This welcome mat made me laugh, so I had to share it with you.
I'm using it as a satirical intro to a very serious subject, cleanliness. In reality, there is nothing funny about a messy house, just ask those who are stuck in one; they aren't laughing, in fact they're miserable. Cleanliness, as they say, is next to godliness, and this is true for good reason. We have all seen those shows on t.v., where well groomed cleaning mavens come knocking on the grimy doors of some unsuspecting slobs, in order to bring the blessings of cleanliness to them. We apparently can't get enough of these shows, because there is a variant of this theme on nearly every network channel. The irony is that many people watch
these soft-horror shows through a thick layer of magnetized dust covering their own t.v. screens, with their hand stuck to a crud encrusted remote control, that is if they can find the stupid thing among their own piles of clutter! Ever hear of a dust cloth, or a Swiffer per chance? Don't worry, even as I type this article I can see millions of annoying little dust particles littering my computer screen!
Why do we feel compelled to watch these shows anyway? I think it is because they make us feel better about ourselves. When we see other people living in vast amounts of self-inflicted squalor, then we can justify our own laziness and apathy toward our own filth with this comforting thought: "At least I'm not as bad as they are!" The fact is that we all could be a little cleaner than we currently are, by pushing past our own filth thresholds we've slowly developed. There is a saying: People who live in glass houses shouldn't throw stones, or in other words, we can be such hypocrites can't we?
Ever notice all the cleaning product commercials that run during these "tidy up" shows? There is a reason for that. I would like to think that the intent of these shows is to inspire us to get off our blessed assurances, and grab a broom and dust pan, vacuum, and mop, and to clean our homes. But more than likely, the real intent is to get us to buy the advertiser's cleaning products, who intern buy air time from the network producing the show - the show that makes us feel superior to the slobs they showcase- so as usual, it's all about the money! Oh well, we all gotta make a living, so why not make it a clean one?
Even as a young girl, I remember my mom teaching us to clean our rooms. I got a spanking once for defiantly refusing to comply after several of her promptings. One of her favorite stories about my childhood room cleaning debacles, was how I had tried to fool her. I do remember doing this by the way, I think I was four or five at the time. She came into my room and was amazed by how clean it was, she looked so happy, that is until she did some investigating. By this time during the story, she would be laughing as she told her bemused audience that my room was so clean, because I had shoved all my clothes (clean and dirty) and clutter under my bed, then stuffed more of it behind my bulging closet door, and cleverly hid the rest behind my bedroom door. Sure, it's hilarious now, but it wasn't then. I don't know why we think we can fool our moms, but we do!
My mom did teach us (her six children) to clean up after ourselves; this was a necessity not only for her sanity, but also as a valuable life lesson for us. One that most of us have learned well and retained - that of keeping a clean home. She also taught us that it is easier to maintain a clean home, rather than to clean a home where the mess has gotten out of control. This is so very true, as the contestants and viewers of these home cleaning reality shows can attest.
As a good mother, she even extended her motherly care to the next generation of our family, namely my son Timothy. I remember one day, I was driving my mom and I somewhere (I wasn't blessed with a photographic memory) when she said out of the clear blue sky, "Timothy is spoiled rotten." Without losing control of the wheel, or slamming on my brakes, I dejectedly asked, "What do you mean?", while keeping my eyes fixed on the road, I braced myself for her impending motherly correction. She told me that I did everything for him, and he didn't even clean his own room. She was right, and her words quickly hit home, after all, she didn't raise me like that. I sucked in my breath, my mouth agape in horror, "Hhhh, you're right! Oh, he is so going to clean his room when I get home!", I promised her and thanked her for telling me, as she beamed with satisfaction.
Please allow me to explain the reason for my parenting error. At that time, I was working outside the home, stuck (so I thought) in a job I didn't like. So I justified my lax behavior by telling myself it was easier and less stressful to just do things myself, rather than go through the tedium of teaching Timothy how to do them for himself. My selfish shortsightedness and lack of understanding was preventing me from doing my real job; preparing my son for the long road of life, that he would all too soon be traveling on, when he left the nest. A journey he would be taking ill-equipped without the proper training that I had received from my mom. In short: I was failing! I hate failing, so things had to change and they did thanks to my mom. I will always love her for bravely telling me that painful truth!
So, dear reader, I will pass this snip-it of motherly wisdom on to you: please teach your children while they are very young to clean their own room on a regular basis, and not only that, but explain to them why it is important to do so. I will once and a while give my sons' rooms a mercy cleaning, but for the most part they are responsible for its regular maintenance. Also, it is a good thing to give your children daily chores that they can handle, and that contribute to daily living, such as doing dishes, or vacuuming, and of course picking up after themselves. This will give them the much needed instruction and training on how to live on their own, and it will also give them a sense of accomplishment, and an important role within the family unit. One of my favorite stories as a child was 'The Little Red Hen,' which promoted the biblical moral: if you don't work, then you don't eat. A Proverb found in the Bible also assures parents: When you instruct a child in the way he should go, and when he is old, he won't depart from it. Such is the case for me and most of my siblings regarding the subject of cleanliness. Thanks mom!
Clean up kitchen after each meal
immediately wipe counters, stove, oven spills
they are easier to clean when fresh
Clean up after pets: food dishes,
cages, litter boxes, etc.
Clean spills and messes as they
Hang up wet dish and bath towels to
dry; put dirty ones in the laundry
Laundry - depending on the amount
of laundry your family makes and
the size of your facilities, you may
need to do laundry more often, just
don't let the pile grow too large. If
you have enough of a type (whites,
darks, etc.) for a full load, then
Make your bed
Put dirty clothes in hamper/basket
Put clean clothes away immediately
Put toys and projects away after use
Take out trash as needed
Wash dishes, or place in dishwasher
after use, don't let them pile in the
sink between meals.
Wipe down bathroom fixtures
Wipe out microwave, and cover food
with a paper towel or plastic
wrap while heating; it will reduce
Change bed linens, maybe twice a week or
more due to illness or bad habbits like
eating in bed
Clean your cleaning tools: vacuum, brooms
wipe down cleanser bottles
Clean home phone (more often during
Deep clean bathroom
Dust some more
Wipe down front and back doors,
sweep away cobbwebs, make note
of any repairs that need to be
done, replace light bulbs, etc.
Wipe down kitchen cabinets
Wipe out refrigerator, get rid of spoiling
food or out of date items, condence
containers or large dishes holding
small amounts of food. An overloaded
refrigerator works harder, and
waste energy and money.
These lists are not exhaustive, but give you an idea of what can be done on a daily and weekly basis in order to keep ahead of messes, and help monthly or biannual deep cleanings go more quickly and even more pleasantly!