Cleaning House The Modern Way

It’s no secret that cleaning was an every-Saturday event when I was growing up. No alarm clock was needed as the rattle of buckets and mops meant it was time to get up and start cleaning for the girls in the family.

The boys were charged with taking out the trash, cutting the grass and removing their smelly shoes, hockey sticks, football pads and other assorted sports paraphernalia from the front door entrance. And they might have to clean the ashes out of the fireplace or bathe the family pets.

Saturdays were a mix of Murphy’s Oil Soap interspersed with an occasional spray of Windex and Lemon Pledge. Anyone knows that newspapers are magical at cleaning windows and we had a lot of both in the old homestead. Wood and linoleum floors were washed and carpets were swept including the 29 steps to the second and third floors.

We stopped long enough to enjoy a chipped ham sandwich on fresh white bread and a nice cold Coca-Cola. In summer, this was all done without the benefit of air conditioning and in winter when mops left out on the back porch had to be thawed out with hot water.

However, by the end of the afternoon, the house gleamed and smelled divine. It was a work of art.

Most stay-at-home women from decades ago often had strict weekly routines for “keeping house.” Monday was wash day, Tuesday was ironing, Wednesday was for downtown shopping (remember Wednesday specials?) and Thursday was grocery store day. Friday was a mix of errands and planning Sunday dinner. Saturday was the big cleaning day and Sunday was church day and for cooking a big meal.

Summertime also meant canning garden produce or making applesauce or applebutter for some homemakers.

Today’s lifestyles with more women in the workforce than not, there isn’t much time for such defined days of the week activities. I find that shopping at 6 a.m. before heading to work suits my schedule sometimes.

Or I like hitting the grocery store at 9 p.m. on a Friday night when others are at football games or social events. Stores that are open 24 hours a day also came about because of more working women and moms who have to find time to “do it all.”

Dusting, sweeping and mopping are never ending tasks. Cleaning companies are very in vogue today and for good reason. Time is scarce these days for busy women and men. If it fits the family budget, hiring someone to do the heavy chores can be worth the money spent and time gained.

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