Clean Enough

cleaning-productsCall me a good enough housekeeper — and that’s high praise I may not deserve. I dust on occasion and I vacuum once a week, just enough to keep up with the accumulating dog hair. And by each Saturday afternoon there is a brief, shining moment when all the laundry is done. Overall, my end result is a house that is slightly cleaner than it was before.

My mother was a far better housekeeper than I am. Or maybe I’ve just placed her on a clean and shiny pedestal. In any case, she kept a clean house. And she taught me how to clean: tasks like how to work a dust rag and run a vacuum cleaner, make a bed and sweep a floor, wash dishes and do laundry.

Following her lead, I taught my kids how to clean. Our Saturday morning ritual was to clean their bedroom and pick up toys in the playroom. They sat and watched me work about as much as they picked up their stuff themselves, but like sponges they did soak up the philosophy that an individual is responsible for cleaning up after him or herself. Now young adults, they’ve thanked me for those Saturday morning cleaning lessons that they are putting into practice in their own apartments.

My Mom, by far, had a tougher job keeping her big farm house clean than I have had with my little house in town. She had to deal with farm dirt, hay chaff, and manure — keeping the mess and the odor contained to the back entrance and out of the rest of the house. My husband does lawn and yard work for a living, so the worst raw materials I have to contend with are grass clippings, mulch, sand, and dirt clods shaking loose from the soles of his work boots. That and the dog hair.

When it comes to household cleanliness, I have far lower standards than my mother had. It’s just easier that way. As long as the health inspector doesn’t shut us down, we’re OK. Nothing but “clean enough” for my family.

Laura Sternweis

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