11 November 2008

Procrastinating with the Cleaning Supplies

The other week, our house desperately needed to be cleaned. We were emerging from our self-imposed introverted-ness to host a crafty workday, an election night watching party, and then some out of town friends with small children. The house was....well, let's be honest....it was dirty. Two dirty dogs dirty.

But I was having a tough week at work and that, combined with pregnancy, made the thought of cleaning overwhelming. So overwhelming that I turned to my old friend Procrastination to help out. Procrastination had the brilliant idea that if I sorted out my cleaning supplies and made them all pretty, I would be more motivated to actually clean the house. So I listened to Procrastination and did as she suggested.

Here's our under-the-sink cleaning supplies before:

Over the last couple of years, I've consciously tried to move to less-toxic, more-sustainable cleaning supplies. I thought I was doing pretty well until I actually went through all of our cleaning supplies. I found:
-5 toxic cleaning supplies, so toxic that I couldn't read the label and I didn't want them in the house so I banished them to the garage. I'm not a total purist, I can see that we may eventually need "lime away" or "the works" but they can be stored in the high cabinet in the garage along with the pesticides and nasty car-related stuff. And who bought that Lysol??? It wasn't me!
-Multiples of several types of supplies. Clearly this cabinet has been a mess so long that I didn't realize I had 3 different types of furniture polish.
-A good start toward better cleaning practices: baking soda, Bon Ami, natural furniture polish, Murphy's oil soap, vinegar, lots of spray bottles that can be re-purposed.

Here's the after:
It may not look much better but it IS much more logical.
-On the right side is the caddy with the most commonly used general cleaners. The theory is that I could take the caddy with me from room to room as I clean.
-On the left side is a basket I re-purposed to hold all the old cut-up t-shirts that I use for cleaning rags.
-Behind the basket are the raw materials to make more natural cleaners--the baking soda, the vinegar, the Castille soap, extra spray bottles.
-On Stephanie's suggestion, I also purchased BioKleen's Bac-Out (Stain & Odor Eliminator--good for the pet smells) and All-Purpose cleaner. I like that they come in a concentrated formula and then you dilute them in a spray bottle for use. They are the green-labeled bottles in the rear left.

When I was finished, Procrastination and I were still good friends and I managed to put off cleaning for another night. Fortunately, I have a wise and bearded husband who helped me get all the cleaning done in time despite my date with Procrastination.

If you have not looked into using less toxic cleaning supplies, I highly recommend you do some research. It's frankly frightening the known allergens, volatile organic compounds, and poisons that we willingly bring into our households and flush into our water supply. You don't have to be "extremely green" to want a home that is safe for you and the ones you love.

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