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a home + living guide for the post-college, pre-parenthood, quasi-adult generation


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copyright ©1999-2003


by Jill S. Barrett |
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In my previous life as a roommate, the housecleaning tactic was simple: put it off for as long as possible. It was a method we could all agree to live by. My roommates and I would deal with the whole chores thing by dutifully making a list of stuff to be done — and then blissfully ignoring the pigpen we were living in until the chaos invaded our consciousness, or houseguests threatened to show up. Then we’d spend all weekend cleaning up the house — sometimes, it’d take a week to get the grunge down to a minimum —a mammoth endeavor that never failed to leave everyone cranky and angry afterwards. It was an eternal cycle: enjoy a perfectly clean house for maybe an hour, let the house degenerate over the course of weeks into a complete dump, waste another few days in a housecleaning marathon, repeat process.

So when I finally got a Real Job and moved into an apartment by myself, I made a solemn oath to keep the house clean by doing a little bit every day.  I soon discovered that the practice of heavy cleaning during the weekend didn’t cut it, as I spent most weekends either out of town or entertaining guests.  So I’d frequently find myself on hands and knees in my solitary bathroom on Thursday night, trying to make up for the neglect of the past two weeks. I realized after about three months that I was back in the panic-clean routine. 

I went online to search for some helpful hints, and stumbled across the FlyLady.  Full of great tips and with a wonderful attitude about baby steps, there was just one problem with the FlyLady approach: so much of her advice seemed geared towards women and men who have eight hours to devote to cleaning house every day.  I don’t have that kind of time, so I used her model and adapted it to my own schedule.

I sat down in the middle of my apartment and I made a list of the things that absolutely needed to be taken care of weekly, breaking it down by room.

In the kitchen:
• dishes! dirty, clean, in the dishwasher, in the sink!
• countertops
• stovetops and microwave interiors
• the refrigerator
• the constant parade of leftovers
• the overflowing trashcan

In the living room, dining room, office/spare room, and bedroom:
• piles of paper
• piles of bills and mail
• dust bunnies the size of small yaks
• funny crunchy things in the carpet
• watering the plants

In the bathroom:
• changing towels
• sink
• toilet
• shower
• floor

wander along this way please

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