I started by scrub-a-dub-dubbing my long-neglected kitchen sink. Then I moved over to the stove. I cleaned that baby real good. I removed the burner covers and cleaned places that have never seen the light of day. I hope I didn't unleash a gas leak in my house. Especially combined with all the cleaner fumes.
I did the usuals too like wiping counters and the kitchen table. Then I basically spent the rest of the morning testing the limits of how long I could run my vacuum cleaner without blowing out the motor.
I vacuumed every single room in our house, including baseboards and ceilings (we had a bit of a cob web problem). I used all those fancy attachments. I used every muscle in my back and arms. I'll be feeling this tomorrow.
But the average person probably wouldn't notice the difference in how my ceilings and baseboards look.
Cleaning frustrates me. It's so ongoing that I never feel the satisfaction of being "done" cleaning. I spent hours cleaning today, and yet there's still clutter in every room. There's always more to be done.
Another thing that deters me from cleaning is that so many areas of our house look basically the same after they are cleaned. I don't get to see some dramatic difference between the "before" and the "after."
For instance, here is our hallway floor freshly cleaned:
The wood floor is so damaged that it doesn't ever look clean. There are holes and marks and unidentified spots (paint?) that make the floor look like it still needs serious attention.
The same is true for our kitchen cabinets. They used to be white but have faded to a gross off-white color. There are scratches and chips in the paint that make it look like the cabinet doors need to be cleaned off. I do actually wipe all the cabinet doors fairly regularly, but I'm the only person who knows the difference between the dirty doors and the clean doors.
And remember how I mentioned that I super duper cleaned the stove? Well, this is what it looks like now:
Do you see all those black spots on the burner grates and burner covers?
This is literally about as good as these get. I have tried nearly everything. I've let them soak in hot soapy water for hours. I've scrubbed them with every cleaner I have. One time I thought I was a genius because I sprayed oven cleaner on them. I figured if it can clean off burned-on food from my oven it could clean these burner grates. Wrong.
I still want to try this "miracle cleaner" to clean them. Or maybe even see if I can find this stuff.
So you can see why I often think, "What's the point of cleaning this? It'll just look the same." Not that that's the right attitude, but it's just what I naturally think.
Right now my Bible study group is studying the book Unglued by Lysa TerKeurst. It's an excellent book. In an early chapter of the book, Lysa shares how she got frustrated with herself for having such a messy closet. She always labeled herself as a messy person. Until she realized that was a lie. She just needed some help to tackle that area of her life.
So I realized that I daily tell myself that I'm such a horrible house keeper. It's part of my job. My job is my kids and my house, and look at what a poor job I'm doing.
Lies. All lies.
The truth is: I am doing the best that I can. I may need to ask for help from friends who are naturally more inclined to clean (you know who you are) or who know some good tricks to cleaning house. I also have to realize that there are little people in my house working against me. And there are three of them and only one of me. Plus my priorities are different from people whose houses are cleaner. When I do have pockets of "free" time, I usually use it to do craft projects for friends, make stuff for my kids, and work on homemade Christmas gifts. I also use little bits of time to prepare lessons for my Sunday school class and work on my Bible study homework. I could move cleaning up on my priority list, but only if I'm willing to move something else down.
Since we are not great at cleaning by nature, we have had some cleaning mishaps in our house. A few years ago, one of the kids accidentally wrote on our leather couch with a pen. Jared thought he would clean it right off with some nail polish remover.
This is what resulted:
It removed the ink alright. Along with the color on the leather.
Well, I think Jared is finally off the hook for that move. Because today I did something worse.
As I said before, I vacuumed every square inch of our house today. I vacuumed along the ceiling perimeter of every room (where the wall meets the ceiling) so I could eliminate any cob webs. In our family room, there is a window high above the couch. I was stretching the vacuum hose to clean the ceiling above the couch, and I also wanted to clean out the dust (and a dead fly) from the window.
So I lifted the entire vacuum up onto the couch to increase the reach of the hose. It worked like a charm, and I got the entire window clean. What I didn't realize was that even though I was just using the hose attachment, the main brushes on the vacuum continued to spin.
When I finished cleaning the window and ceiling and removed the vacuum from the couch, this is what I revealed:
The friction of the spinning brushes actually rubbed the color off the leather. Sweet Griffin ran and got a wet wipe and tried to wipe the marks off for me. Unfortunately, the color is permanently worn off. Griffin said, "Mom, now no one will ever want to buy this house from us." I told him that fortunately/unfortunately, we are taking the couch with us whenever we move.
This is what I get for trying to clean thoroughly. A permanent reminder that I'm seriously lacking in housekeeping skills.
I suddenly can't remember what I'm supposed to tell myself when all I can think is "I'm a bad housekeeper."
So, if anyone has any bright ideas for matching the tan of the leather and filling in the color, I'm all ears. And if you'd like to offer free cleaning services, I'm open to that too. My vacuum and back need a rest anyway.