On the Outside Looking In (Through Your Own Window!)

On the Outside Looking In (Through Your Own Window!)

Whether it’s just a hectic Tuesday or Christmas morning, your home is the place your family gathers. It’s a constantly shared yet very personal space. But when cleaning your house, it can be beneficial to view it from an outsider’s perspective.

Here are a few things that you may not notice anymore — but after giving them some attention, you’ll be glad you did.

Overflowing Closets
The nice thing about a closet is you can shut the door. On the other hand, you’ll eventually need to open it again. A good purge can provide you with a neater, easier-to-navigate place to store coats, gloves and boots, or at the very least some useful space for other stuff you can’t part with (perhaps from other overflowing closets).

Cooking/Animal Smells
Garlic, fish, and deep-fried anything are well loved by many people. But strong (though delicious) smelling foods can leave less-appealing odors behind in your home long after you’ve enjoyed the meal. And the faithful dog or cat that waits for your leftover morsels? Even pets with perfect potty records can make your house more of a zoo than you might think. At work in both these situations is olfactory fatigue, which is just a fancy way of saying you don’t detect certain smells as much anymore because you’re exposed to them every day. Depending on the source and extent of odors, you may find all you need is a new trash can or pet bed. More aggressive solutions include installing a range hood, garbage disposal, and fresh carpeting and/or paint.

The Couch Everyone Loves
You’ve spent so many relaxing evenings here! It’s the perfect spot to curl up with a book or fall asleep watching TV. After countless hours of late-night channel surfing, though, couches (and other fabric-covered, cushioned furniture) start to get tired too: cushions sag, get stained, and/or embedded with body odor that you’re no longer aware of. (See above.) Understandably, furniture can be an investment — not every family can just replace their living room set on a whim. And what if you’re ready for a change, but your spouse cherishes that ratty recliner like a family pet? (Also see above.) Sometimes there’s not a perfect solution, but steam cleaning and/or a reasonably attractive slipcover can help. It’s the age of Internet shopping; surely you can find a reasonably attractive slipcover somewhere.

The Table Everyone Must Hate…
…because why else would they dump junk on it until it’s no longer visible? All right, you and your family have stuff to do — a lot of stuff! Tennis lessons, coloring books, book clubs, Kiwanis club, card games… It’s easy to come home tired (or in a hurry) and quickly ditch whatever you’re carrying on the first available flat surface. This is especially true if everyone else does, too!

When a certain spot in your home becomes an unspoken storage unit, it’s easy to mentally block out that clutter. In your mind’s eye, in fact, it can become part of the house itself, like the table or countertop it lives on. But start shifting the homeless things in your home piece by piece — in small amounts, piles aren’t as immovable as they seem. It may also be helpful to set a squatting time limit for family members: “If _______ isn’t gone by tomorrow, it’s all going in your room/the garage/out with the trash.” (Well, maybe not the trash. Unless it’s that recliner.)

Your home is your place to unwind, enjoy, and be yourself. You may find, though, that it’s worth doing to make your house a place you’d be proud to share with company — even if it’s just leftovers night.

— Submitted by PetalSweet Cleaning, a residential and commercial cleaning company headquartered in Medina.

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