Tuesday, November 17, 2009

The cleaning lady

I kid you not - a woman's work is never done. Especially if she's just finished waving the carpenters goodbye and it is time to stash stuff away.


The thing to remember when surveying the sea of bags and suitcases with a sour eye, is not to panic. Yes, it's overwhelming not knowing where to begin and the rest of it, but shush. Start by cleaning out the floors - if you've just shifted, and what's more, had carpenters, plumbers and other persons working on the premises - chances are the floors will require two sweepings and may be the same number of washings. Alternatively, you could leave the floors for last. Wear a pair of comfortable and clean slippers or shoes around the house as you set about cleaning.

If it makes better sense, start with putting the clothes, shoes, bags and kitchen utensils away. Put one type of article away at a time, and don't stop till all of the stuff in that category is put away completely. Trust me, it's a big motivator to see the clothes all put away before you start on the kitchen stuff. Setting house is nothing if not a lesson in self-motivation.

Next, dry dust/ sweep all surfaces, vertical and horizontal. Take the duster inside cabinets and in the corners of shelves, inside bathroom traps and inside lofts. Follow this with a liberal amount of pesticide spraying, if you haven't already called the pest-control guys. If you're going to pest-proof the place professionally, I would suggest doing it when the house is empty and the stuff is still inside bags.

After this, start the next stage of cleaning all surfaces with a wet duster. There is nothing more satisfying than gleaming surfaces emerging from under a wet duster. Some surfaces such as the cooking range, sink, tiles around the washbasin, the washbasin, commode, bathroom tiles and so on may require a vigorous soap bath. Use an abrasive powder such as Vim to attack stubborn stains, but protect your hands when doing so. If your skin rebels against cleaning powders, go for detergents like Pril but use a cleaning pad.

Once this is done, sit for a while with a cup of tea/ coffee/ poison of your choice.

It makes sense to start on the tough parts of the job first. Leave such minor tasks as putting detergents and other things away for the end, and include making the beds, putting up the paintings, arranging your books neatly in the book case, going out to buy potted plants and such, for much later. Small things left at the end are very therapeutic and will help you relax from the stresses of all the cleaning.

Do write in if you did things differently or if you have better ideas on setting up the house.

Next: Optimum service.

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