Hello dear ladies! I hope some of you are having a sunny weekend - it is pouring here in my part of Yorkshire.
My post today is a sort of 'teaching granny to suck eggs' - almost literally - as it is about that long derided and undervalued skill (and skill it is) that our female forebears did with gusto. It is called HOUSEKEEPING!
Before you all click away.....let me share my thoughts on housekeeping....
1. Housekeeping is about maintaining a well run and orderly home that works for you and your family;
2. Housekeeping is about value for money - making the best use of what you have and getting the most out of what you buy;
3. Housekeeping is about creating a calm and homely environment (or trying to!);
4. Housekeeping is so much more than cleaning (although that is part of it)!
When I think housework I think drudgery, having to do things around the house, begrudging time spent away from things I would rather be doing...you know the feeling.
When I think housekeeping I think about being in control.
Think of the fantastically efficient Miss Kenton in The Remains of the Day.....
|Bike and beret optional but very fetching|
It's best not to think of Mrs Danvers though...
The distinction between housework and housekeeping is important to me - all that stuff around the house needs to be done so seeing it as a specialist skill helps me to just get on with it and to take pride in what I do. If I have to do housework...mmm....where is that Country Living magazine? Whereas if I am going to do some housekeeping...yup I am a domestic goddess and my home is a haven!! (so I tell myself!). I find this is especially important as I work outside of the home (because, yes as we know, all you stay at home mums are working too!) and I have a continuous problem with low energy (thanks to menopause, anti-depression meds and dodgy thyroid) and I struggle to get motivated sometimes.
I became interested in green cleaning when my son was diagnosed with asthma and eczema around 7 years ago. I swept away all the chemical cleaners and replaced them with natural products. Some time later I began making my own.
I recently left a comment at Attic24 and the very lovely Lucy emailed me to ask about the cleaning products I make. So I thought it would be fun to share some recipes here.
So dear ladies - get out that apron...embrace your inner housekeeper...and prepare for some alchemy!
Wait a minute...before you rush out and start hunting down the rubber gloves we need to talk about kit!
The first thing to think about is the cleaning caddy or basket. This is a way of keeping your cleaning products together and in some sort of order. There is a balance to be found here between utility and aesthetics, but I really believe that having equipment that looks good is more likely to get used!!!
So here are some ideas for caddies....but be creative and find what works for you.
Practical and cheap, hard wearing and easy to keep clean....
If you have a bigger budget....also hardwearing but prettier, this traditional housekeepers metal box....
Be creative...if you like a vintage look then how about a hamper.......
or this cute baby toiletries basket?
This is a craft caddy that I think could also be used for cleaning....
Whatever you choose, remember that the caddy has to be durable, have carrying handles and needs to be able to carry some weight.
So, you have your caddy...what else do you need?
1. A rag bag. Yes, you heard me. Dig out those festering cloths and filthy dusters from underneath the kitchen sink and replace them with a large bag of clean cloths...cotton floor cloths, dishcloths, sponges and (my favourite) microfibre cloths. Old T shirts make nice, soft dusters. Or make your own cleaning cloths....a quick Google search revealed lots of patterns for crochet cloths, such as this and this.
And look at these....don't they make you want to dash out and get those rubber gloves on?!
|Free pattern from Lion Brand|
|I don't know who made these but they are gorgeous!|
In fact, who knew that the humble dish cloth could inspire such loveliness? Search for dishcloths on Ravelry and you will see what I mean.
So you have a soft cloth bag full of cloths and after each clean you just chuck them in the washing machine and then return them to the bag when they are clean. No more damp, smelly cloths.
2. Spray bottles, tubs and bowls. It is best if your spray bottles have different colour tops for easy identification or else you can label them. They are used for natural air freshener and for general cleaning solutions. I use a small round plastic tub with a lid for keeping my surface/bathroom cleaner in. You can of course buy glass bottles and use glass jars with screw lids for keeping cleansers in...depends how green and/or clumsy you are! And any smallish bowl for mixing potions in!
3. A small tin is good for keeping small bits in, such as cotton buds, a small scrubbing or nail brush, spoons for measuring and mixing etc.
So that is the basic hardware.
Next time I will blog about the recipes and what you need for a clean, green home!
Enjoy your weekend xxx