Everything in my life is clean, clean, clean

#496 in a series of true experiences in real estate
September 2005, Hills Newspapers

I’ve been cleaning and fixing for days now. Attacking everything I see that can use my attention. I found an old purse of my daughter’s crocheted out of synthetic yarn, stained and a few strands pulled. I don’t know if she wants the purse anymore but I thought I might fix it.
I soaked it and washed and rinsed, mended and snipped short hanging threads and now it looks like new.

The windows in my house looked dusty. I couldn’t easily see out of them and there were lots of cobwebs, especially in the corners, some thin across the glass. I dusted them first, wiped them down with a cloth on the outside. Better but they still didn’t satisfy me.

I’ve never been expert at window washing but I got a bucket and added a little dish soap and found a squeegee I’d forgotten I had. It’s a good one, nice rubber blade on it, about 6 inches wide.

Remembering how I’d seen professionals do it, I kept a dry towel in my hand, drew the squeegee across the width of each wet pane, and dried the edges. It went very well. It went so well that I kept going, washing most of the windows in the house both inside and out.

I didn’t wash them all on the same day but spent half an hour or so on several days, which seemed just right. And I took down mini-blinds, very dusty and fly specked. I cleaned them by laying them on the patio, rinsing with the hose, washing with a sponge and water and a little dish soap added, then rinsed again.

Clean windows and blinds are incredibly satisfying to see. I moved on to the glass shower door, sat inside and made sure that I scrubbed every inch with non-scratching 0000 steel wool and Quick and Brite. Did the same on the outside, and it didn’t take long to do, but even with all this, the glass is still subtly etched. I don’t think it’s possible to make it completely clear again.

I washed my car, same dish soap and water, sqeegeed the windows. It was so fast and satisfying that when my son showed up with a very dirty car, I washed it too. Even got many of the tree sap blobs off with rubbing alcohol.

My kitchen floor is old fir laid on the diagonal, the color richly tawny. The floor has been sanded and coated with an oil finish. I like to sweep, and hate the noise of the vacuum cleaner, so generally I sweep the floor and spot clean it with a wet sponge or paper towels. But I was in major cleaning mode so I got down on my hands and knees and washed the floor wiping each section dry with a cloth so there would be no streaks. Looks good, worth the effort.

Some months ago we brought home a discarded kitchen stool from a listing, the exact type both Anet and I remember from our mothers’ kitchens. Metal with fold-down steps and padded plastic seat and back.

This one had some rust on the chrome and paint spatters from different paint jobs. I set the stool on newspapers on my kitchen table and started in to see what I could do to make it look better.

I washed and steel wooled, wiped and chipped. There is still some rust but not a lot. I don’t have a place for this handy stool in my kitchen but now it looks so good, I’ll have to find a home for it.

While cleaning windows I saw volumes of cobwebs on the outside of my house, some filmy and net-like, others heavy and thick. And white and brown spots from bugs all over the dark paint. I’d gone so far already, it seemed I couldn’t stop now. So I blasted with a hose and wiped with a cloth and at least for a short time, everything is clean and almost new looking.

I love accomplishing clean. Makes me feel like there’s a reason for being.

My daughter took me in her car to do some shopping. The car was a disaster, not so much on the outside but the inside had never been cleaned in the 2 plus years since she bought the car. Clothes, coins, gum and candy wrappers, CD’s, empty water bottles and Starbucks cups.

I said something and she assured me that she knew the car was a mess, she’d take care of it. But I was dying to do it myself. Could I? The very next day she brought the car to my house and parked it in the driveway.

I had such a good time! I vacuumed and scrubbed, used soap, water, the hose, wiping towels. I used Mr. Clean Magic Erasers and my thumbnail to scrape off spots. She worked with me and we threw out lots of stuff, sucked up more with the vacuum, folded and bagged all the clothes in the car (amazingly, all still in current use) – and does it look super!

I even put car wax on the hood (only) and was sorry that we’d spent so much time by then that I just couldn’t wax the rest of the body.

But I sure did enjoy myself.

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