Everyone tries to keep their home as clean as possible, but when you have a busy, busy life (as most of us do) it’s not always easy. And maybe a dusty shelf or two isn’t such a big deal for a few days, so maybe it can wait until the weekend. Unless, that is, you are selling your Waterloo Region home. Then it really does need to be ready to show at any time (within reason) and part of that is that it looks clean and tidy.
Here’s something to ponder. How is it that your Grandmother had more chores to do than you did and had fewer fancy gadgets and miracle cleaners available to help her and yet as far as you remember her house was always clean in spotless in a way that you only wish you knew how to implement in your own?
The fact is that it is highly unlikely that your Gran was a secret superhero (although, you never know), she simply did things a little differently. What some might call the old-fashioned way. But even in the era of Jetson like levels of home automation and gadgetry, some things that Granny did to keep that immaculately clean house still make a lot of sense today:
1. Don’t Catch Up, Keep Up
Granny had a daily routine she no doubt followed every day; do the dishes right after meals, make the beds, sweep the floors, vacuum the carpets and clean all the work surfaces. That meant when her ‘big cleaning’ day came later there wasn’t a lot left to do.
However busy you are, these little chores only add a few minutes to your active day, you may not even need a big weekly cleaning day it helps ensure always having a presentable house should people stop by to view the house on fairly short notice.
2. A Little Prevention Goes a Long Way
In the same vein as the previous tip, if you practice a little prevention you can stop annoying clean-ups from ever becoming an issue at all. For example, getting into the habit of wiping out the bathroom sink every time you brush your teeth means that toothpaste blobs don’t dry in place and you’ll never have to deal with that messy clean up job.
3. Clean Your Windows for Free
Even though Windex has been around since 1935 it’s unlikely your Gran used it because it was rather expensive, and she had a better way to clean all the glass surfaces in her home anyway. A mixture of the following ingredients is quite possibly what she used:
1 ½ c. water •1 ½ T. white vinegar •1 ½ T. rubbing alcohol •3 drops peppermint essential oil
This little mixture, when added to a spray bottle and wiped off grimy glass with a soft clean cloth, is every bit as effective as store bought glass and window cleaners and the pleasant peppermint scent is, according to aromatherapy experts, a great way to boost the energy levels of those that breathe it in.
4. Stock Up on Old School Cleaning Products
Much of the cost of modern cleaning products is raised to cover the cost of fancy packaging, the addition of extra colors and fragrances and to pay for those TV ads that actually often just annoy the heck out of you.
Many of the old school cleaning products your Granny would have used are still available though. And because they are considered old-fashioned and outdated by many, they are often available in the dollar aisle too.
Products like Borax (for whitening and freshening laundry) Old English Lemon Oil (the very best way to get a clear, clean shine on wooden furniture and floors) and baking soda (good, literally, for dozens and dozens of household chores) are all as effective as their fancy modern counterparts, just not as ‘cool’.
5. Fragrance Your Home the Natural Way
Did you know that every time you squirt that store brought air-freshener all over the room to make it smell ‘spring fresh’ or whatever the can or bottle claims you are not only adding a slew of chemicals into the air to decrease the air quality in your home you will also be leaving behind a residue on hard surfaces (well that spray has to settle somewhere) that is a virtual dust magnet?
You also add allergens into the air and even if that does not bother you it may send home buyers viewing your home into sneezing fits (or worse) that will ruin that great first impression you’re hoping your home will make.
To avoid all of this, take a leaf from Granny’s book and fragrance your home in a more natural way. One wonderful way to do so? The vanilla extract your no doubt have sitting in your kitchen cupboard.
Try dabbing it on a cottonball and then wiping it across a cold light bulb. When the bulb is lit and it begins to heat up the scent released will be delicious. You can also hide vanilla soaked cotton balls in plant pots, vases and other knick-knacks to provide a long-lasting scent for just pennies a use.