Posted by: Kath Usitalo | March 31, 2010

Time To Clean House, No Foolin’

Tips for housewives in a 1938 booklet from Kellogg's

Rituals come in two forms: institutional and personal. The former are those, such as religious ceremonies and April 15, that are outside of your control. Things like flossing (once or twice a day? a single length of floss or a piece for each tooth?) and coffee drinking (leaded or decaf? favorite mug or any cup will do?) are within your power to change.

This is where I place the spring and fall cleaning rituals, which I liken to holidays manufactured by card companies: The seasonal “deep” cleaning routines are highly overrated events promoted by the makers of cleansing products that will make your home sparkle and all who dwell there healthier and happier. And, if you clean green you can save the environment, too.

We resist the marketing ploys of window spray and disinfectant manufacturers and favor an annual CleanFest with intermittent tidying sessions as needed, i.e., when we’re expecting guests. The yearly cleansing traditionally takes place just prior to our hosting the family for Thanksgiving Dinner.

The key is to follow that with a series of gatherings at a pace that forces us to keep some semblance of organization so our living quarters don’t deteriorate into utter chaos. Unfortunately, we haven’t done our usual level of entertaining lately and the condition here at The Home has passed the point of “messy but functional” and slipped into “if someone drops by unexpectedly pretend we’re not home” territory.

Tomorrow I’m going to tell myself we’re having friends here for dinner this weekend, and launch into a cleaning frenzy. At the end of the day I’ll look in the mirror, yell “April Fool’s!” and be momentarily chagrined at having been tricked into the scrub fest.

But at least I’ll be able to answer the door if you happen to stop over.



  1. I love this post, maybe ’cause you think the same way I think! … and ’cause now I get to drop in for coffee. 🙂

    • come on down!

      great minds think alike…

  2. I knew someone who told me they washed their walls. Really? Am I supposed to do that? I think I’d rather just paint. 😉

    • Washing walls? What a (foreign) concept.

  3. So how did that work out for you? Did you clean? It seems the older I get the more I procrastinate on the spring cleaning. I mean really… what’s the point? You’re just going to open the windows and let all that fresh air dust into the house anyway!


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