Friday, 8 July 2011

Speed Cleaning

Our cleaner disappeared. Do people just disappear?  He stopped coming and cleaning our house, and then when I tried to ring him the phone had been disconnected.

My theories are: he finally won the lottery and is travelling around the world repeatedly; aliens abducted him; or he finally realised that cleaning up after my family is not worth the money I pay him, and has changed his name and gone to live with a new identity somewhere exotic, like New South Wales. Because he's a missing person, I should give you his description: he's tall enough to reach shelves I can't reach and put things I use on them; wears the kind of daggy clothes you'd wear for cleaning house; and is the kind of person who'd buy a meat pie for his morning tea and then share it with my scavenging dog.

Given that working part time and being on a part pension, money isn't all that easy to come by, I decided now was a time to get inventive. One of my kids is officially an adult now and one is less than a year off it. A house with three adults in it should be able to be cleaned by the residents, right?

I thought I'd enlist the help of experts and bought Speed Cleaning by Shannon Lush and Jennifer Fleming. They know how to keep an entire house clean in 15 minutes per day. (Seriously.)

Clearly, they don't have lupus, and the help of a pair of teenagers who really don't want to help.

I've read the book cover to cover, several times.

Here's the thing: what they can do in 15 minutes, I could probably do in about five hours - as long as I spread those five hours over about a week. But their 15 minutes a day, is meant to be done every day - which means I would need seven weeks to do a week's worth of their cleaning methods.

This is not to say there's anything wrong with their book. I'm sure if I was healthy, I could do everything they say, and it would all be good.  If you don't have lupus or some other chronic condition that leaves you fatigued, or in pain, when you do too much, I recommend you buy it. I want to give a copy to each of my kids when they leave home.

The big thing from this book that I can use, is that the best way to clean is to break things down into little bits. That fits with the lupus lifestyle. I can go and throw a load of washing into the machine, do a couple of dishes, then go lie down until the washing needs to come out of the machine. I can hang up the wash (on a rack in the laundry - saves going outside), wipe down a bench and go for a lie down. Then I can fold the previous day's washing since it's dry, sweep the kitchen floor, tell a teenager to take out the garbage and - yes of course - have another lie down. I break every job down into its smallest part, and then give myself credit every time I achieve each little part. For the big stuff, like using a vacuum cleaner - well I've got big teenagers, and it's time to teach them some life skills.

Well, that's a blog entry done.... Time for a lie down.

LUSH, Shannon & FLEMING, Jennifer. Speed Cleaning. Sydney: ABC Books, 2006.

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