Saturday, September 4, 2010

Neat, Orderly, and Germs

How's the inside of your home looking?  There are two things that I'm thinking about when I ask this question.  First, does everything have its own place in your house?  Second, what germs are being spread because either we don't like cleaning house or we are just too busy to spend our time on such a mundane task?  After all, it's just going to be need cleaning again tomorrow or next week.


Do you have a place for everything in your house?  I know that I have some food stored in the garage, some in the mud room, some in the kitchen, and some in the family room.  None of it is in the middle of the room, or pushed up against bookshelves or stored on the kitchen table.  Same thing goes for kids toys.  At the end of the day is it all put away?  It takes perhaps 2 or 3 minutes to pick up all the toys and get them put away if they all go in the same area?  Have a race.  Just how quickly can you fold laundry and put it away?  If I'm having one of those days and I want to be a vegetable and watch tv (I do watch about 2 or 3 hours a week) just how much stuff can I do during the commercials?  A lot if you have a plan.  Now, I'm not saying that you should be sitting on your rear all day and just getting off it during commercials.  I'm trying to point out that if you take all the basic cleaning tasks and break them down into one or two minute races you'd have a tidy house.  Now I'm not talking about dusting or cobwebs but if those get included so much the better.


I'm an advocate of hiding things in plain site.  For example, food can be stored behind books on the shelves.  Money can be stored behind food in the cabinet, or in the Monopoly game box.  One of my favorite spots is behind the bathroom sink.  There is space between the sink and the wall.  Under the sink is filled with cleanser, shampoo, soap, etc.  Not the best spot for the burglar or thieving houseguest to look.  Another place is to remove the kickboard under the cabinets.  There's plenty of hidden space there!    If you do have money or valuables hidden make sure someone else knows, perhaps a trusted relative on the other side of the country.  We've all heard stories about someone who threw out the money can or gave away a picture that was hanging on the wall only to find out that something valuable was hidden between the picture and the frame.  


If a fire broke out in your house in the middle of the night, you had no lights that worked, and you had a house guest, would that person make it out of the bedroom, down the hall, down or up stairs, and to a door without tripping over something?  You should be able to close your eyes and walk through your house without falling over things.  Play a game with the kids.  Blindfold them and see if they can make it from one end of the house to the other.  With your eyes closed you should be able to get to your boots, matches and candles, weapons, doors, etc.  You can have fun with this game. We do.


Another fun "game" is called Where is it?  For example, where is the purple tape measure?  This is different from where is the black tape measure.  The black one is in the toolbox in the fourth drawer.  The purple one is in the laundry room in the top drawer on the right.  And then go look.  Too much time is wasted looking for things that should have a permanent place. 


Why is this an issue?  It's not because I'm anal about things being put away properly.  Sometimes I'm messy, I get in those moods too.  When someone is working on a project, especially if it's important, necessary, and needs to be fixed NOW, their stress level rises when they have to search for things rather than just being able to go to the proper spot and get what they need.


Germs.  It's almost cold and flu season, although at 100° today it sure doesn't feel like winter is coming.  We all know the new way to cough and sneeze…into your sleeve rather than holding your hand over your mouth.  I'm not thinking about that, I'm thinking about door knobs, light switches, etc.  How long, in minutes, would it take to clean them off each day?  I have a squirt bottle filled with ¼ bleach and ¾ water.  That's a pretty strong bleach solution.  I squirt that onto a rag and can walk though my entire house and clean off all the light switches in less than 1 ½ minutes and it doesn't take a lot more time to wipe down the doorknobs.


Cleaning doorknobs and light switches may not be something you'd think about cleaning every day but if TSHTF this is the easiest way to keep everyone in your household healthy. 

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