March 21, 2010

Eco-Cleaning: The Living Spaces

When cleaning your living spaces such as living rooms, studies and offices, etc.; there is a method to the madness that will have your space spruced up in no time:

  • If you've got clutter that needs organization, you're obviously going to have to start there - and I'm not even getting into that. By now you're a big girl (or boy) and have found the way that works best for you (or you can work on it with a little humility and research).
  • And as you've walked around your rooms, you couldn't help but notice the occasionally accumulating dust bunnies or drop of this or that that's become a Pollock-like mark on your lovely hardwood floors. Thank goodness for carpets - you don't actually see all the funk that is in those!
  • Once everything's tidied up, unless you are a die-hard minimalist, you will have knickknacks or ob jet d' art (depending on the eye of the beholder), books, artwork on the walls...the list goes on. You've naturally thought about dusting everything at eye level - but to be really efficient - look up first.
  • Yuck. There's probably the odd cobweb that's managed to avoid detection and collect dust; if you've got a ceiling fan, just step up on a stool or chair to see what's been blowing around the room...eeeww!

I think you can see where I'm going with this - you want to start at the top, because dust settles naturally at the bottom. If you want to save yourself some extra time, and have the manpower or She-Ra like strength, move upholstered furniture out of the area you'll be dusting in - and take the cushions outside at this time, laying out on a canvas tarp for a later beat-down. Oh yes, cleaning can be good for you in many ways - I forgot to mention the free therapy.

Okay, by now, you've worked your way from wiping  all those cobwebs and disgusting fan blades off; now it's time to dust the knickknacks, electronics, books, etc. on the shelves and tabletops. Don't forget as you remove the knickknacks, books and what-nots for dusting to dust and polish those shelves and tabletops. Now it's time for the walls. First, remove the artwork from your walls, and set aside - you're going to clean your walls with a very mild solution. Dust, grime, and grease from our hands and even from so far away as the kitchen travels and settles in on our walls - so while this may be the most tedious of tasks for the day - just do it! You'll be so happy with how bright and colorful and clean your walls look again. Now dust the artwork, and polish the glass with the glass cleaner of course. Rehang. Gorgeous.

Time to dust and polish and furniture with a hard surface (think tables, desks, built-ins, mantles and fireplaces, wooden chairs, etc.). Be sure when polishing the wooden furniture to buff it dry so that there are no streaks and no possibility of water damage from the polish. As you're polishing each piece, She-Ra, 

you might want to consider moving it (the chairs and the like); because your next move is treating the floors. For hard surface floors - sweep and mop. Recipes later today will include both hardwood mop solution and all-purpose hard surface mop solution. If you have area rugs, take them outside and leave them with those dusty cushions - they too are in for a bruising. 

Wall-to-wall carpeting is a labor of love: first you'll need to pre-treat any stains, and then use the carpet steaming technique/recipe I'll be sharing with you later. If you're just too pooped for this, I hear ya. I've got another neat trick up my sleeve that will not only deodorize those funky carpets, but leave each room smelling sweet. Plus, it's going to give you the half hour you need to go outside and kick the crap outta dust.

This part is really simple, because it's all based on your own brand of Kung-Fu, Grasshopper. There is no right or wrong way to beat the dust out of a cushion - just get yourself one of those blue dust masks even if you don't have bad allergies 'cause all that dust is super gross. When you've finished with the dusty smack down, head back inside and rev up your vacuum. Run it over the carpets/rugs a couple of times. So fresh and so clean.

Consider it done my friends.

PS - This will all go SO much faster with really great music.


Maria Isabel said...

This sounds like my Saturday morning ritual, thanks for the inspiration!

Tara said...

That's it, Maria - I'm now calling you "She-Ra" - I can't believes anyone busts it like this every Saturday morning?! Of course, there is the rest of the house we've yet to get to...still, I'm impressed!

Maria Isabel said...

Well we get a lot of dust here, due to the fans. But we cant live without the fans (too hot!). And the kid makes a lot of mess too! I assure you this is more out of necessity than fun, I even have to wash the windows and screens almost every month. You can imagine how much I spend on cleaning products!

Tara said...

You will be so, so, so tickled pink then to know how cheap it's going to be to clean all-naturally. You've already seen some of those recipes - you know what the shopping list is - wallet-friendly, indeed!

Perhaps with all the money you save on cleaning products, someday you can pay for a maid! ; )