Sunday, January 7, 2007


It's Sunday, and in my house that means weekly morning chores.

The beauty of a 1200-square-foot house is that is takes almost exactly one hour for two adults to give it a pretty good cleaning. With no kids and no pets, it doesn’t get too disgusting before the next Sunday comes around.

The secret to no-fight, harmonious housecleaning is to have a sacred routine (Sunday morning, 9 o’clock) with a fair balance of labor.

We divide tasks according to both skill and preference:

  • Quick tidying up—putting away the detritus that has collected on the coffee table, desk, counter, etc.

  • Me:
  • dusting and furniture polishing*
  • washing hard-surfaced floors (kitchen, bathrooms, foyers) in the old-fashioned hands-and-knees way
  • watering houseplants

  • Al:
  • vacuuming and rug-shaking
  • bathrooms (everything but the floors)
  • mirrors and windows, as needed

  • Other tasks are fit in during the week:

  • grocery shopping
  • cooking
  • laundry

  • Al:
  • washing up kitchen stuff after meals
  • ironing
  • garbage emptying

  • *I tried the salad-dressing furniture polish from "Natural Alternatives to Pesticides and Other Toxins"—lemon juice and olive oil—but it seems have made all my wooden furniture sort of sticky and dull-looking. Yuck.

    I used to use a Holloway House Lemon Oil Furniture Cleaner, 16 fl oz, but I was pretty sure it had some unwanted things in it. I now use Method Wood For Good Furniture Polish, Almond Scent, 12 fl oz, which smells rather nice until you've been using it for 30 minutes. I am not convinced it provides much protection for the wood, but it does wipe smears away and makes things look and smell clean.

    Does anyone have any favorite recipes or products for furniture polish?


    Stephanie said...

    Y'all are so organized. :) We just wait until we expect guests to clean, apparently content to swill in our own filth.

    For furniture, I've been wiping down furniture with a damp cloth to remove dust and then just using oil of some sort to condition the wood. I'm curious about how lemon juice works with oil, but that seemed like more work than it might be worth.

    Elizabeth said...

    I am such a prisoner of guilt--this routine means that I can get it over with and not have to think about cleaning for an entire week. I think it was drummed into me as a child--I actually get nostalgic when I am washing floors and dusting, since these were also my childhood chores (done on Saturday mornings, since Sunday was a church day).

    What kind of oil do you use? The kind you also cook with?

    Stephanie said...

    It would be nice to clean regularly. :)

    I use canola oil, because it's the cheapest we have.