My parents actually laughed out loud when they heard I was reading a book about cleaning house. I am 33 years old, but in the eyes of
my parents, I am still a messy teenager with a room they can hardly bear to enter.
These days, with four kids of my own, I do have to put in my cleaning time. I'm always looking for shortcuts, great ideas and inspiration. And I found it all in Mrs. Meyer's Clean Home: No-nonsense Advice That Will Inspire You to Clean Like the Dickens.
Thelma Meyer reared nine children in the 50s, 60s and 70s in Iowa. One of her daughters, Monica, started a cleaning products company, Mrs. Meyer's Clean Day, in 2001. Since then, people have asked if a Mrs. Meyer really exists. Well, she's real -- and she tells it like it is in this book.
I was pleasantly surprised to find that the book is not a thinly veiled advertisement for company products. The company and its products are mentioned once in the introduction, and that's it. In fact, Mrs. Meyer goes so far as to explain that you can do the vast majority of cleaning with basic ingredients like vinegar, baking soda and lemon juice -- good news if you're trying to take a more natural approach in your home these days.
In fact, so much of Mrs. Meyer's advice is spot-on for the conservationist attitude we're adopting lately. When this woman set out to recycle, she did it wholeheartedly. Forget separating cans and bottles -- she starts a wash with the cleanest clothes, then stops the washer before the water drains, removes the clothes and washes another load in the same water. And she does this two or three times to get every bit of usefulness out of that water.
On every page, you'll find practical advice you can use immediately. For example, she suggests that you keep a bottle of stain remover in your kids' bedrooms. That way, when you get them ready for bed, you can spray stains immediately, instead of letting them sit in the laundry basket for a few days.
Here's another gem: Those toothpaste spills in your sink? "Dab it up with a cloth and rub it on your sink and shower faucets to brighten them up," she suggests.
If you think you can't possibly find the time to do the cleaning suggested in the book, remind yourself that a woman with NINE CHILDREN and precious little free time wrote it. She's not telling you to do it all yourself. In fact, she mentions frequently how she involved her kids in every aspect of running the home, from meal preparation to laundry and cleaning duties.
Many of the ideas in the book are so good, you'll find yourself putting it down and racing off to clean or organize something. Really. Or you'll store a great idea in your mental "awesome!" file, like this one: Brown meat and fry onions in a pan with really high sides so you don't get oil spatter everywhere. I'm all in favor of tips that reduce clean-up time!
If you're looking for a little inspiration to spruce up your home and put some spring back into your cleaning routine, check out this book.
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