Category Archives: cleaning tools

Electronic Simplify

Back in January, I started deleting emails. I’ve been doing it ever since. I just went under 24,000 unread emails. Which, if you remember, it remarkable, because I had 80,000? I may still have 50,000, if you count all the mail boxes up, but the primary one is < 24,000 now. 25,6xx, as of 5/26/19, 5:50 pm, to give you some idea what an incredible problem this is! 25,5xx as of 6:19 5/26/19. 

Confused? See here.

I keep opting out of email lists I’ve been on for years and deleting the old unread emails. I do this every day these days.

I have no idea when this effort will be done, if ever!

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Becoming the Fantatic I was Afraid of…

I’ve been working on clearing up the living room. At the moment, there’s boxes in there for the flea market next month, boxes which were brought in from the storage to go through, books to go to the new book booth, books being donated to the bookstore in Maine, etc. It’s a mess.

Because I have new rugs coming, some of which are for the living room, where the others are for the kitchen, I started clearing out the living room this morning. Fine, it’s the usual cull, clean, move it over there because there’s no room here, etc. No problem. I move, cull, sort, trash, and clean the space where what I’ve been working on has resided. This is work with a vac, otherwise the dust gets to me too much.

heather-ford-1270604-unsplash

Photo by Heather Ford on Unsplash

Battery ran out on the vac. Went to charge it, the charger already had a battery being charged. Hm…what to do next?

I cleaned the outside of the vac, hose and all — I spent about 5 minutes cleaning the wired hose for the vacuum cleaner.

Yep, I’m becoming a fanatic, sigh. Oh well, I always have gone from one extreme to the other before I settled down into sanity. Let’s hope the swing into fanatic cleanliness and out to reasonable cleanliness is a short trip!

Using What You Have & What Works

We have a large lot with a lot of trees. The trees dump a lot of pine cones, acorns and oak leaves on the property. Clean up requires much work, and a large volume of space to gather the leaves, cones, acorns, and compost same or haul them to the town’s leaf  or brush pile.

Because I am on a “clean up” jag, I’ve been working on the yard. I have no panic attack issues (that I know of) with the garden.

We only have 2 plastic trash barrels. They’re too big to go into my car. I have a few smaller metal trash cans, but they too would likely have to be put on their sides, and would probably leak leaves, etc. into my car. The better idea seems to be to bag up the leaves and take them to the dump that way. The leaf paper bags work, but are expensive and wasteful.

Because I’m not all that tall, hauling trash barrels and/or full leaf bags gets to be comic for everyone other than me, as the bags are nearly my size. They’re difficult to deal with, full.

Accordingly, we went looking for easier ways to haul the assorted leaves, twigs, etc.  DH brought home one of these:large concrete tub

It’s a concrete mixing tub. After using it a while, it cracked on the corner, so he bought another. It also cracked on the corner, but both are still usable, so we use them, cracks and all!

Last fall, we bit the bullet and bought a package of reusuable plastic bags. These are also made for construction. They’re called “Demo Bags” and we bought them with the idea that we’d use them over & over, for yard waste. So far that works!

The bags fit over the ends of the tubs. It’s not a loose fit, but it’s do-able.

I can push the contents of the tub right into the bag. This was completely unexpected, and welcome — it makes the job much easier!

The bags are big enough for me, especially with my “iffy” elbow that I don’t fill them, but put 1-3 tubs of leaves in them, about 1/2 the bag’s worth. I can then lift them without a problem.

I have a place to put away the tubs, but don’t have one for the previously used bags, yet. That’s the only glitch about this “system”. I’m using what we already had (the tubs), getting the yard cleaned up fairly efficiently, and I’ve cut down the amount of money spent on single-use supplies.

Definitely a win!

(The used bags are being stored right next to where the tubs are stored when they’re empty. Hurrah!)

 

Stealing From Our Grandmothers

Because I make rugs from old clothes, I’m always looking at the cheapest clothing in thrift shops with the idea that I could maybe use the materials? A few weeks ago, I found a super heavy, dirt brown wool pullover sweater. Ugly color. Not an attractive shape, but it was WOOL and heavy….

One of my rarely used tools is my long-pole feather duster. It upsets me for three reasons.

  1. That although I got it used, it’s made with ostrich feathers. (If it was made of chicken feathers I don’t think I’d mind so much, hypocrite and happy chicken consumer that I am!)
  2. It doesn’t work all that well. It has a telescoping metal handle, which is handy when trying to clean the staircase fan/light. It gets the fan blades cleaner but NOT clean!
  3. It’s a single-use tool. I only use it on the fan, and as I said, it doesn’t work that well….

Accordingly, I hardly use the feather duster. I feel guilty every time I look at it thinking that some bird’s tail feathers (and likely nothing else) were used to make it.

Our grandmothers covered their brooms with cloth, by pinning it on, to make dusters.

When I cut the felted sweater into pieces today, I had the yoke with the neck separate, and thought, “WTF a I going to do with that?” And then it hit me — one arm was flattened out and wrapped around the bottom of my broom. The neck was threaded onto the handle of the broom, and wrapped around the first piece. Fastened with a kilt pin? I now have a “duster” with a thick, recycled wood pad — on the end of a pole.

When I need to use the broom as a broom, I’ll just unpin the yoke, remove the now dirty sleeve for washing and put away the yoke and pin with the other flattened sleeve.

The wool started out dirt colored, so I don’t have to worry that using it will stain it and it will need replacing.

I already had the pin.

The sweater yielded 2 small sheets heavy brown felt, two dusting pads, a method to connect them to my current broom,  and the ability to remove another single-use tool from my life. Whoopee! [The feather duster is in the discard bin.]

The only thing I don’t have? A way to clean the fan, but that’s not new.

Monday’s Six, no Seven

I have one item outstanding from last week (#1), and today’s six:

  1. Work on the wood piles, also on the to do list.
  2. Straighten/tidy the wardrobe, no attic. Changed because of back up items waiting to go into the attic. 9:15 a.m.
  3. Do more work to catch up on my filing.6:30 p.m.
  4. Tidy and cull craft equipment.3:20 p.m.
  5. Desmudge the phones. 7:30 a.m.
  6. Straighten 2 dresser drawers. 8:30 a.m.
  7. Go through the vegetable bin, clean and cull. 2:30 p.m.

I also owe a friend who I’m writing an article with a draft or a piece of the article, so I’ll be busy today!

Partly because of the veggie bin clean out/cull effort, I went looking for food waste info. I found this link, which was new to me and thought it might interest you too!

(link)

What else I’ve done today?

Swept the steps, and from the entry to the hall. Vac’d the landing and office. Cleaned the bathroom, done the dishes, two loads of laundry, packed items to be sold into my car, organized the things pulled from the dresser which need to be sorted through.

Just lounging around all day ‘eh?

To See . . . .

I actually DO get things done, daily. The house is still overwhelming. Here’s what I did yesterday:

  • Worked on raking the lawn (not finished)
  • Cleaned my car (exterior) and waxed the hood
  • Peaches cleaned and peeled
  • Cleared ugly food (leftovers which have become science projects or are about to) from fridge
  • Two loads of construction debris taken to the dump
  • Three loads of laundry started, two completed
  • Work on the cleaning plan
  • Regular household trash taken to the dump.
  • I did two loads of dishes, DH did another. (The fridge cleanout generated a lot of things to wash!)
  • Cleaned the toilet, sink and tub
  • Bought more freezer containers
  • Figured out a way to store the 2nd hose on the boat steering wheel I’d kept for the purpose, though I’d never actually done that.

Here’s what I’ve done today, so far (10 a.m.):

  • Swept and mopped the kitchen floor.
  • Started the load of laundry (3rd load from yesterday) in the dryer.
  • Started the first load of laundry in the washer.
  • Culled melons and cut them prepatory to freezing.
  • Went through the peppers, prepatory to dealing with them
  • Cleaned the broom, bucket and mop, although I haven’t gotten them put away, yet.
  • Dealt with the dirty, wet rags.

As of 11, you can add: dealt with the peaches, blueberries, and melon (cut, labeled & stored). Dishes washed from that effort.

Also, I can see myself sliding down the fanatic scale: from hoarder to OCD. Some of that I want to encourage, some if it, as I’ve said before, I really want to avoid!

  • I vac’d the end of the broom after I swept the floor to get the dust bunnies off of it.
  • I asked DH yesterday to shut off the hose for me when I was done washing my car, but told him to not put the hose away as I didn’t like the way he coils it. (True.)
  • Found a place to put the bucket away yesterday with the soap, shop towels, car wax, etc. inside of it so that all the car washing tools are in one place, and it looks tidy (all in the bucket).
  • Told DH this morning that the little vac needed to be cleaned very soon, because I’d cleaned up a wet mess and it would not be good to let the remains dry in the vac. (He does this most of the time; I’m allergic to dust mites!)
  • Found a place for one of the bigger flashlights to be stored when not in use. It has been clutter  — as it floated. It had no designated place to be put away. (There are many things like this in our home. Too many!)

Stuff & Minimalism

If you can have a “capsule” wardrobe, stripped down to only the most basic items, can  you do the same for your home?

Why not?

The first answer which popped into my head was that you do more in your home than you do in a given piece of clothing, functionally anyway. Clothes you wear — that’s it. A home you sleep, read, eat, prepare food, garden, play, etc. If you take only 10 pieces of clothing (excluding underwear and outerwear) as your “limit” or 20 if you have winter like we do, then why not 10 items per verb in the list I just made?

So what do you need, minimum to sleep? (static: bed)  changing pieces: sheets (2) pillow, pillow case and blanket. Absolute minimum = 5 for one person, 1 pillow, for 2 people and two pillows, add 2 or 7. With real seasons, double it = 14

What do you need, minimum to read? A book or tablet, ideally, you don’t have to own any of these you can rent them or take them out of the library.

What do you need, minimum to eat? Food and utensils, as needed. If you think about it, you don’t need anything to eat a banana, but eating stew without utensils would be difficult! So, the answer for this one is that “it varies.” Not very successful in terms of trying to be minimalist.

I’m going to mull this notion over a bit.

I’m helping someone learn English. In doing so, I’ve been trying to find the language “short cuts” first. There aren’t many things in English which are always true, but some are. This is a working adult person, not a kid.

The living and stuff thing needs a similar approach. What are the things which are always true, that you always need? Do that FIRST.

We’ll see how it works out with stuff, here.

It seems to me that a beginning can be made by using Maslow’s heirarchy of needs, again. This:

maslow-pyramid

The bottom layer is what your home is about.

Food/eating, water/drinking, warmth and rest are at least some of those basics, so is security and safety. When you add the psychological needs things get more complex.

So, I’m going to make some assumptions:

  1. I’m only talking about STUFF here.
  2. That emotional reactions to STUFF aren’t part of the equation.
  3. The security here is physical security only.

Given those parameters, I’m off to write some notes and thoughts.