This week’s subtitle is “for example, books you’re planning to get rid of for whatever reason, book’s you’d like to clean off your TBR by either reading them or deciding you’re not interested, books that feel fresh and clean to you after winter is over, etc.)” but I’ve decided to go with actual Spring Cleaning and our homes!
Before Pinterest was created to teach us everything about anything in the home, I found this gem of a book and applied it. It was news to me that a lot of this could happen! I knew that baking stuff should be near baking stuff in the kitchen and that glasses went near the dishwasher but that was about it. My Mom was a big-tme messie back then. No chores, no place or everything. I was winging it in my young adult years and failing. I devoured this book. It is still worth a read if you are struggling with household organization. Link is to the newer edition of Confessions of a Happily Organized Family.
The Fly Lady is an internet phenomenon who teaches women to be totally anal about house cleaning. I’m a Fly Lady dropout multiple times, but she’s always there to get me back at time. The baby steps include putting on grown up clothes down to the shoes and bleaching and shinning your sink. It helps. Sink Reflections (just go to her website http://www.flylady.net/).
I still love this show–I find episodes on youtube and love it. This is the book. The teach you about what a lemon can do for your bathroom and other great stuff. The show is one I turn to when I need motivation to clean. How Clean is Your House.
Before Martha, there was Edith. Edith Shaeffer the wife of all Christian wives! She did it all–including traveling with her hubby because he had headaches if he didn’t engage in marital sport daily. That’s a major league wife. Never mind that her son wrote hilarious send-up novels about it all (see The Calvin Beck trilogy--highly recommended). I thought I’d given my copy away, but my eyes landed upon it on the bookshelf where it has always been just the other day. And while I do like to poke good-natured fun at poor Edith, I did love the book. The subtitle: Ideas for Creating Beauty in Everyday Life means much more than pouring the tea you bought at the gas station soda fountain into a real glass before sitting down to dinner. She has great ideas for what used to be known as “gracious living.” Yes, it is still relevant. Just because dinner came via Grub Hub or you made it from a gourmet meal kit (or you are seving breakfast cereal for the 4th time this week) doesn’t mean you can be environmentally conscious AND gracious at the same time and use cloth dinner napkins. There. See? The Hidden Art of Homemaking by Edith Shaeffer.
Another pre-Pinterest, pre-Google title that helped me. I only got it from the library, but it helped. How to Clean Practically Anything.
Admit it, you rolled your eyes at this topic KNOWING she’d be here–am I right? Of course! I remember being amazed at an early episode of her t.v. show (pre-prison) where she made sugared fruits. She remined me of my decorator/OCD cousin–at that point the only person I knew who decorated for EVERY holiday, though Casimir Pulaski Day was tough until those frozen piroghies came out. Martha’s GOOD THINGS cover most of what no one would bother doing, but in among it there are GREAT tips for real people, like putting tags on the ends of your mattress so you know how to flip them each corner. I’ve done this and my expensive mattress has lasted over 20 years. Martha Stewart’s Homekeeping Handbook and Martha Stewart’s Organizing.
Meal Planning and being prepared for unexpected guests is another task we have to master. Spring Cleaning also means cleaning out the freezer. What to do with that lone pork chop or those 2 servings of lasagna of dubious vintage is as concerning as how to clean the hinges on the toilet seat. Meal planning saves a ton of time, money, and (weight) pounds. Before “meal prep” became a thing with cute little containers, and while these are pretty normal suburban Midwest meals, this is how I discovered freezer cooking. Today you can find every cuisine under the sun done up for freezer cooking. Having meals stashed in the freezer helps with Spring Cleaning because you don’t have to stop to cook. I do not like froezen casseroles with pasta because the pasta gets mushy, but I LOVE the marinades to freeze chicken or other meat in! So great. This saves time so you CAN, yes you CAN pull everything out of that dreaded corner pan cabinet [she says looking in the mirror] and declutter and organize it as well as clean it. FYI–my version of this book is in a yellow 3 ring binder from way, way back. They’ve retired now, but this version is still available. I saw them on their debut tour at the Indianapolis Pike library decades ago. 30 Day Gourmet Freezer Cooking Manual.
This one is on my TBR, but I like the sound of it. I remember how it took us basically 20 minutes to decide what to keep of my Grandmother’s 90 or so years of life when she had to move to an Alzheimer’s facility. When I go to my favorite thrift shop they have countless examples of stuff people held onto for the wrong reasons. Aunt Mildred gave you that pickle fork for a wedding gift in 1947 and then she died in ’51 and you STILL have it though it has been out of the box once? Yeah. That sort of thing. The Gentle Art of Swedish Death Cleaning.
Another show I turn to when I need cleaning motivation is HOARDERS. I’ve chosen this book to represent the show. Hoarders are people who cannot let go of anything. Candy wrappers, used Kleenex, 60 years of newspapers–that kind of thing. It’s a good visual when you need motivation. The Secret Lives of Hoarders by Matt Paxton.
Part of Spring Cleaning should be Spring Fixing. That wonky chair leg. The dripping facet in the bathroom–that sort of stuff needs to be fixed. Even in the world of YouTube and how-to videos, I still think owning a book like this is a good investment. I have a friend who was forced to learn to replace what connects her house to the sewer. She did it because financially she had no other choice. There are times when you just bit the financial bullet and call a pro so you don’t waste more money, but there are times when yes, you can fix it. I recommend the youtube videos, but a book like this–look for one at a thrift store, age isn’t important, can give you important background information. Ultimate Guide to Home Repair.
Why not join the fun next week? You can read the rules here.