains

Because of our allergies, all of our curtains are machine-washable. Area rugs aren’t, but we’re pretty fastidious about vacuuming them and do it every week.

6) No Shoe Policy

Also, we don’t wear shoes indoors and wash our feet if we’ve been in the yard barefoot.

7) Pair Up Your Socks, Then Toss Them into the Laundry

I’ve never lost a sock since I started doing my own laundry thanks to this trick: before tossing socks into the laundry bin, roll a pair up so that they stay together. (One sock goes into the leg of the other one; not quite military-style rolling but kind of.) Then, when I do laundry, I separate the pair so they’ll get properly washed, and match every pair while hanging them to air dry. That way it’s very easy to gather and roll them up again for storage.

8) Tissues in Every Room

Well, not quite, but most spaces that we spend a long time in do have their own tissue box. That way we don’t have to look for them when urgently needed. (Curse you, allergies!) Same applies to scissors: buying a few extra pairs of dedicated scissors for every location where we regularly need them means no time wasted hunting for a pair.

9) Separate Dumping Grounds

We both have an individual area in the front hall and at the bedside to dump our pockets and bags into, so that (hopefully!) the odds and ends won’t get lost.

 

Any other useful habits you can recommend? Please share!

Happy Midsummer!

After Hours, Ahem Ahem!

True to my Finnish roots, I’m taking a few days off to enjoy the midsummer. It’s especially important for me this year when it’s practically impossible for Husband and me to visit Finland to see my family and savor the summer.

Moonrise Jun 2008

While the black nights here in the south are exotic to me (Massachusetts is south to me – I grew up only two hours away from the Arctic Circle), they’re no match to the magic of the white summer nights in the north.

Both the Playfully Grownup Tumblr and my personal one will keep tumblin’, however, and I will keep an eye on Playfully Grownup on Etsy. I’ll resume posting here on Thursday 25th.

Hyvää juhannusta! Glad midsommar!

Online Finds: Poikkeustilapolkka – Polka in Quarantine

After Hours, Bits in Spaaace!

During the covid-19 pandemic, many people in my social bubble have turned not just to handcrafts but to video projects as a way to pass the time and provide comfort. I’ve seen a wide spread of projects and inspiration as a consequence, and enjoyed every one. Here’s an example.

Polokkarit is a 25-year-old folk dance ensemble based in Oulu, Finland. They recorded a polka performance that respects physical distancing recommendations.

(P.S. Beware of one blurred-out NSWF moment – I’m kinda flabbergasted that they left it in.)

Poikkeustilapolkka – Polka in Quarantine by Polokkarit Kansantanssiryhmä on YouTube

They tell a bit about their polka video on YouTube:

“At the moment most of the world is in lockdown mode, but the Finnish folk dance group Polokkarit has found a way to combine dancing and social distancing. Ever since Finland introduced official COVID-19 restrictions, weekly video calls have gathered the group together to practice, keep in touch and socialize. These sessions resulted in an idea of ‘Polka in Quarantine’, a video piece for celebrating International Dance Day with the aim to help ease the group’s yearning for dancing together and at the same time brighten the day of people all around the world.

“The whole production of ‘Polka in Quarantine’ was carried out remotely. The piece introduces the variety of Finnish polka steps in the characteristically cheerful Polokkarit style while offering the dancers’ national costumes a long-awaited outing as well. The video features 29 Polokkarit dancers altogether, scattered to different parts of the country due to the pandemic. Despite the physical distance, this video piece brings the dancers together, thanks to Finnish polka. As well as demonstrating a variety of traditional Finnish polka steps, ‘Polka in Quarantine’ also gives the viewer a unique chance to take a peek into Finnish homes.”

Love it! It’s also nice to see glimpses of familiar places in the background.

Note: I wasn’t paid or perked to mention this; just passing along a good thing.

Signs of Spring

After Hours, My Spaces

Apart from the ladybugs, which have come out early (and in droves!) this spring, there are other, earlier-than-normal signs that spring is on the way.

Ladybug Convention

Our roses are putting out their first leaf buds…

First Rose Leafbuds

…the bulb greens are peeking out from the ground…

Signs of Spring Bulb Greens

…plus, occasionally, we even see moths:

Signs of Spring Moth

And just yesterday afternoon we were treated to the first turkey tom mating display of the season. Can’t deny that’s a sign of spring!

Small Bouquet from October Flowers

After Hours, My Spaces, Random Beauty

I’m both amazed and delighted over how long wild flowers blossom around here:

October Wild Flowers

Granted, they’re not terribly flashy like cultivated ones, but they do give bees and other pollinators sustenance long into the fall season and provide splashes of color, too. (We keep our yard purposely toxin-free for the bees.)

Happy Easter Earth Day!

After Hours, Bits in Spaaace!

Today happens to be both Easter and Earth Day. Happy Easter Earth Day, then!

Flickr NASA Goddard Black Marble Africa Europe Middle East

NASA Goddard Space Flight Center on Flickr (CC BY 2.0).

If the above’s the Earth part, here’s the Easter part. 🙂

Flickr Benson Kua Late for Easter

Benson Kua on Flickr (CC BY-SA 2.0).

I love both images, as different as they are.

Hope your week has started enjoyably!