While there’s still tons of folks having to actually report to their physical workspace (a heartfelt “thank you” to you all), the concept of working from home and avoiding contact with others as much as possible is not the vacation I might have dreamed it would be.
I was chatting with my old college roommate over the phone and he absolutely loves it. He’s an introvert and claims to be happy as a clam at home with just his partner and their dog. Their big outing that day had been a trip through the drive-thru at Burger King and they were satisfied to get back home with their miraculous burger or whatever it’s being called. Me, on the other hand… I need stimulation and contact with the outside world on, at least, a daily basis.
I live my life constantly communicating with people face to face, going to multiple destinations in our small community throughout the week. I’m a bit of a Type A person and am wound fairly tightly, so what’s one to do when work life is suddenly at the dining room table and you can’t even look forward to gathering with friends in the evening at a local restaurant? I decided I needed a list.
Indoor activities that are productive. If you’re like me, and the thought of spending hours on the couch bingeing on “Outlander” or “The Crown” gives you an active case of hives, now’s a great time to compile a list of the things you’ve been meaning to get done around the house. I like to feel that I’m constantly being productive so that by the time 6 p.m. rolls around, I really deserve that glass of wine. The fact is, I’m usually still trying to be productive after the wine starts flowing but that’s a subject of another article.
First, I chat with partner, Joe, and we decide to tackle some deep cleaning, room by room. Today’s rooms are the kitchen and living room. These are the spaces we spend the most time in, so it makes sense. Joe chose the kitchen and as I was describing my definition of a deep cleaning, he nodded and smiled. I’d kind of wanted to do that room, but, oh well.
We have a telescoping pole with a duster head, so first I’m going to knock down cobwebs. Our very tall ceilings in the living room have that popcorn finish, which I hate, and it’s probable I’ll get frustrated when the bumpy surface snags pieces of the duster and holds on to them. Down to the basement I’ll go for a tall stepladder.
Next are the inside surfaces of the windows. I know to wait on this if the sun is shining directly through, since cleaning them then would leave them streaky. I’ll wipe down the trim with a solution of Pine Sol and water. Then on to the bookcases! One of my least favorite things to do, and also one of the least frequently done, I might as well grab that ladder and start from the top. Will I actually pull all of the books and objects out and wipe them down individually? I should… but… we’ll see.
Next, I’ll vacuum the couches and chairs. We’ve got two dogs and two cats… all of them with long hair, so you can just imagine. One little trick I’ve learned is just using my damp hand to run across the vertical surfaces of upholstered pieces. You’ll be amazed how much fur you’ll gather. I’ll keep rolling it up into little fur tubes and just drop it on the rug that I’ll soon be vacuuming. Windex and paper towels next on the hard surfaces such as the mantle, coffee table, TV and the stand under it.
Finally, on to the floor. Our living room is big with a hardwood floor and an old oriental carpet anchoring the center of it. I’ll vacuum completely; switching from the power head with brushes for the carpet to the hard floor head and finally that long, narrow crevice tool for corners and behind pieces that don’t move easily. Of course, while all of this is going on, our dog, Laddie, will be barking his fool head off just like he does with the coffee grinder or the food processor… even a hair dryer, for that matter. He’s so learned in his expression of ferocious joy over these appliances, he now starts barking when he hears the door open to the closet where the vacuum lives, when I approach that particular spot on the kitchen counter and pull the coffee maker toward me, or when he hears just the sound of the lid going back on the Q-tip container in the upstairs bath. The hair dryer always follows Q-tips. I ought to mix up my routine just to confuse him.
Finally, I’ll mop the floor in the living room with a very light solution of my favorite: Murphy’s Oil Soap and water. I’ll also have a rag floating around in the murky bucket of water and wipe down the baseboards. Voila! Complete! This whole chore will probably take me an hour and a half. So what’s next on the list?
Cleaning just one room per day helps preserve my sanity. A whole house-cleaning in a single day is not for me. The enormity of it all just overwhelms me. So, how about some of those little micro-projects? You know the ones. In normal times, these are the things you keep intending to do but never quite get around to it. This list is all things you’d suddenly be in a rush to do if you were to put the house on the market. Here’s mine…
Fix that upstairs light switch that rocks slightly out of its receptacle every time you flip it. A bouncy switch is not really a good thing. That springy action is not intentional. It means something’s loose and all that rocking might eventually short out the wiring. Same with one of the kitchen ceiling light fixtures. How’s that cool industrial-look lamp now that it’s detaching from the drywall? I guess it’s time for one of those little plastic inserts for the screws I should have used in the first place. What about the weather stripping around the French door leading from the kitchen to the back porch? It’s been flapping in the breeze for at least a year now. Let’s get that re-attached and maybe wipe it down with soap and water in the process!
Ok, just so I don’t work myself up into a lather just creating this list, I think I’ll stop there. I think I’ve got at least a weekend and a couple weeknights’ worth of projects to be accomplished. If you’re like me, a little productivity around the house is one way to feel satisfied and sane as we wait for the world to open up to us again. And, just remember, even though it doesn’t really feel like it, spring is officially here and that lawn’s not raking itself, now is it?