“I can’t deal with cleaning up, let’s sell the house.” Kathleen Quinlan as Marilyn Lovell in Apollo 13
OK, perhaps not an ode. Although, I probably could come up with a vacuum cleaner haiku…but that’s another task for another day…
Seriously though, what it is about the act of vacuuming that lends such an air of order to a house?Obviously, part of it is the picking up. Because, before you can vacuum, you have to pick up the various toys, books, shoes and blankets that seem to congregate on the floor no matter how often you tell your children to put them away. And a picked up floor does make a very noticeable impression.
Aside from that, though, vacuuming is a actually a less noticeable job than many other household tasks. Take mopping, for example. If you have a big spill, or an irritating sticky spot on a vinyl floor, or even if your floor has just lost it’s shine, an appointment with a mop makes a huge, instantly viewable difference. The spill is taken care of, the sticky is gone, and the shine is back, almost immediately. Vacuuming, on the other hand, takes care of the stuff you can’t really see (for the most part). All the dust and crumbs and dirt you don’t even know are there are picked up by the vacuum, and since you didn’t really know it was there in the first place, you don’t really notice it’s absence after the fact, either.
Maybe it’s the nice vacuum-lines left in the carpet. Kind of like mowing the lawn. Even if you can’t tell that stuff was picked up by the vacuum, seeing those lines lets you know that a vacuum had been here, and recently. It always bums me out to walk across the freshly vacuumed carpet, and leave footprints in the vacuum tracks, because the freshness is gone once I do that, even if I’m still in the process of vacuuming. I’m just weird that way; I can admit it.
There’s always a certain smell in the air after the vacuum has been run, too. Not sure what it is, exactly, but it’s clean, and again, let’s you know that housework has been done here. And if you have happened to have used that carpet powder stuff anytime within, oh, say the last three years of your vacuum’s existence, that pleasant smell comes out, too.
Whatever it is about the act of vacuuming, it is one way to make an immediate and effective impression of order and cleanliness in the house (even if your children do dump all their toys back out five minutes later!)
Today I am thankful for the inventor of the mop. This resourceful person (whoever he or she may be) created something that allows me to clean all of my tile floors without ever having to get down on my hands and knees and scrub, unless I so desire (and let’s face it, I feel that ambitious about my cleaning, oh, almost never).
In fact, I believe a national holiday is in order to honor this inventor. From now on, let us call July 2 National Mop Day. Housewives and cleaning people around the country should celebrate by wearing skirts or shorts that show off knees that were not irritated by spending hours on cold, hard, occasionally bumpy floors. Or, conversely, they should wear nice pants, with knees that show no wear from the same.
While we’re at it, let’s all go get manicures with the time that mopping saves us. A nice, cheerful, summer shade that we don’t have to worry about ruining when dunking our hands repeatedly in a bucket of hot, soapy water, because, once again, we can use a mop instead. And then, let’s toast the clever mop creator with a nice cold margarita (hey, it’s summer, and it’s my holiday!), and relax in our kitchens, admiring how shiny our floors are, with much less of the work than they could take. (And the next time I complain about mopping at all, I need to remember how much worse it could be!)