10 Things I Learned from Thoroughly Cleaning My Family Room

by StephBuckwalter on April 3, 2010

Month 1 of the Whole House Support Program is done. I went a little crazy in my own home. I washed the curtains, beat the rug, and oiled the furniture. For most people, every experience is a learning experience. Here are 10 things I learned, in no particular order:

  1. Having raised furniture with skirts is a bad idea. It serves as a collection point for stuff and encourages dishonesty during clean up.
  2. No crumb of food pulled from under the couch—no matter how old or disgusting—goes to waste when you have a dog in the house. No explanation needed (I hope).
  3. Dust multiplies. I had a great time of dust inhalation while vacuuming the tops of shelves and under furniture. I’m not sure where all the dust comes from, but I’m hoping this thorough cleaning and changing the filters will get rid of some of it.
  4. Couch cushions get disgustingly dirty. If you have fabric-covered cushions, you might want to skip this one and just go to #5 so you don’t think about this. I was really into cleaning with the first breath of Spring so I took the covers off our cushions and washed them in the bathtub. After the first round of washing, the water looked like the Mississippi River. Not good. So I washed them again. This time, the water looked like the San Antonio River (think Riverwalk). The rinse water was still not perfectly clean, but my arms were tired and I decided that they were much cleaner than when I started. I declared them clean and put them outside to dry. No one complained.
  5. Oiling wood furniture makes a difference. I have some nice wooden display shelves and a piano in my family room. I took the time to oil them (which will probably help cut down on the dust). The room looks cleaner and brighter now that the wood shines.
  6. Not having TV reception or cable for years really multiplies your video collection beyond reasonable. We only got cable about two or three years ago. Before that, if we got the urge for visual media, we watched videos (didn’t have a DVD player at the time—these are all those bulky VHS tapes). When I did my initial Kamikaze Cleaning, I put all the little kid videos and movies that were not favorites in boxes and set them out of sight behind the couch. Since the Whole House Project is about thoroughly cleaning, I finally had to deal with them. Sometimes I long for those days when we had no TV reception. I’m thinking about going back to them at the beginning of the next school year.
  7. I did not inherit a decorating gene. I should have recognized this much earlier as, believe it or not, I majored in Interior Design for two semesters. I think it was the organizational aspect that I liked rather than the decorating part.
  8. There are very few well-written, kid-friendly books in this world. As I surveyed our modest collection, I realized that there were relatively few that we returned to over and over again over the years. Most can be passed along.
  9. Cleaning takes real work and regular maintenance. I’m guessing that some of you will be thinking, “Duh,” but for me, home maintenance is one long “Aha!” Now that I think about it, one of the comments an adult made about me when I was in high school was, “That Stephanie. She wakes up in a new world every day.” I think these may be related.
  10. A clean room blesses anyone who enters it. And therein lies the real reward.

Feel free to share what you learned during your housecleaning experience.

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