Coming Clean


Dear Good Housekeeping,

I have a full-time job. Do you have an alternate set of lists for those of us who have lives?

Yours truly, Leslie

We’re well into the season, and I am just getting geared up for the annual torture-fest called Spring Cleaning.

I did a little research – just to make sure I am not missing anything – and, according to the Good Housekeeping Institute and dozens of popular pins on Pinterest, I am a slob. I’d rather swallow a giant dust bunny than this realization.

I looked up the GHI annual chore list, and I was amazed by how short it was. There are only a few things on it. Then, I scrolled down the page. To my horror, the annual list was short because, many of the things I think are annual projects are actually on the “Every 3-6 Months” checklist.

Am I supposed to move all of my appliances and furniture, and clean the space behind and underneath them four flipping times a year? I’ll get a hernia!

Do you do this?

I looked at the weekly list, beaming with pride. “I’m a good housekeeper. I dust and change my sheets once a week.”

“Sorry,” says Good Housekeeping, “you are really, quite painfully, inadequate in every other time category.”

I strongly urge you not to look up this group of lists. There is no point in doing this to yourself. I especially want to caution you against reviewing the Daily Chore List. Apparently, you are supposed to sanitize anything sanitizeable in your house every day. Every. Day. Who has time for this much cleaning? I don’t even have time to use every sanitizeable surface in my house every day.

Maybe I hang with a rough crowd, but I don’t know anyone who can live up to this sadistic chore list. Can YOU? Did my mother not raise me right?

I’m proud of myself when I manage to vacuum every day. That’s pretty easy to keep up with, considering my vacuum cleaner consumes enough dog hair every week to create a whole, new litter of puppies.

Maybe those lists are meant to be suggestive only.

Why do I care about this so much? I think that it bothers me more than not living up to housekeeping standards set by people who have nothing else in their lives to think about but housekeeping.

What does the Good Housekeeping Institute know, anyway? There are plenty, far more lenient authorities out there.

I think I will stick with this cleaning tip I found on Pinterest: “Always keep a few ‘get well’ cards on the mantle. That way, if people come over unexpectedly, they’ll assume you’ve been too sick to clean.”

Of course, I could also just remember that I don’t have to live up to anyone’s standards but my own. Maybe I will never earn a Good Housekeeping Seal of Approval, but I am doing my best – and that’s all that ever really matters.


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