Wednesday, February 10, 2010

I Don't Know How to Clean, But Chris Cervelli Does!

I was on the phone with Donna this morning, complaining about the snow, being sick, and having no energy to clean my house. She suggested, wisely, that I should make a list of things I needed to do today, things that I haven't gotten to yet and wanted to accomplish.

I started the list. One of things I wanted to do was conquer all the dishes in my sink**.
**I know this picture is going to upset Cordy and Chaim who once cleaned the pants off my kitchen. Sorry guys.

This task seemed overwhelming to me in my feverish state. So we agreed that I would, instead, wash three major dishes, meaning three large dishes such as pots or pans. Donna's boyfriend, Chris, overheard our conversation and started vetoing this idea in the background. There's something you should know about Chris, he is an excellent cleaner.

Whenever I visit Donna and Chris' apartment I am constantly impressed by their spotless floors, which Chris is in charge of cleaning. I was so intrigued by Mr. Cervelli's vocal dissonance in the background that I asked to speak with him directly.

"If you want to do the dishes," Chris (the cleaning voice of reason) began "Don't do three of them, do all of them."

"Chris," I began "I feel really sick. But seeing the dishes in the sink really bothers me!"

"If you don't feel well, you shouldn't be doing the dishes, you should be doing something more useful, like resting. When you feel better, then conquer the dishes."
"Okay..." I said still feeling bad about the dishes.

Somehow, we started on the topic of cleaning. I was raised in a household where my mom ended up cleaning my room for me because she could never manage to get me to do it myself. I admit it, I was spoiled. Anyway, the point is I never learned how to clean. At 30 years old, I think it's about damn time that I took the cleaning leap. Here is what Chris Cervelli, master cleaner, taught me about cleaning:
  • In order to properly clean, you need to have as little in your apartment as possible. That means throw away, or donate to charity, items and/or furniture you don't use
  • Purchase a good broom- a good broom doesn't need to be expensive. It means that it has hard bristles and is durable
  • Purchase a mini broom and dustpan set like this:

This will be excellent for spot cleaning-- meaning if you see some Cherrios on the floor and you quickly want to trap them. Having the dwarf sized broom will prolong the life of the big broom.
  • If you have cats (which I do) have a separate broom for cat litter then you have for regular daily sweeping
  • This is a big one: NO SHOES IN THE HOUSE! Shoes track dirt and nastiness onto your floors. You can make occasional exceptions to this rule if you have a party and you don't want to demand that all of your guests remove their shoes.
Thank you Chris Cervelli, master cleaner for your tips! I am now inspired to clean my house!


  1. I am obsessed with cleaning, but once upon a time I hated it and my room was always messy as a kid. Once though, I was being bothered by my mom to clean my room and so I finally gave in, and what I found disturbed me: a pincher bug living in the pile of clothes on my floor! I was terrified and my mom told me that yes, bugs like to live in messy places because there's lots of room to hide. So, now I have to clean everything all the time as I hate bugs with a passion.

    I agree with the no-shoes policy. As Muslims we never wear our shoes inside anyone's house...some people think it's weird and are like, "oh, you don't have to take your shoes off" but yes, I have to. It feels weird to leave them on.

    Also, I don't own a broom. Isn't that weird? I hate brooms because I feel like they fling dirt around and don't get every little crumb so I use the vacuum and the hose attachment to clean in all the little crevices of my house. I also shampoo my carpets, but I could mop more often, that's one thing I don't get around to as much as I'd like.

    I say write a list, and only tackle one big job per day until your house is in a clean enough state that only requires minor maintenance instead of full-on, hardcore cleaning. Maintaining takes way less time so once you have it clean, don't let it get CRAZY messy again. Also, don't you have a dishwasher? I would die without mine.

  2. I do not have a dishwasher and it makes me sad. That is like a New York wet dream, a dish washer is.

    Anyway, I am very easily overwhelmed and have a perfectionist mentality which makes cleaning very hard for me.

    I need someone to break it down for me in an organized way and help me not freak out about cleaning and want to curl up and die.

  3. HAHA! Yes the first thing I saw was that picture and I was like *GASP!* :O lol.

    Amanda and Sarah, is it just me? I don't have this problem, I just don't stop cleaning. :P There is a method to this madness...I keep it relatively clean so its not so daunting, like if something drips down the cabinets, I wipe it. Actually I cringe if I don't... I do like the mini broom suggestion. I do that a lot, even on our carpets so I don't have to always vacuum, which we do a lot. Blame the Virgo in me. Actually, it can be a problem because so many things rub me the wrong way if they aren't done 'right'. With kids I have to relax on that one! Z is already helpful, I don't want to give her a complex!

    I don't have a dishwasher and I don't mind at ALL! I'm also sans microwave WOOT!!

  4. Yeah, I have a microwave and I hate it. I didn't own one for YEARS! And I never missed it. My mom bought me the thing and I couldn't say no. You just cannot say no to a Jewish mother. You can't.

    Anyway, I think it is the Virgo in you. But I admire your due diligence and there is method to your madness. I think you should offer a cleaning course.

  5. Yeah, I agree with Cords...just clean a little bit all the time (after you get your house in super-clean mode) and then it'll be easier to manage. I keep mine pretty clean most of the time and Yasir helps a lot. I clean my kitchen like 4 times a day since I always cook stuff from scratch and a lot of dishes get dirty). The dishwasher actually saves water though! It doesn't seem like it, but it does (according to Yasir who used to sell them for a living lol). Who knows. Also I love my microwave *shameful look*. Oh well!

    Cordula, my mom was like a psycho with wanting things done a certain way so I was never allowed to cook or clean, etc and I ended up being totally lost when I got married and lived on my let your kids help!


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