Tag Archives: Cleaning


I spent much of the weekend working on the piles that have accumulated over the past few weeks.

The newspaper pile. I’ve always subscribed to two papers (the Tribune and the Elgin Courier-News), but for my Finance class, we also had to read the Wall Street Journal. I’ve actually grown to really like reading the WSJ – their foreign coverage is especially fantastic. I just don’t have time to read 3 daily newspapers, yet I can’t bear to throw away anything unread. Every week for class, I skimmed through the relevant sections, setting others aside to read later. As a result, quite the pile developed on my coffee table. Digging through, I realized the bottom of the pile had a couple sections from Feb 9. I cleared through much of it this weekend, and hope to kill off the pile entirely before classes resume on March 29.

The library pile. During my Friday Free Day, before I got mired at the mechanic, I stopped by the library where I donated the 52 books i’ve been carting around in my trunk since January. I also picked out a few from my ever-growing list to read during my week off. I then proceeded to tear through all 294 pages of Stacey Ballis’ Room for Improvement before bed Friday night. (Granted, spending 4 hours stuck at the mechanic helped.) It was fabulously light and engaging, sugary enough to cleanse my palette of corporate finance terms and the quest for mu. I also grabbed Flannery O’Connor’s Every Thing That Rises Must Converge (my other fiction pick), and two non-fiction pieces that received rave reviews: What We Eat When We Eat Alone (a sociology/cookbook hybrid) and The Unwanted Sound of Everything We Want: A Book About Noise. I hope to get through all before getting too bogged down by school reading.

The Winter Quarter Cast-Off Pile. This one I didn’t touch all weekend. It hasn’t moved since Tuesday afternoon when I hit “send” on my Statistics final. I’ll probably lump all the loose paperwork into a folder and file on my “School” shelf, next to abandoned undergrad notebooks that I can’t bear to part with. After all, who knows when I’ll need my notes from Medieval Warfare, Springtime for Hitler or Wealth, Power & Virtue?

The laundry pile. Nothing special, just the typical week’s worth of laundry.

The Goodwill pile. Over Christmas break, I tried on every piece of clothing I owned and filled two boxes with things that are too big or I just don’t wear. After moving the boxes around my bedroom and the guest room, I finally took them to Goodwill over the weekend.

The book pile. Also over Christmas, I rounded up about 50 books that have been stashed in the basement since I moved in. If I haven’t missed them in five years, I might as well donate them. The boxes made it to my trunk, where they’ve been riding around for weeks. Finally, Friday I dropped them off to donate to the library.

I feel much better now that some of the piles are gone. Now if only I could keep new ones from forming…


Is cleaning women’s work?

No matter the size of my home, I’ve always been the cleaner. Living alone, if I don’t do it, it doesn’t get done. I try to keep things pretty tidy and straighten up periodically, trying to actually clean weekly. I’ve found with the bigger house, though, comes a lot more cleaning! Back in my apartment days, 10 minutes on a Saturday morning was enough to clean the bathroom, and another 10 allowed for a quick Swiffering of the entire apartment. But now, I have to choose – upstairs bathroom or downstairs? Do I really need to do both every weekend? And vacuuming – really, how often do I have to do it? Can I forgo pulling out the couch? After all, I’ll just have to start over again in a week or two, anyway.

As a result, I’ve fallen into laziness. No bones about it, there’s been some sheer, unadulterated sloth lately. Part of it is the futility of winter. I can’t remember the last time I mopped the tile in the back hallway, since the nearly-constant snow, slush and muck have kept it nice and filthy, with gray splotches and splatters galore. Since the windows have been closed since early October, there have been no cleansing breezes to dislodge the ceiling cobwebs, and the air in general is stale with a hint of Febreeze.

But really, whose problem is it? Growing up, my mom spent much of her free time cleaning the house, delegating some of the chores to my sister and me. When company was coming, though, Dad would take the reins and do a good chunk of the vacuuming and dusting.

I wonder, if I were to live with a guy who was willing to clean, would I let him? How committed am I to my role as cleaner? And is it because I’m a girl or because I’m the de facto housekeeper?

There’s a certain slant of light…

I’ve worked from home three days in the last week, nursing my ankle by avoiding the treacherous hill climb. It’s been nice working from home. I’ve burned through a ton of work that requires more quiet concentration than the office can provide, and the extra 90 minutes of sleep has been divine.

Even better, though, is the rare chance to enjoy my house in the sunshine. After such a dreary winter (fourth cloudiest on record, with only 31% of the possible sunshine), it’s been cheering – and revealing – to sit in the house without needing to turn lights on. My home office is particularly sunny, especially with the sun reflecting off the fresh snow. And it’s fun watching Collette migrate from sun spot to sun spot – top of the stairs in the morning, office floor mid-day and then the office chair in the afternoon.

On the flip side, the sunlight revealed gobs of ceiling cobwebs and the extent of the dusty neglect plaguing my bookcases.

Perhaps that’s what Emily Dickinson meant when she said the slant of light on winter afternoons “oppresses, like the weight/Of cathedral tunes.” Maybe she was a lazy housekeeper, too. As a spinster (did she own her home?), did she stay on top of her dusting?