A Clean Home—The Part We All Play
By Awake! writer in Mexico
HOW pleasant it is to live in clean, uncontaminated surroundings! However, with the increase of garbage and refuse in cities, it is ever more difficult to keep our environment clean and orderly.
Municipal governments strive to keep streets clean by arranging for garbage collection systems, but in spite of this, trash accumulates in some areas, where it becomes unsightly and a threat to public health. Accumulated garbage can contribute to an increase in the population of rats, cockroaches, and other pests that cause illness. Is there anything that you can do about the situation? Yes, keep your home and surroundings clean and neat.
The Right Mental Attitude
Some people think that dirty neighborhoods or homes are synonymous with poverty. However, this is not necessarily so. Granted, the lack of material means can make it more difficult to keep our surroundings clean. But, as a Spanish proverb says, “poverty and cleanliness have no quarrel with each other.” On the other hand, the fact that someone has sufficient material means is not a guarantee that he will keep his surroundings clean.
Cleanliness in and around the home depends on a mental attitude that translates into action. In fact, keeping the home clean is dependent to a great extent on the mental attitude of the entire family. For this reason it is good to examine what all of us can do to contribute to the cleanliness of our homes, including the neighborhoods we live in.
A Cleaning Program
It seems that a mother’s housework is never done. Besides preparing food and getting the children ready for school, she also has to work to keep the home and its surroundings clean. Have you noticed that frequently it is the mother who picks up the dirty clothing or personal items that her children leave out in their rooms? A well-defined cleaning program that includes the whole family can help to lighten the mother’s load.
Some wives decide that there are things that need attention and cleaning daily, while other areas of the house can be cleaned once a week, and still others once a month. In fact, there are some things that can be scheduled for cleaning once a year. For example, in Bethel Homes, at branch facilities of Jehovah’s Witnesses in each country, thorough closet cleaning is done once a year. That is an occasion to get rid of things that are not used and to put the closet in order. There is also a regular program to clean walls.
There are places in the home where cleanliness is critical for good health, such as the bathroom. Although light cleaning should be done daily, a more thorough cleaning, perhaps once a week, will keep bacteria from building up. Some think that the stains that accumulate in the toilet bowl are inevitable and that it is impossible to remove them. However, you will find homes where toilets stay completely clean and shiny. It is just a matter of constant cleaning and of using the appropriate products.
The kitchen too requires careful cleaning. Although you wash the dishes and clean the stove and countertops daily, every so often—perhaps at least once a month—it is necessary to do a more thorough cleaning, such as behind the appliances and under the sink. Cleaning the pantry or cupboards frequently will keep cockroaches and other harmful insects from taking up residence there.
Some parents make rules for their children and have trained them so that when they leave their room in the morning to go to school, they leave their bed made, their dirty clothes in the proper place, and their personal belongings in order. A useful rule for everyone is, “A place for everything and everything in its place.”
Also, some members of the family can have a specific assignment or a part of the house to clean. For example, does the father handle keeping the garage in order and thoroughly cleaning it at least once a year? Can one of the children help him in this? Who takes charge of keeping the weeds out of the front yard or cutting the grass? How often must this be done so that the outside of the house has a dignified appearance? Is there an attic in the house or a utility room that needs to be checked so that unnecessary clutter can be removed and the area kept neat? If so, who will do it? Some parents assign such tasks to the children, rotating the chores among them.
Therefore, make up a good program for maintaining your home. Whether you do the cleaning yourself or with your family or you need to hire someone to help you, it is necessary to have a well-defined program. One mother who keeps her home very tidy tells us how the whole family cooperates to keep it clean: “We distribute the housework among my three daughters and me. Norma Adriana cleans the living room, two bedrooms, the patio, and the street. Ana Joaquina takes care of the kitchen. I wash the clothes and take care of other things while María del Carmen washes the dishes.”
A Good Appearance Outside
What about the outside of the house? Whether you live in a mansion or a very humble home, a cleaning and maintenance program for the outside is needed. For example, a gate on the fence of the house may lose one of its hinges. You know how bad the gate will look if it is left unrepaired until it finally falls off. The same may be said of trash left to accumulate at the entrance of the house or on the sidewalks nearby. Also, cans, tools, and other items are sometimes allowed to accumulate untidily outside a house, and these can become a hiding place for pests.
Some families have decided that once a day or every week, as necessary, they will sweep and clean up areas around the outside of their house, including the sidewalk and even the street in front of their house. It is true that in some places the government has a very good system for keeping neighborhoods clean, but in other places there is no municipal program. Without a doubt, the surroundings where we live will look much better and will be more healthful if we all do our part to keep them clean.
Some families not only have a program that includes the chores mentioned above but also put it down on paper and post it where the family can see and follow it. This can yield very good results. Of course, we have not included everything that you should know about cleaning. For instance, you need to decide which cleaning products are the most appropriate in your community and which utensils and tools you can obtain according to your means.
These brief suggestions will no doubt make the whole family aware of the need to maintain your home and your surroundings. Remember, keeping a home and its environs clean depends, not upon your means, but upon your mental attitude.
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A Practical Home Cleaning Program
Use the extra space to add your own points to the checklist
Important note: Mixing cleaning products could be extremely dangerous, especially mixing bleach with ammonia
❏ Bedroom: Make beds and put things in order
❏ Kitchen: Wash dishes and sink. Keep counters and tables free of clutter. Sweep or mop the floor if needed
❏ Bathroom: Wash sink and toilet. Put things in order
❏ Living room and other rooms: Put things in order. Give the furniture a light cleaning. Sweep, mop, or vacuum the floor if needed
❏ All the house: Properly dispose of the garbage
❏ Bedroom: Change bed linen. Sweep, mop, or vacuum the floor if needed. Dust furniture
❏ Kitchen: Wash the stove, countertop appliances, and sink fixtures. Mop floor
❏ Bathroom: Wash the shower walls and all the fixtures. Clean toilet, cabinet, and other surfaces with disinfectant. Change towels. Sweep or mop the floor
❏ Bathroom: Thoroughly wash all the walls
❏ All the house: Clean the frames of the doors. Vacuum or thoroughly clean upholstery
❏ Garden, courtyard, garage: Sweep and clean if needed. Avoid accumulation of refuse or unnecessary items
✔ Every Six Months
❏ Bedroom: Clean bedspreads according to manufacturer’s instructions
❏ Kitchen: Empty and thoroughly clean the refrigerator
❏ Bathroom: Empty and clean shelves and drawers. Dispose of unnecessary or out-of-date items
❏ All the house: Clean lamps, fans, and light fixtures. Clean the doors. Wash screens, windows, and windows frames
❏ Bedroom: Empty and thoroughly clean closets. Dispose of unnecessary items. Wash blankets. Vacuum or thoroughly dust the mattresses. Clean pillows according to manufacturer’s instructions
❏ Kitchen: Empty and thoroughly clean shelves, cupboards, and drawers. Dispose of unnecessary items. Move appliances so you can clean the surface or floor underneath
❏ All the house: Wash all the walls. Clean upholstery and curtains according to manufacturer’s instructions
❏ Garage or storage units: Sweep thoroughly. Organize or dispose of unnecessary belongings
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“A place for everything and everything in its place”
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It may help to give away things you no longer use