Monday, July 8, 2013

Sick of cleaning the bathroom

I have been cleaning bathrooms for a long time. As a kid, it used to be one of my weekly chores. I hated it. As an adult, well, if I wanted a clean bathroom (which I desperately did), I needed to clean it. Still, I hated it. 

I live in a small house with a bath and a half. They're tiny. It literally takes me 15 minutes total to clean both. So, what was the big wup? One day as I sat around for the zillionth time analyzing why I hated cleaning the bathroom so much, I had a revelation. 

It wasn't that I didn't like the physical act of cleaning, but cleaning the bathroom made me sick. Truly, ill. I'm not talking about sick in the head, either. I realized that I held my breath the whole time I cleaned the bathroom, and I always opened the window, regardless of the temperature outside. And, even with those accommodations I felt light-headed and dizzy when the deed was done.

It was the cleaning products!

Right around this time is when I started to become interested in living more simply and more naturally. Somehow, praise be, I stumbled upon a book called Organic Housekeeping by Ellen Sandbeck. It changed my life and may even prolong it.

Ms. Sandbeck explains in simple and succinct terms that the toxic cleaning products that most of us use everyday were making me sick. She goes on to suggest natural and efficient ways to clean the whole house. She describes using natural, ordinary household products - vinegar and baking soda are chief among them- to clean everything. She also lists the basic, multi-purpose tools she uses to get every job done.

I can't say that I now love cleaning the bathroom, but I no longer deplore it, and it definitely doesn't make me sick. 

Here's what I do:
  • Vanity top - spray white vinegar and wipe down with a clean rag
  • Sink bowl - sprinkle with Bon Ami cleanser or baking soda and scrub with a clean rag
  • Toilet surfaces - spray with white vinegar and wipe down with a clean rag
  • Toilet bowl - pour vinegar in the toilet bowl before I start cleaning the bathroom, let it sit for about ten minutes while I clean the rest of the bathroom , and use a toilet brush to clean
  • Bathtub - sprinkle with Bon Ami cleanser or baking soda and scrub with a clean rag
  • Floor - sweep with broom or vacuum, spray with white vinegar and wipe down with clean rag
  • Mirror - spray white vinegar and wipe down with newspaper or a clean rag (if the mirror was previously cleaned with commercial glass cleaner, there will be a build-up that vinegar alone won't remove, so for the first cleaning you must add a little castile soap to your rag, after that vinegar alone will do the trick)
  • Put all the rags in the dirty laundry to be washed and used for next week's bathroom cleaning
Another pearl of wisdom in the book is what I think of as cleaning prevention. Basically, she suggests keeping your house clean and tidy as a rule, and then when cleaning day arrives, it's a breeze.  In essence, if you keep things tidy and clean up spills, etc. as they happen, your house doesn't have a chance to get really dirty.

Why not give natural cleaning a try? It's good for your health, good for the environment and it keeps a little more jingle in your pocket.

Do you have any tips for cleaning naturally?

Photo credits: Backdoor Survival, Elycefeliz

Monday, July 1, 2013

Blogging unleashes creative potential

When I started blogging, I didn't have a clue what I was doing. I'm not known for my tech savvy. I had never written much, outside of school and work assignments.

For ages, though, I'd have ideas floating around in my head that I wanted to write about. I wanted to get them out, or sometimes it felt like they wanted to get out of me. I possess not an iota of talent when it comes to drawing, painting, singing, sewing, or the like. So, it seems writing is my creative outlet.

Off and on over the years, I tried journaling. For whatever reason, it just never took. A notion would strike me, but by the time I got the physical pen to paper, the idea had evaporated, or I had lost my drive to get it down. I would often feel like I had let an opportunity pass me by.

With blogging, it's different. I can't say why. When an idea pops up in my head, I rarely forget it and can't wait to get to the ol' keyboard and start pounding away. I get excited about the writing process, setting up the layout, finding photos, and editing.

I don't have a massive readership - mostly just my mother. What's tremendous is, it makes no difference to me. Even though I put stuff out there in a public forum and I enjoy getting comments and having a dialogue on the things I write about, I blog for myself.

I don't have to conform to rules, or make sure that my writing is the latest, greatest thing to enter the blogosphere. I write what feels good to me, and I love it.

I'm probably a better writer than the average Joe/Josie on the street, but, let's be realistic, Toni Morrison, I am not. I doubt I'll ever get a paycheck for my writing. I'm just happy that I finally found a way to be creative, a space in which to do it, and in a medium that works for me. 

Who knows what opening the creative flood gates will lead to? As yoga has taught me, human potential in general, and mine in specific is boundless.

What is your creative outlet?

Photo credits: Mike Litch, Salendron