Sunday, January 16, 2011


Every woman who doesn't have a cleaning lady to do some of the nasty chores for her will recognize the setting above. Yes, it's that area under the sink where all kinds of "miracle" cleaning products are stored.

Keeping it neat and tidy is a thankless task. Nine times out of ten when you reach for something in this area either 1) you won't have the right product, or 2) you are almost out of what you need, or 3) what you've bought and stored there - and haven't used yet - is discolored or so old it not effective anymore.

I had been aware for some time that this area in my little apartment needed cleaning, but I find it such a distasteful job that I'd just been putting it off. I finally told myself that I simply had to bite the bullet and get it done. So yesterday was the day. As it happened, I had also arranged to meet my two cousins for lunch, so I asked Jerry if he would get everything out of that cupboard while I was gone. I wanted him to save a few pages of the morning newspaper for me to use in relining the cupboard, and then I asked him to bring in the little plastic stool that was serving as a temporary base in the living room for a large rubber plant. I needed the stool in the kitchen to sit on so I wouldn't have to kneel on the floor while I cleaned. My ulterior motive (knowing how I often can come up with some excuse NOT to do a distasteful chore) was to be forced into cleaning up the mess that Jerry would create.

I shared with my cousins at lunch the directions I gave Jerry regarding his part in helping me. They looked at me like I was a idiot. "Why didn't you just ask him to clean it?" they both asked. I had to admit the thought crossed my mind, but for some reason I just felt I should do it myself. It probably was a subconscious punishment for my not having done it sooner.

Nancy, Sharon and I spent about half an hour laughing and sharing about the kinds of things we find when we clean under the sink. You can see in the picture that there are two boxes of "Dip-It" for cleaning our one little percolator coffeepot. I have enough furniture polish to clean all the furniture in "Living Spaces." I have ammonia to use for something I can't remember -- and at any rate it is a half-gallon of ammonia which for our 780 square foot apartment is enough to last far longer than we will. And so it goes.

Sharon shared that she bought a special polish for her stainless steel refrigerator and by the time she got around to using it the contents of the bottle were as hard as a rock. I know how that feels. We also talked about how there was nothing, absolutely nothing, under any of our sinks that could be used to remove soot. My latest try is with Murphy Oil Soap for Wood Furniture. And of course if your sink itself is an old white cast iron sink, the kind they put in when the apartment complex was built in 1962, it is impossible to find any cleaner - Ajax, Comet, Barkeepers Friend - that will make it white again. The only thing that works is straight bleach.

I always seem to want to blame a lot of this on my apartment itself, but it really is a ubiquitous problem experienced by those who don't have a big back porch or a big pantry of some other specific place where all the cleaning supplies and equipment go.

The picture above at least shows that I did follow through with what I said I was going to do. My pledge to myself, which I say every time I do what I consider such an onerous chore, is that I will keep it neater, cleaner, nicer, more organized, and clean it more often. I will get rid of duplicates, things that don't work, things I don't need any more and things I'm likely not to ever use or ever use again. That about covers the pledge, I think.

All I have to do now is live up to it. I do have the consolation of knowing that I am not the only one who has this "under the sink" problem! Misery loves company, they say.


Story Connection - Our Memories Bring Us Together said...

Bobby, I would rather buy something new than look in the back of a cabinet to see if I already have it. That is a really stupid and wasteful way to live.

Olga said...

I make my own cleaning products from white vinegar, borax and washing soda and herbs from my garden for a better smell or antiseptic properties. I keep a small plastic bucket with a couple of spray bottles and a pile of microfiber cloths and I'm good to go. But, while it is easy to pull out the supplies I need, it is still scarey how grimey under the sink can get in very short time.

Dee said...

You have inspired me to look under my sink today...:-/