I honestly don’t know if anything brings greater satisfaction than cleaning.
The above statement, paired with the following escaping from my mouth yesterday, “I can’t believe it’s trendy these days to buy an XL t-shirt to wear with running shorts as a casual fashion statement. What’s so wrong with clothes that fit? Everything these days is too big or to small,” and the fact that my girls nights consist of crafting and talking about the child-bearing, it’s safe to say that I’m old. Not old old, but like, definitely old.
If you’ve never experienced the elation that comes with gazing at your living room after a deep clean, A) ew, B) you’re seriously missing out, and/or C) you’ve never lived in reality because someone else cleans for you.
Our apartment got a little hectic following our vacation in Alaska, but thank goodness for house guests. I’m sure you can agree that an impending visit from friends or family really lights a fire under your bum in the cleaning department. At least if you value your reputation.
After hours of dusting, wiping, toilet-scraping, mirror-washing, floor scrubbing, bath mat washing, and shoe-arranging, I felt like queen of the world. The only satisfaction remotely similar would be whenever I solved a particularly difficult math problem in calculus or statistics, but even then, you can only enjoy that outcome for so long. A clean apartment offers satisfaction every time you blink and reopen your eyes.
They’re here now, but before the guests arrived, Aaron was instructed to not eat or sleep in our house until they got in town. This was made easier by the fact that we were/still are house + dog sitting at another home for a week, so he’s had another bed and a kitchen at his disposal. Fear not. I didn’t put him out on the streets or anything.
For all of you clean freaks out there, this post goes out to you. For all you dirty folks, may you find some motivation through all of this. I fall somewhere in between the clean freaks and the dirty folks. Love you both.
A ranking of most satisfying house-cleaning activities:
All 10 things on this list are satisfying, so don’t go thinking that I don’t find joy in vacuuming. I get particularly jazzed when you can see those lines in the carpet– especially when they’re perfectly straight. Vacuuming is usually my husband’s job, though, because I really hate loud noises. Not kidding. Blow-drying my hair is about all I can take on a regular basis.
9. Cleaning windows
I like really digging into the cracks and crevices of windows. It’s one of those things that you probably won’t notice in a home right away, but when you do happen to peer out and notice how unfoggy the glass is, and see that there’s no dirt or dead bugs in the windowsill, it quickly becomes one of the most impressive things about the entire home.
8. Scrubbing floors
Scrubbing floors trumps vacuuming for a few reasons. First off, walking on a hardwood floor without feeling any grime on my feet is what walking on a cloud must feel like. The softness of a carpet is nice and all, but clean tile? Mmmm, that is my soul’s delight. Plus, the shininess of swept and scrubbed floors has a tremendous effect on the overall look of a room.
7. Cleaning mirrors
Mirrors trump windows because, duh, their cleanliness is way more obvious. We have a giant horizontal mirror above our couch, and after cleaning it yesterday with some trusty Windex, I couldn’t stop staring into my own eyes, wondering if it was a mirror, or if my twin was on the other side. It was THAT clear, you guys.
6. Scrubbing toilets
This one is gross. No one likes doing it, but the results are totally worth it. You know you’ve done it right when you don’t even want to pee in your own home, because the shimmer on the bowl reminds you that you’re a strong, functioning, selfless member of civilization. Dimming the shimmer would be a shame.
5. Washing blankets, etc.
I have this weird fear of blankets. Using a blanket at just about any friend’s house gives me a low level of anxiety, because I always wonder when the last time it was washed, and how many people have sweated beneath it. Even though no one uses the blankets in our house besides my husband and me (not because no one is allowed, but primarily because our apartment is too small to host guests very often), I still freak out a bit. Which end did my dirty feet touch that night after I walked barefoot outside to take out the trash?? The satisfaction and joy I get from placing freshly washed blankets (and bath mats– similar deal) on the back of the couch is almost indescribable.
Ohhh, yeah. Now we’re really getting down to the good stuff. Do you notice how much darker wood looks when it’s been dusted? Or how less often you sneeze? This one is a health matter. Dust, spray some Febreze, and breathe in the glory of a safe space.
*You know it’s a special day when there are two Beyoncé .gifs in one post*
3. Wiping off surfaces
Dusting and wiping off surfaces are two very different things. Don’t get it twisted. Wiping down the walls of the shower, the top of your vanity, or the surface of the coffee table is something that *should* be done regularly, but there’s no denying the power beneath your hands each time you pick up a disinfecting wipe. Liquid foundation gone awry? Soy sauce hardened before you even knew it was there? Shaving cream didn’t deploy correctly in the shower? Show that grime who’s boss.
2. Doing dishes
Some people hate doing dishes, but I find it remarkably soothing. Aaron and I are fairly good about not letting dishes build up, because we don’t have a dishwasher, so procrastinating is pretty useless. The way an empty sink brings good vibes into the kitchen is downright spiritual. The whole feng shui of a house can be thrown off by the contents of a basin. Don’t try to ignore that truth. It’ll only hurt you in the long run.
1. Arranging stuff
The final part of a good deep cleaning is always the most satisfying, and that is when the only thing left to do is put everything in its rightful spot. Arrange the remotes in a perfect line from smallest to biggest on the perfectly shiny coffee table. Open the curtains completely straight and equal on each side of the window to reveal the bugless sills. Turn the shampoo bottles with the label facing out, side by side in the sparkling shower nook. Then stare. Just stare at the beauty you’ve created. You did it. You adulted.
The best news (and the worst news) is that you’ll have to do it all again tomorrow. Or next week. Or next month. The longer you go without cleaning, the greater the satisfaction. But the shorter you let it go, the less gross you are. The path is yours to choose.