Cheating at Cleaning
There are few people who actually like pushing a vacuum around, to say nothing of the sheer joylessness of dusting or cleaning toilets. Jeff Bredenberg, in his book entitled How To Cheat At Cleaning: Time-Slashing Techniques to Cut Corners and Restore Your Sanity, passes along tips on how to shave valuable time and effort off your cleaning routine. This time, it's OK to cheat!
Outdoor grill: When you're done cooking your burgers, keep the fire burning. Leave the grate on, close it up and let it go for 15 minutes or so. It's just like a self-cleaning oven. All that junk will turn to powder and all you'll have to do is wipe it away.
Ventilation system: Despite what you may hear, you don't have to hire a professional to clean it every year unless you've done some major home improvement projects and have lots of residual dust.
Waxing your car: According to scientists, since 2001, the clear coats that manufacturers spray on cars after painting are so tough that waxing gives you a negligible amount of protection. Forget it.
Dinner dishes: Save yourself the time and hassle of doing dishes by serving your family on disposable dishware. Not only will you not have to clean a single dish, you could end up saving 1,600 gallons of hot water over the course of a year. "If you use paper plates, you can even recycle them," adds Rachael. "You can put them into the paper bin if you just scrape them off a little bit."
Get help: One of the greatest ways to avoid housework is to get someone else to do it. A more effective way to get a significant other to put clean laundry away is to give them the basket and let them put their clothes away. This reinforces the idea that clean clothes don't just magically appear in their drawers, and they need to help out. This technique works with kids too.
Additional tips from How To Cheat At Cleaning:
Here's welcome advice for anyone who does laundry: Do it less frequently. What most people think of as doing a normal wash actually is overwashing. Overwashing is not only a waste of time but has other undesirable effects as well: It puts more wear on your clothing, it uses up more detergent, and it increases the chances that detergent will be left in your clothes.
Approximately 60 percent of people surveyed say they don't make the bed every day. Are they slobs? Not at all - they're visionaries. Sure, some insist there's great emotional value in making your bed every day. Be aware, however, that scientists say not making your bed actually appears to be healthier.
Be brave enough to throw things out. Some of us actually have trouble throwing stuff away even when it's worn out, beyond repair, and has no conceivable value to anyone. I contend you should dispose of possessions that are in good repair, too, if you haven't used them within the last year. This goes for clothing, appliances, kitchenware, and more. Few of us have the xtra physical and mental capacity to manage these unproducte items that clutter our homes.
Just think of wax paper as a long stretch of disposable countertop. When you're cooking, tear off eight inches and lay the sheet on the counter near the stove. After stirring the marinara sauce, lay your drippy spoon on the wax paper. The moisture won't bleed through to the counter. Use the same surface for grating cheese and peeling carrots.
Keep alcohol-based wipes in the kitchen. Not only does the alcohol kill germs but it cuts grease, too. These wipes will make quick work of the stovetop and those grubby stove knobs, for instance.
To keep hard water stains from building up on your shower doors, every few weeks dampen a cleaning rag with lemon oil or baby oil. Wipe down the interior of the doors. The shower water will sheet right off them, rather than clinging to the doors, drying and leaving spots.
From How To Cheat At Cleaning by Jeff Bredenberg, The Taunton Press 2007
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