Sunday, April 24, 2016

Tricks of the Trade

We currently live in a 5,000 square foot house. I would like to emphasize, that this is an "of the moment" house. Seriously, there just isn't anything wrong with this house, and I'm sure its going to sell sooner than later, necessitating more packing, swearing, possible-homelessness-panic, and, more likely that not (despite what I said earlier), another caretaker arrangement. As I mentioned before, it's like a drug man, you just can't quit... not until you find a better replacement (a "real" home) or hit rock bottom (I really don't want to think about what that looks like). However, I also asked my mother to please stop giving out our address, because my aunt emailed and told her that she's going to stop using pencil in her address book and just start using a white board...


However, in maintaining this mansion, I'm learning that not only am I going to have to employ every cleaning trick and shortcut I know, but I'm going to have to make a few more up as I go. In case you are wondering how to do this, here's what I know so far:
  1. Live in as few rooms of the house as possible. This house has six bedrooms, and there are only two of us, so unless we have a knock down-drag out fight some time soon, we're only using one.
    • Close off all doors when possible to reduce the amount of dust blowing around in said rooms. This should minimize the dusting and dry mopping (because all the bedrooms, and the entire main floor have hardwood floors) to "just" once a week.
    • Touch NOTHING in these rooms if at all possible.
    • Decide which living space you are going to use, and only sit there. Usually this will be the one with the television in it.
  2. Use as few toilets as possible. Now, this house has five toilets, but unlike the last house we lived in with five toilets, they are actually strategically placed throughout the house in places that not only make sense, but are connected to an actual bathroom.
    • The best way to accomplish using fewer toilets is to not provide toilet paper except for the "permissible" toilets. Trust me, it's a deterrent because no one wants to duck walk down the hall to find toilet paper elsewhere after choosing a toilet with no tp.
    • We are using two and only two toilets: the one in the master bedroom's bathroom, and the half bath on the main floor. We need the use of two, especially as we're talking with friends about going to Casa Bonita for dinner next weekend. For those of you who don't know, Casa Bonita is known for two things: their cliff diving shows and food that causes explosive diarrhea. But, since they and I have never been and they are moving out of state, we should go once, right? It IS a Denver institution after all... <<shakes head, knowing we are all going to regret this a week from now.>>
  3. Keep Clorox/Lysol wipes in the bathrooms. Two minutes and you have "cleaner" sinks that, while not scrubbed, have at least been sanitized and tidied up in advance of a showing, and help make the "actual" cleaning day go faster. They also work well on toilet seats and since they are disposable, there's no need to try to remember which cleaning cloths are exclusively for bathrooms (come on! You know you've dropped cloths in the laundry and when you've taken them out haven't been sure!) Also, toilet brushes. I hated them, HATED them, thought they were gross and dirty and disgusting just sitting there next to the stool... until I had to start cleaning multiple toilets.
  4. Put everything away immediately after use. Don't wait until after the movie to try to remember you ate in front of the tv again and have pans on the stove. Reading a book? Back on the shelf as soon as the bookmark goes in. Do. It. Now.
  5. Do not change your clothes anywhere except the closet, directly next to the laundry basket. Not the bedroom, not the bathroom, nope. In the closet. Put the clothes you are changing out of INTO and not NEXT TO the basket immediately. What, your laundry basket isn't in the closet? Well, my friends, you are obviously not living in a staged house. That stuff needs hidden from view at all times, but don't think for a minute that you don't have to stage the closet as well.
  6. On hardwood floors:
    • Doubling up on the Swiffer floor dusters makes 3,500 feet of hardwoods dusted much faster. Bonus points if you actually tape the Swiffers together like one mega-duster.
    • If your stairs are also all hardwood, you know what makes a great in-between-Swiffer cleaner? Your laundry. Get some angst out by kicking that pile down the stairs, and tidy up the stairs at the same time. Why not? It's dirty anyway... just make sure to not accidentally leave a pair of undies on the third from the bottom step.
  7. General dusting:
    • Resign yourself that you will never do it all in a day, and mentally prepare yourself to do at least some dusting most days of the week. However, if you split it up this way, it doesn't take that long, which is good because the dry and arid climate of Colorado combined with the nicer weather that necessitates opening windows means you'll need to dust everything a least a couple times each week.
    • During initial decorating, put out as few decorative items as you can while still staging the house. You're just going to have to pick each of them up and dust them, then dust under them, and then replace them, and all of this takes time.
    • Sigh heavily and open a bottle of wine... just don't forget where you left your glass.
It also helps if you have collected random cleaning supplies and tools from previous homeowners who didn't want them any more (we've added a chandelier duster most recently to our collection, but previously picked up an extra vacuum, a steam mop, multiple bottles of cleaning supplies, as well as a number of outdoor maintenance tools - long-handled squeegee, several spades, a weed whipper, brooms and dust pans.) These help defray the cost of purchasing more cleaning supplies than you normally would use if you owned your own reasonably sized house. At present, I think it will be 2022 before I need to purchase rubbing alcohol or hydrogen peroxide again, and the six bottles of granite cleaner currently on hand should last me a while, especially if we continue to limit ourselves to just the two bathrooms (every bath and the kitchen is done in granite here.) If you don't have such a treasure trove, don't worry. I'm sure it will be fine, and it will be less stuff to pack and move when the house sells anyway.

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