A few weeks ago the ol’ Camry needed to have its clutch replaced, so I brought it to the mechanic to have the job done. After the repair was made, I parked the car in the garage as usual. Due to the fact that the garage floor was covered in slush and ice, I didn’t see the extent of a leak problem right away. However, I did see a few drips on the driveway so, another trip to the mechanic’s shop was necessary. He disassembled the drive-train, replaced a seal, then reassembled everything. There was no charge for the second repair.
After the slush and ice in the garage thawed and evaporated, the other problem was revealed. Manual transmission fluid covered a substantial portion of the floor. Also, the front left tire of the car had parked on it, so each time I backed the car out of the garage, some of it tracked onto the driveway.
This was a nasty mess that a sprinkle of kitty litter was not going to remedy. It was time to do search the Internet for help. There are ideas to try and products to buy. I’ve tried several techniques and bought a few products. The worst of the mess is better, but the stains remain. I’ll need to work on those when the weather becomes a little warmer.
While surveying the garage floor, trying to brainstorm ways to banish the stains, I noticed that the rest of the garage needed to be tidied up. That’s when I realized that we have arrived at spring and it was time for the mandatory cleaning of the garage, house, and yard.
I needed some motivation. Why doesn’t the landlord pay me to maintain his property? There’s a quote on my refrigerator door from Simone de Beauvoir that came to mind. “Few tasks are more like the torture of Sisyphus than housework, with its endless repetition: the clean becomes soiled, the soiled is made clean, over and over, day after day.” Somehow, that quote was not going to kick me into gear.
There is another quote on the fridge that’s better. D.H. Lawrence wrote, “I got the blues thinking of the future, so I left off and made some marmalade. It’s amazing how it cheers one up to shred oranges and scrub the floor.”
That one does the trick. The only way to get the place clean is to get started. I begin by picking up the clutter. Once I get going on that, momentum builds to power through the rest of the cleaning chores. That’s why I usually begin each housekeeping session in the kitchen. The clutter there is easier to manage.
So, today I’ll do the kitchen, the bathroom, and the living room. The rest of the house gets done tomorrow. The garage is scheduled for the end of the week, so I can concentrate on the big job of removing the transmission fluid stains from the floor. Hopefully, some new ideas for the garage will come up before then.
One of the first things I learned during my stint as a maintenance worker when I was younger is to dress properly for the job. I wear old, but sturdy jeans, tee-shirts, and properly fitting, supporting shoes. I have suitable rubber gloves and canvas chore gloves ready to slip on when needed.
My cleaning tools and supplies are simple and basic. I learned the hard way that gadgets and potions marketed on teevee infomercials rarely work as advertised and are useless for really heavy duty work. The basic broom, dustpan, yarn mop, and vacuum cleaner are tried and true. Supplies are likewise basic and simple. A spray cleaner like Windex or store-brand window cleaner does multiple duty around the house. A good degreaser is a must. A scouring powder is good and cheap, and I keep trusty bathroom and tile cleaner on hand, ready to use.
An important technique I learned as a professional, is to methodically, sequentially work. Pros do not go over a room more than once. For instance, in the bathroom, start with the toilet, then the tub or shower, then the sink, then wipe down the fixtures and counter tops. If they’re cleaned one at a time, the job goes quicker and better because of less wasted movement.
The one area at a time technique is modified for each room of the house. Plus, I work from top to bottom when possible. The floor is the last place to be cleaned.
I’m all set for spring cleaning. I’m wearing the clothes now, the tools and supplies are ready. Writing this has provided some motivation. The time to clean is today.