Monday, February 1, 2021

Cleaning in Pandemic Times

My blog posts are beginning to organize themselves into Series. I just finished a four-part series on DIY Jewelry. As a change, this post contributes to other blog posts I’ve written on pandemic living. It seems there is always more to say about any subject on which I’ve written. The COVID-19 pandemic has given us all plenty of time to think, right? When I'm not creating artistic jewelry, I have to clean. Yuck!

So I want to talk about cleaning during this pandemic season. Now, let’s be real, this pandemic year is a better name for it. With the daily grind of self quarantining, I have yet to figure out how to resume a habit of cleaning the house. My need to clean has always been driven by a need to kill germs so we don't get sick. For me, dirt is sort of secondary. As I steer clear of public gatherings, enclosed spaces, and hopefully the virus, my time at home is filled with crafting, jewelry making, reading, and cooking. I feel like I'm living in a waiting room. I have to do laundry, for obvious reasons, but why should I clean? No one is coming over...

We don’t go anywhere to bring germs back. I can’t be bothered.

This has been such a shift for me.

Our prior home was a social place for our local agricultural community, a small town farming community that we helped to form and encouraged the community to grow. I ran a small business with local volunteers out of our garage. There were always monthly events, sometimes even weekly, at our house. I loved people dropping by with seeds to share, news to unload, tears to shed. It was a house with an energy that welcomed whoever came inside. It's space was an integral part of our business too.

Bordered on two sides by a cemetery, the house held a relaxed, free feeling. It had been built in 1948 and the outside structure was never upgraded to a modern home. We didn’t care because it added charm. The inside had solid wood floors and we painted the walls in muted jewel tones. It was ours for over 20 years. Oh how we loved our home! Because it was the perfect house for entertaining, I strived to keep the house clean and uncluttered. I managed to find true discipline for keeping a clean house.

I had not always felt that way. When I was pretty young, my mother became convinced that she was going to die and that her girls would not know how to keep house. I learned to cook and clean at an early age. We learned how to dust baseboards! I grew up dreading cleaning. When I left home, my cleaning habits lightened up quite a bit but I still wanted to live clean. That said, I don’t ever remember enjoying cleaning until my husband and I got our fabulous old house and I embraced it as something really special. By the way, my mother lived to ninety-four.

I like a house that looks lived in but has some order and can be spruced up quickly with an hour’s notice. But entertaining a crowd takes more effort than a spruce up. Because our house got so much traffic, I could not stay on top of keeping it clean. At least not all at once! After all, I did have a life, was making jewelry even then, and had a veggie distribution business to manage. When we had big events for the business, I would spend almost a whole day cleaning, fussing at my husband (who was more than willing to help), and being upset about having to do it all at once. I decided that to keep it up on a regular basis I needed a schedule. Truthfully, my husband was thrilled with that idea. He doesn’t like “fussing”.

I created a schedule for everything. That doesn’t mean it went well at first. But as I got used to a schedule--my husband had his part to do-- the house always looked great. I wasn’t always cleaning but I kept up the little stuff a bit at a time so it really didn’t feel overwhelming anymore. My friends were always commenting on how nice the house looked all the time. I really enjoyed the house more because I always felt confident it was “ready”. For what? For whatever… I also didn’t have arguments with my husband as I had before when I panicked that people were coming and “I wasn’t ready”. I really think THAT schedule improved our married life. Last-minute cleaning was practically the only thing we ever argued about.

Cleaning will always go on but businesses do

not necessarily continue. After six years as agricultural entrepreneurs and my husband wanting to retire from further entrepreneurial pursuits, we closed the business and I relaxed into my clean house and making jewelry. At last I had time for something new! I thought that the time I spent organizing my cleaning habits and methods might help others. I had morphed into a professional house cleaner, reinventing myself. Inevitably, I decided to start a simple residential cleaning service as the sole cleaner. Entrepreneurs never die, they just reinvent themselves!

As I took my sweet time building a small clientele, I wrote down everything I knew about cleaning. I researched and implemented chemical free cleaning supplies, and integrated that knowledge into using modern tools and technology that my mother could only have wished for in the 1960’s. I blogged about what it takes to get cleaning done and done well! So I accomplished a pretty smart thing during that phase of my life and I sure hope my mother is pleased in the after life. LOL My writings became a blog called Tina the Cleanaah which is my sister’s nickname for me. As I grew a manageable client base, my postings became more spaced apart, a sign that I was cleaning something, somewhere. The blog gave me credibility with clients. It still exists, is pretty darn good, and lots of people visit it still.

Tina the Cleanahh was authored in Florida before we moved to the Southwest eighteen months ago and I reinvented myself as a mobile jewelry artist. We do not own a home here and I struggle to clean our rental. We don't have visitors. Plus, there's a pandemic going on. I'm just not motivated to clean like I used to. I definitely clean when an "inspection" is scheduled but it doesn’t take much to straighten up our small abode. I still have my cleaning calendar on Google calendar so I guess I'm still ahead of the game IF I ever decide to use it again. I have composed this blog post as much for myself as I have for you. How am I going to shift back into cleaning mode? Do you have the same issue right now? If so, when do you suppose you'll get kick started into cleaning again?

If you're ready to explore a blog about my approach to cleaning, here's the link to my first post on Tina The Cleanahh. Maybe you will get inspired?

Maybe I will get my butt in gear. Or not. This post has led me to ask you this question. "What do YOU know so much about that you could easily write it all down and share it?"

I would love for your comments to tell me!

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