There was a time, not too long ago, I’m talking months, that you rarely saw me clean the house. Yes I did dishes daily and laundry, but things like cleaning the bathrooms, washing the floor, cleaning my oven, those ‘big’ jobs got done much less than regularly. I would have to get myself pumped up to clean the bathroom, which by this point would be in rough shape. The kitchen floors, aside from spilled milk getting wiped up, hardly felt a mop. This is all quite embarrassing to admit. When I was working full time we hired a cleaner to come once every two weeks. It seemed like a good idea, then I wouldn’t stress about it and I could focus energy elsewhere. Except that, the day the cleaner was scheduled to come, it was a panic to pick up and put everything away so they could actually clean. I had specific cleaning supplies I wanted used, they didn’t get used. And I felt like if I was paying someone to clean it should be exceptional and to be honest, it wasn’t to my expectations. We got rid of the cleaner and I resumed my sparse routine of necessary cleaning.
Then one day in January, after following Mrs. Hinch on Instagram for a few weeks, I felt this desire to clean something. I decided to mix up some All Purpose cleaning spray with Thieves essential oil, some water, and a couple drops of dish soap. I started spraying the cupboards and wiping them down with a microfiber cloth. I really don’t know what came over me. So simple, but so satisfying. It took me all of five minutes to quickly spray and wipe all the cupboards and drawers. As I was completing this seemingly mundane and unimportant task, I felt a sense of ease come over me, it is difficult to explain really what I mean. I noticed the smell of the Thieves and how enjoyable that was. I paid attention to all the smudges I was wiping away. I listened carefully to the sound of the spray bottle spritzing my homemade cleaner on to the surface. This simple routine was actually an experience of mindfulness, Presence. It felt so easy and so satisfying that I just kept going. I wiped all the door knobs and light switches down. You might be reading this thinking “um where are you going with this? I do these things all the time.” My only point is that this wasn’t a habit of mine and before I would have said I didn’t have time, with 4 little ones at home, one a newborn. But suddenly, out of nowhere, was this simple but powerful act of Presence. I didn’t actually fully realize it on that first day, but for some reason I felt something. So I kept my little bottle of spray and my microfiber cloth stored under the kitchen sink. That way I could just quickly reach for it when I felt there were a few minutes to spray and wipe the cupboards. After a few more days (yes only days!) this call to clean spread through the house. I wondered, if it was that easy to quickly wipe the kitchen cupboards, could it be the same for the bathroom? I dug my Tiber River, Maid in a Bottle all purpose cleaning solution out of the laundry room. This is a bottle of concentrated cleaning solution that you can dilute. I would just take the big bottle out when I needed it and pour some in the sink and then clean the bathroom. Highly inefficient and very inconveniently stored in the laundry room. Before I did anything else I headed to the dollar store to get some spray bottles, labels, and plastic bins. On Mrs.Hinch’s inspiration, I needed to create under the sink Narnias for the bathrooms and the kitchen. If it was convenience that was preventing me from keeping the bathrooms clean, I could fix that easily by having all the required supplies right there in each bathroom and organized. The current Narnias took me several trips to figure out exactly what I needed. But after that first trip, I had a few spray bottles and some labels. The upstairs bathrooms share a bottle of cleaner and a Norwex Enviro microfiber cloth(more on those in another post). The main floor bathroom has a full set of its own supplies. I cannot tell you how life changing this simple step has been. I am not kidding! My bathrooms are always sparkling now because cleaning them is so simple and I do it so often that they never reach that point of disgust. By doing quick cleans frequently, I avoid it becoming a big job. Every so often I do a bigger clean, but doing it little and often makes it so freaking easy! And just like wiping the kitchen cupboards, cleaning the bathroom is an act of Presence. I love the smell of my Main in a Bottle and since its all natural I don’t have to worry about breathing in toxic fumes.
Speaking of non toxic cleaners, I use only safe and non toxic cleaning products. I have several reasons for this, but one is because then cleaning can be a beautiful act of Presence. Even before I came to this realization, I aimed to use non toxic cleaners for the environment and for the health and safety of my family. That being said, they need to work and make the job easy and enjoyable. In the beginning, I used a lot of homemade stuff that didn’t really harm anything and if it did work, it required a lot of effort. Making it EASY was a necessity for me. Then I was gifted some products from Norwex. The Cleaning Paste changed my life! One of my favourite things to do is clean my stove top using the Norwex Cleaning Paste. The smell is amazing! The texture of the paste used with a Scrubb Daddy sponge is so fun. And it works so well.
I could go on about my favourite cleaning supplies and products, and I will, but in a separate post. My point here is that to do something that we have to do anyway, but do it in an intentional and present way can really change your life. To be fully present to whatever the task you are doing in that moment is to fully experience life. These little, routine, necessary things we do (or avoided doing) are what make up our lives. To simply get through the day’s agenda of work is to let your life pass you by. So next time you find yourself cleaning your bathroom, remember to notice all there is to notice, the beautiful and the disgusting, just notice it.