Bits- Laundry baskets and junk drawers

All week long I have been working on research and interviews for the Spring Home and Garden articles in this week’s paper. Writing about it makes me want to do my own “spring cleaning.” You know, open all the windows, wash them inside and out, clean the floors, patch the chips in the paint, wash away the scuff marks …

Actually I do have one room almost completely done. We replaced the carpeting in the living room with a new vinyl product that looks like hardwood. To do that everything came out and before we put it back, everything got a good cleaning – and believe me it needed it. All that is left is washing the windows and touching up a couple of places where the paint has chipped on the walls.

Now I am fighting the urge to start in on another room. I just can’t decide which one since they all seem to need it desperately.

It is frustrating because even if you spend all day cleaning,  it only stays nice for a couple of days and then you have to start all over again.

Every time I know we are having company I can suddenly see all of the things that just aren’t clean enough for it (company).

My sister in law Marlene had the perfect solution. She always left her vacuum sitting in the living room.

I asked her about it one time and she said, “It’s in case someone comes over. I’ll tell them “I was just cleaning.”

Maybe it’s because I grew up in the happy homemaker era of the 50s and 60s, but I understand her reasoning completely.

Remember “Leave it to Beaver”? If you do, you know exactly what I mean. Not only was that house always “open house clean,” but Mom (June) did it all in a dress and high heels and still had dinner, complete with salad and dessert ready  and on the beautifully set table at 6 p.m.

If I clean house, that night we order pizza – or eat cold cereal for supper.

Back then most Moms didn’t work outside the home. Mine did, but then that is another story. Somehow she still managed to keep our place looking fairly neat – but then we had lots of junk drawers. Mom was a genius.

I am a firm believer in junk drawers. We have four or five in the house – usually the top drawer of assorted and strategically placed desks and dressers – and they certainly come in handy. First of all little kids just love them so they always have fun when they visit. And, if someone calls to say they are on their way over, you just open the drawer and sweep everything off into there – that and a quick swipe with the dust cloth means instant neatness.

Since this is the method to my madness, of course you know the coffee table in the living room is an old trunk. Just don’t open it.

Another “must have” cleaning tool is the laundry basket. Somebody is on their way over? Carry it through each room and throw everything in there that doesn’t belong. Then hide the basket in a closet.

And of course, drag the vacuum out into the living room, unwrap the cord and plug it in. Now you are all ready for company.

All of this comes up because spring is really here now, we have been working on upgrading the living room and I have been looking around at the rest of this winter weary house.

Of course the yard and flower beds are a mess too after all of the winter debris from the storms and leaves that didn’t get raked up last year. I hardly know where to start, so I tend to put it off until I get a little more ambition. Besides, rakes are way down on my list of preferred tools – on the very bottom actually.

So I guess inside the house should be my first project. I really do need to clean up, wash windows and air the place out again.

And, I should clean out some of those junk drawers and find the hidden laundry baskets, so I have a place to put stuff when company is on the way over.