I'm Katrina Rasbold, webmaster, for
Eye on Soaps (that's the site where you are currently perusing around).
This new EOS column requires a particular degree of introduction.
Those of you who have followed my Nonsoapy Journal, know that I am *cough*
cleaning challenged, both in practical application and in motivation to,
practically apply anything to cleaning.
In one particularly boisterous pissin
contest, my friend (EOS columnist) Kathy Hardeman and I began
swapping pictures of our icky houses to see which of us would win the
nastiest house contest. Learning of our fun, Carolyn jabbed her slim
and trim arm into the air and proceeded to jump up and down squealing, "Oooh!
Oooh! I wanna play! I wanna play" and promptly fired out her
own extremely messy house pictures. >:<
I can't remember if
Kathy or I won... I think I did ultimately with my Garage of Death tilting
the scales in my favor. I'd like to share with you now the heinous pictures of
Carolyn's messy house. Those of you who have a sensitive nature
might want to turn away. It's fairly horrific. I'm surprised DFS isn't on her doorstep to take her kids out of this filthy living
The white arrows will lead us on our path
through the melee that is Carolyn's house.
You'll notice immediately
that the cedar chest is NOT completely closed, there is some red
thing on the chair and the small pillow behind the resting child is completely out
alignment with the larger pillow.
Pfft. Window blinds are completely
asymmetrical with their open:closed pattern.
DOES THE MADNESS NEVER END??
light switches should be ALL up or ALL down!
Not completely akimbo
Some sloppy person left this nice monitor
lying haphazardly on the table!
Carolyn's kitchen... in need of MAJOR
Note the phone wire that does NOT descend
in a straight line
from the jack to the floor,
the crumbs on the table and the refrigerator
magnet that is frightfully askew.
AGAIN with the blinds. >:<
As you can see, via my sarcastic tour of
Carolyn's house in its "messy" state (she was totally disqualified, but we
still loved her), Carolyn is MORE than aptly qualified to tell those of us
who are cleaning challenged what the hell we are supposed to be doing.
If Carolyn came into my house, she'd probably take a full round of high
powered antibiotics (and a particularly long, hot, soapy shower with a
brand new loofa) immediately afterwards. I love Carolyn... my
friend, my columnist, my Diva... but I fear her.... I fear her as Scrooge
most feared the Ghost of Christmas Future. Carolyn's long, hard,
accusing stares freeze my blood and act as a domestic conscience I had
hoped never to encounter.
Now, she is yours too. It's too
late. You activated the process when you clicked this link... all
innocent and trusting. You belong to her now. Your
cleaning-lethargic and scrubbing-apathetic little soul is in her steely
talons and you might just as well comply or damnation is nigh... a
damnation that you could never envision in your darkest Fly Lady tortured
No, I won't always be prefacing her
column with such dire warnings... but it's best you know... for the first
column at least.
Because Carolyn is, after all, the Diva
of Cleaning, there are a few rules you must accept before coming into her
presence for an "adjustment."
1) You must never, ever question
her, criticize her, correct her (because you're wrong, just accept it),
mock her, address her informally without the "Diva" title or look her
directly in the eyes. In fact, don't look at her at all.
You're supposed to be cleaning and looking at her wastes precious time
when you ought to be making some progress. (slacker!)
2) You may write her with specific
cleaning related questions, provided you are respectful, sincere and
again, use the Diva title when addressing her. "All Hail the Diva of
Cleaning" written at the bottom of your letter may earn you special
rewards (or may not... but... maybe).
3) Most importantly, do NOT... (pppsssttt...
come here, I have to whisper this part or she might here... sound travels
exceptionally well in a pristinely clean house) *do
not EVER be
fooled by her skippity, joyful, light-hearted sounding style of writing.
She has teeth and claws and other sharpened body parts and she is NOT afraid to use them. Trust me. Any
sense of joviality in this column is a ruse to woo you into familiarity before she goes in for the kill on the dustbunnies under your bed!*
(NO ma'am! Nothing! Just
clearing my throat *cough*)
4) Lastly, once you have perfected all
of Carolyn's (Diva of Clean) cleaning techniques, the practical exam
for your final grade will be held at my house. Just give me a call
and I'll hurry you right in to get busy. I am also offering my own
home up for practice in advance of the test, as much as you need (that includes all aspects of cleaning).
Certainly, as many of you as can fit within these walls are welcome to
hone your skills at cleaning them and all that is stacked within them.
It's the least I can do.
Have fun with our newest column and
learn, learn, learn! It is with great pleasure that I introduce:
CAROLYN ASPENSON, THE DIVA OF CLEAN!!!
(Katrina scutters away
very, very quickly)
* * * * *
Iím so excited! Katrinaís asked me to
write another column for EOS and scary as it sounds, Iím sure this will be
my most favorite! Let me give you a bit of background information here...
Hello, my name Carolyn Ridder Aspenson and Iím a Cleanaholic. (Here is
where you say, ďHi Carolyn.) I havenít always been a cleanaholic. As a
teenager my mother would battle me daily to make my bed and clean my room.
Those terms were foreign to me. I preferred the security of my things
around me. All around me. As a matter of fact, my friend Nancy and I still
laugh about finding a two week old pizza underneath my bed. Hey, at least
it was under the bed, right?
I started to notice changes in myself when I was a sophomore in college. A
first time dormer at Indiana University, I had a roommate who wasnít
necessarily the cleanest gal around (nor was she the shy-with-the-boys
type either, if you get my drift!). Since the dorms were no bigger than a
walk-in closet, something within me felt the need to keep it neat and
organized. That living arrangement lasted one semester.
After the messy, sleazy roommate from hell experience, I opted for a
single dorm room and reveled in my cleanliness. It was cool! My space, my
things, my control. After all, thatís what being clean is all about to
After college and a bout back at moms where I reverted to messy kid
status, I got my very first apartment. I remember the night before I moved
in. I sat on the floor in the main area and just breathed in deeply,
sucking up all of the positive energy of freedom and control. That place
was never dirty except for the time I was gone and my dog opened a two
pound box of cookies and spread them all over the floor, eating some and
puking them up. Temporary set back but certainly not something to cry to
mom about! The dog, on the other hand got a nice talking to!
Iím now 37 years old, married with three kids and a husband who donít
believe in garbage cans. Theyíre not by any means dirty, but they cannot
put something back where it belongs to save their lives! It is a full-time
job picking up after them each day. I find things in the oddest places;
Morganís robe underneath the dining room chair (she looked for it for
three days but thatís a whole different column!); my husbands keys in the
freezer (I have no clue about that one!). When Iím not picking things up,
I spend my time cleaning and organizing. Iíve even been known in my times
of insomnia, to get out of bed and reorganize the kitchen cabinets at two
am. Scary, yes. Borderline obsessive? Most definitely! My previous boss
thought I walked around with a vacuum in hand 24/7. I confess, I do vacuum
often. I have to, Iíve got a dog and a cat. (But you wouldnít know it by
looking at my house!) My basement storage shelves are a plethora of
Rubbermaid containers and I get excited after Christmas when they all go
Yes, Iím even starting to scare me now!
Iíve been part of this family now for almost six years. Living with them,
that is. Itís been a terribly hard adjustment, to put it mildly. Gone is
some of my obsessive cleaning behavior. I still clean something everyday
and Iíve learned to simply close the kids bedroom doors to stop the
compulsion to clean them after they leave for school every day. I still
spend Saturdays cleaning for about three hours in the morning. Sometimes I
go all out, others I just do the basics. But if anyone of you came into my
house right now, you would be shocked to know Iíve got a dog, cat and
three kids. Iím proud of that!
Recently Katrina, Kathy and I exchanged pictures of our homes online. They
laughed that I thought mine wasnít entirely clean - but when clean means
not one single thing out of place in the whole house, itís hard to meet
that criteria. And thatís what I expect from myself. Do I meet that
everyday? No, of course not. But I admit, I try very, very hard.
Katrina was getting ready to clean her house today and I mentioned a few
cleaning products I like to use. She suggested I start writing a weekly
cleaning tips column and I, sad and pathetic as it sounds, thought it was
a great idea! If I could just help one person have a cleaner house, I
would be a success at life! Okay, so thatís not really what I thought, but
it seemed to fit the obsessive behavior pattern!
So hereís the first of many columns about cleaning. Iíll offer
suggestions; product recommendations; information on products that donít
work and tips and secrets of us cleaning obsessives. I may even provide an
organizational tip or two. Some will be my own, some hopefully suggestions
from you and some from books and things that Iíve acquired over the years.
(Yes, I have books on cleaning, so what!) I hope you enjoy my column and
my tips and that you use them! I promise theyíll help!
Cleaning Tips of the Week:
1. Cleaning pet urine
Dilute the stain with a cloth dampened with water. Do not soak the spot.
Then clean the area with a solution of one quart water and one teaspoon
white vinegar. Also pick up a pet bacteria/enzyme digester at your local
pet store. You may not be able to smell the urine anymore, but believe me,
they can. This will help neutralize the odor and make the spot
uninteresting to your pet (therefore they wonít gravitate to it again!)
Keep in mind these things need to penetrate the carpet and the pad but
they work slowly. After youíve applied the digester cover the spot with
plastic and step on it several times until the area is well saturated. And
please, follow the digesters directions carefully. If the stain is older
you might not be able to get rid of it but still use the digester because
it will still take out the smell.
2. For a quick trick to make the house look clean because guests are
coming soon, clean all the doors in your house. Scrub them from the top
down with soapy water. You can even use those new Mr. Clean sponge things,
which will clean almost anything, including dirty walls. Also wipe down
the top of the door frame. This will brighten any room and makes a house
look instantly clean. (Do I sound like a HGTV cleaning expert or what?!
This is soo much fun!!)
3. Got kids? Got kids who like to write on the walls with crayons? Me too!
Got a solution? I do! Scrub the marks with toothpaste or an ammonia
soaked cloth. Rinse the area and dry it off. Never, ever leave a wall wet!
The paint can get streak marks from the solution and they donít come out!
4. Quick cleaning option for wood floors: Use a piece of wax paper under
your dust mop. Dirt sticks to the mop and the wax serves as a shiner for
5. When youíve got to clean your window sills, which I hate because they
are ALWAYS dirty, rub rubbing alcohol on them.
Okay, I could go on and on but then I might not have more for next weeks
column and that would totally devastate me! Please, if you have any ideas
or recommendations, email me at
email@example.com. Iíll be sure to list them in my columns!
Go yonder and clean!