Looking Under the Sofa

I like to think I keep a tidy house. Perhaps it is an obsession or a ploy for control over life – I don’t know. It is however one of those things that gives me a sense of calm. If all my dishes are clean and in the cupboard, all the laundry folded and put away, and everything in its place I can relax. That said, there are a couple things that I hate to do. One is dust. If I could create a living space devoid of all dust (that is no dusting would be required), I’d be a very happy camper. The other cleaning activity that is not one I regularly undertake is moving furniture to clean underneath or behind. (cue foreboding music)

With the holiday upon us, I felt the pressure to clean. Sparky hates when I go into what he calls a “cleaning frenzy”. This year he asked why I was cleaning when it was just going to be the boys and maybe saintvi. It was a good question and I did pause for a moment before responding. My response is one that parents across the eons have used, “Because.” Sparky was not inclined to assist. So I took it upon myself to start the process. My first area to clean was the family room. The ceiling fan was obviously dusty. I could see the fuzzy edges of the blades. I am short so I was in the process of putting the step stool on top of the coffee table when Sparky walked in. “What are you doing?!” burst from his mouth. Though he didn’t verbalize it I clearly heard “the HELL” in that question. I looked at him and stated the obvious, “I’m going to dust the ceiling fan.” He took one look and told me that I was NOT. An arched eyebrow later the fan blades were clean. I finished dusting the lower areas.

I have a Roomba named MO (microorganism obliterator) that I send on a cleaning mission weekly. The Roomba is great but it cannot vacuum underneath the sofa or chairs. I dragged the monster vacuum from the closet and plugged it in to get the crevice tool working and to get all the crumbs out of the sofa. When I say crumbs I’m being kind. Sparky likes to snack on the sofa while watching TV. Anyway, after removing cushions and removing a handful of debris it was time to move the sofa. This particular sofa is a sleeper sofa that my mother gifted to us. To say it is heavy is an understatement. I was grunting in an attempt to move it. Perhaps I was grunting louder than I realized. Anyway, Sparky again came into the room to inquire why I was making that noise. I’m sure he had ulterior motives but he consented to move the sofa for me. Oh my! I am very lucky that we don’t have vermin or cockroaches! I found whole chips, peanuts, Cheetos, and a variety of cereal in addition to the usual dust bunnies. There was a fair amount of Ranger hair, some pine needles (we removed the carpet 5 years ago and hadn’t had a real tree in that room for at least 20 years), a button, a grocery flier, and a dime!

I feel vindicated and richer. My house is cleaner (I’m going to have to wash the glass globes on the dining room hanging lights next) and I can now concentrate on making the food for Christmas dinner. Please tell me I’m not insane and that other women feel compelled to clean before guests come into the house…

77 thoughts on “Looking Under the Sofa

  1. Yes! It’s the side benefit of having company – the clean and gleaming home after they’ve gone and you have washed the last dish from the visit’s repast. I love having guests for that reason as well as the socialization benefits.

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    1. Yay! I love a clean house. At holidays I cook and clean as I go. People are always amazed that the food is prepared and not a messy kitchen… And after dinner it is all put away and clean before anyone realizes it. They think I’m taking my time dishing up the pie! It gives me more time to socialize and there is less mess afterwards.

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  2. Used to feel compelled. Age and back have put a dent, a big dent in housework. I have a long handled brush for fans but miss the wet sponge treatment. I should be cleaning kitchen sink, back has me just sitting waiting for pain med to kick in.

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    1. Oh Bonnie! I hope the pain lessens enough for you to do what you can without additional pain! I was rearranging my bottled water and pulled a muscle – it still has a twinge when I move a certain way. (Still not enough for me to abandon the cleaning hehe)

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  3. I feel the same way about my desk at work. The Principal moved me to a different position in the school after the teacher I was filling in for came back early. I am thrilled to be kept on but I left my desk a mess as vacation came on and I had no key for my new office. Yes, I have an office as a resource person!! Yay. But you better believe my office likes organization or at least my desk. Husband (retired Army) likes a tight house so we almost always do dishes before sleep and clean up.

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  4. If you’re insane then I am too, and I’m guessing lots of other women. I wish I could get my ceiling fans cleaned. We have that vaulted ceiling in the living area that has not only dust, but grease from the kitchen. All of our ceilings are extra high, because 2 of my sons are over 6′ tall, and the young man who built our house was 6’8″. It’s hard to change light bulbs too.

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    1. I’m so glad to hear that I’m not alone! Perhaps it is a generational thing but a fuzzy fan or a burned out light would send me into a frenzy – maybe even resort to hiring someone to get the job done!!

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  5. I burst out laughing reading this memorable post, Val. A man does not see dust, for him it is always clean. Cleaning the house is the woman’s own, Sparky tinks πŸ™‚ !!; The same goes for Janine. I watch helplessly his fierce struggle against dust, above and below and behind the furniture. luckily there is furniture so heavy that it cannot be moved without the help of movers. Lucky for the poor big spiders whose this is the kingdom . Hey ! the spiders were also in Noah ‘s ark !! They are part of the creation. God put them behind your big furnitures !! : I notice ( hubly ) you forgot a thing to clean, Val !!!! πŸ™‚ the GLASSSES. In our high house the ceilings are high and so for the glasses of the windows . Hard work ! Janine owns a kind of karcher ! and she clims on a step ladder !!! Times are hard !
    I wish to you both a merry Christmas .
    Love ❀
    Michel

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    1. Ah Michel! The window glass is hardly worth mentioning. We have a medium sized house but only 4 windows in the upstairs and 3 windows downstairs… They are cleaned as needed but it is hardly a chore. I don’t need to even stand on a stepstool to reach my windows… the joy of a newer home (though I would love to live in an older residence – perhaps built 100 years ago!) As for the spiders – we have a truce. They may live in the basement, garage, or any other area but the kitchen, bedroom and bath are off limits. Trespass results in immediate execution!! Merry Christmas to you and Janine and the extended family!!

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  6. With the impending arrival of the tribe I’ve been on a cleaning frenzy : the oven (urghhhh!), ceiling fans, skirting boards and all the glassware. When I was a kid I used to have to polish the silverware for my mother and rub linseed oil into all the window frames. I refuse to wash windows……..

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  7. I cleaned the pantry yesterday. I think I over did the up and down on the step stool. Now my back is asking me if it was worth it??
    I couldn’t leave a comment on your “looking sluggish” post. I have been there with the day light savings time. However, i wonder if you continue to feel that unmotivated, you think you should ask your PC to do a complete thyroid profile? Just a suggestion.

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    1. Hi Zakiah! I hope the back settles before the holidays – I pulled a back muscle too doing some rearranging of my water stash. Seems to be okay as long as I don’t twist to the left… As for that ill-fated post, I was trying to make it a future post and forgot to change the date… you can comment, well, in the future. As for the thyroid, I’ve already done that and all is as it should be… even though they still haven’t figured out my low heart rate but I don’t faint and I’m not light headed (at least not if you don’t talk to my detractors)

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  8. Right there with you. It’s hard for me to let unexpected visitors into the house, because who knows what I have left out where. Yah. A little OCD, or as a friend says CDO. πŸ˜‰

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  9. I scrubbed our hardwood floors on Mother’s Day on my hands and knees one year. My family thought I was insane. It was a wonderful gift to myself.
    I’m staring at the fuzz on the ceiling fan right now. It’s been on my mind for days now.
    However, I have long since given up on a tidy house. I do not have the energy to follow people around.

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    1. See that was part of the relief over having the boys move out – my house instantly became tidy!! Clean always but tidy only since they left (except for Sparky’s desk and “man cave” in the basement…)

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  10. I am the same way. I cannot do anything meaningful when my environment is overly chaotic and with two hairy dogs and a yard that’s mostly dirt, the environment is quickly chaotic. Every morning before I do anything I neaten the kitchen and wash the dishes. Then I dust and vacuum the living room and clean up the bathroom. My own room is low maintenance meaning it’s so small there’s no room for much besides the bed which I make as soon as I get up. I have always been annoyed by the many people who assume that because I’m creative, I’m also messy. I HATE that stereotype.

    As for the sofa — I got a tool that goes under it, a dust mop thing. I still have to move the sofa from time to time, but that thing helps a lot.

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      1. It’s a Swiffer handle with a microfiber dust rag stuck in the little holes. I bought a took just FOR that but the hinge was too high to go under the sofa, but the Swiffer handle is GREAT.

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  11. The only people who will be at my place is the ones who see my house at the worst. Wrangler, Mom, and me. But before decorating for Christmas I moved all the furniture in the living room and vacuumed under it. Dusted everything which is an impossible task since the Coop is hauling grain out of the bunkers across the street. Yesterday I mopped all the floors, wiped cabinets, counters, and appliances in the kitchen, cleaned the inside of the fridge, cleaned the bathrooms and gave the living room a quick cleaning. Christmas requires a clean house. Maybe it is to meet the New Year with a clean house in the back of my mind. Or garden season is done and I have time to scratch more than the surface now.

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    1. I forgot to say have a Merry Christmas. And that Wrangler’s chair is always a place I have to lift cushions and pull out to vaccum under. He makes a mess like Sparky. I on the other hand can snack in my chair and not make a mess. Maybe it is the fact that I know I have to clean up the mess.

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              1. Man, I’d be okay with that! Sparky vacuumed the stairs for me today but only under duress. I had to bribe him to do it and then I had to put the vacuum away since he left it in the middle of the hallway. On the other hand I haven’t had to mow or weed or wash a car since the boys were born… So it isn’t that bad. And he was responsible for picking up dog klinkers which is a job I never wanted to do!

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    2. You are very industrious! Still it is a female version of the male’s “need for speed” maybe call it “keening for cleaning”? I’m sure your mother appreciates your clean house and takes some modicum of pride in having instilled that quality in you!!

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  12. Cleaning and I do not get along. It’s hard because the other adults in the house do not help, except when they feel like it and then act like I’m supposed to be grateful for what they do. My spouse, especially, I usually have to re-do what he does because he’ll say he mopped the floor in the kitchen but didn’t move anything to get under (like the kitchen table) or get into the edges the way he should.

    I really tried this year with the floors. I got a robotic mop and a robotic vacuum that self-empties and I figured if I could start off clean with those I could keep it going. It lasted a little while, but I was still spending a good part of every morning sweeping and cleaning before I could run the mop. I just get tired and depressed about it and give up.

    We are cluttered. I would like to be less cluttered, but I’m very sentimental and have a hard time throwing things away. We’ll see what happens next year.

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    1. I have stuff but I try to keep it under control. I have 2 little chests that hold some precious items – my great grandmother’s Bible and some other things like that. I have some things on display but I have to keep them dusted (blech) although sometimes I just put it all in the dishwasher (my ceramic pieces and the hammered aluminum) to clean – once every year or so. That makes it easier… I guess I don’t sweep daily any more – no dog and no kids so once a week does it fine. I hope you can get some cooperation this new year.

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  13. oh my you all need a damn good counsellor! I’ve never been bitten by the CGB [cleaning goddess bug] missed that gene altogether. Do what I want when I want and if you visit, take me as you find me or don’t darken my door πŸ™‚

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    1. I guess I’m wound a little too tightly to be comfortable with a mess in my house – though other people’s mess doesn’t much bother me unless they are incapacitated and need a hand – then I’m your girl! I’d love to “darken your door” and have a nice visit. Perhaps some day…

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            1. Hehe! Sure that is probably true. And I bet there are lots of geocaches in your area too. And of course I’d have to bring some leggings for you as well (if you’re still interested by the time I actually manage to get to your country)!

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    1. The long hair is a problem – it gets tangled around the brush and the little rubber beater bar. I have to remove the hair about every 3 months. Still I’ve had it for 3 years and it does a great job. I still have the dirt devil for the stairs since MO can’t do stairs….

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  14. I am an absolute sucker for a clean house too Val..i cant stand to see things in chaos or just simply being messy. i love the smell of new sheets and the newly polished floor. and yes, just like you, i don’t know why, but again just like you maybe because it gives us a sense of “control”…i freak our when the house isn’t tidy or clean at all

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    1. Hehe! I think that in a patriarchy the only place a woman ever had any input and control was in the home… Perhaps it is a hold over from that. Perhaps we haven’t moved so far from that reality. Makes me ponder. Perhaps a poem will percolate.

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  15. You’re definitely not insane, Val. I think it’s good to go nutty over cleaning from time to time for all the usual reasons but these days, I have added another one: to be less of a burden to someone else later on in life. Dirt and clutter pile up over the years and if I don’t get to it, the burden will fall to someone else, most likely my children. And that’s not fair to them (they have their own mess to contend with).

    If nothing else, cleaning is a good workout. Like you, I too vacuumed my living room set a few days back. We don’t have a dog and why would we need one when I am shedding like a dog these days. I attacked my bedroom windows with a gusto today and the climb up-climb down-repeat was much needed for my Christmas cookie-fed bum.

    Then, in the spirit of minimizing, I cleared out my closet of all the clothes I saved from years back, hoping I’d slim down to what I was before – or at least get into screaming distance of my ideal weight. Well, it’s been too long and the scale is not tipping in the direction I want it to go, so five bags-full it was.

    I still mop and vacuum my floors every other day or so as part of my daily cleaning because I like neatness and cleanliness but I have slowed down and scaled down a lot from my younger days due to the sometimes overwhelming tiredness. Still, I won’t give up; some things must always be done whether we like it or not and I think Christmas is the perfect excuse… to go the extra mile πŸ˜€

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    1. I’m keenly aware of the problem of leaving a mess when I eventually pass from this world. But I’m not ready to completely down size – yet. Son#2 has indicated he would like some of my collection of hammered aluminum and the clothes will not be an issue as there are lots of places that accept clothing donations. The real problem would be my art work. I can’t see my husband willingly parting with most of it unless it was to family members…

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    1. Hehe! Yeah, the last time we had a big gathering I had to clean the dining room carpet since we had some messy little ones… Still it was worth it. If we could gather this year at Christmas, I’d welcome having to do a carpet shampoo!!

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  16. Get a couple of dogs and a few cats, then add a husband who can’t see any thing until he trips over it, and soon you will become inured to floors adrift in hair, dust you can write notes to self in (mainly “dust me”), and gauntlets of shoes that keep you nimble. As long as the kitchen and bathroom sparkle, nobody is going to die.

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    1. Like Erma Bombeck I believe that there is no real need to dust above eyelevel of the tallest person in the house. Sadly all my people are tall! As for the hair – Sparky was complaining that he found some hair in his car. Seems I’m the one shedding now! (how he saw a hair amid all the trash is beyond me – must have been a silver strand glinting in the sunlight…)

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  17. Cleaning before company came was instilled into all four of us. Mother would have been mortified, at the state of the house in Phoenix, especially the windows. Thankfully, she never visited us there. I agree with Sparky about the stepstool on the coffee table-it would never have happened in my house.

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    1. Hehe! My mother wanted a clean house but with 3 daughters and a husband who made more messes than they cleaned up, she was fighting a losing battle. Still as we got older and the mess became more controlled she slid into compulsive cleanliness. She now lives with the only one of my sisters who didn’t get the cleaning gene!

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