Yesterday, being the fourth Sunday in March (for 2023), began the week-long celebration of… National Cleaning Week – one of my favorite times of the year!
According to NationalDayCalendar.com, “besides a clean home, it’s a week that can produce improved moods, decreased stress levels, and increased creativity. It’s a week to put away winter essentials and tidy up our homes to usher in a fresh start with spring.”
I always look forward to this week! I admit to getting a little giddy about flipping the bedroom mattress, rotating the seasonal clothes, and moving the living room furniture around – just a few of the things I usually do during my spring cleaning ritual.
Every physical activity we do throughout our day can count as exercising. Gardening, walking, and – yes – even household chores. It all burns calories and, thereby, counts toward physical activity.
Last week, I wrote about burning calories while caring for a garden. This week, I want to discuss the calories you can burn, doing various household chores and activities.
According to HowStuffWorks.com’s article, 20 Everyday Activities and the Calories They Burn, by the Editors of Publications International, Ltd. (date unknown), an hour of various household activities or chores can burn a lot of calories. They wrote about grocery shopping:
“Pushing a cart up and down the supermarket aisles for an hour will burn 243 calories and you’ll get acquainted with all kinds of nutritious, healthful foods. Bag your own groceries, take them out to the car yourself, and return the cart to the corral, and you’ll burn even more.”
Surprisingly, just preparing dinner [with those nutritious, healthful foods you got at the supermarket] for one hour can burn 148 calories. Obviously, kneading bread dough or heavy mixing by hand will burn more calories than smaller tasks. I wonder if Rachael Ray knows that preparing one of her famous 30-minute meals can burn about 74 calories!
Additionally, in one hour, dusting burns 160 calories, mopping burns 306 calories, doing laundry and folding clothes burn 144 calories, ironing burns 153 calories, moving furniture burns 504 calories, while vacuuming and sweeping burn 168 calories.
There’s always something about cleaning, at least one particular task, that someone doesn’t like. They’ll procrastinate and avoid doing it as long as possible. According to StormMaster.com’s 10 Top Most Hated Household Chores, cleaning the bathroom (especially the toilet) tops their list.
MarthaStewart.com’s Do You Hate Cleaning Your Bathroom?… (March 2022), by Nashia Baker, wholeheartedly agrees that cleaning the bathroom (especially the toilet) is American’s least favorite chore.
But I really want to give an award nomination to ScaryMommy.com’s satirical article, 8 Household Chores I’ll Never Do – Because Who Has Time For This, by Elizabeth Broadbent (Originally Published: Oct. 23, 2016; Updated: June 10, 2021), which takes the subject out of the box. It’s more than just a list of “hated chores”. Check it out!
Other chores most commonly avoided by people include: dusting, mopping, cleaning the kitchen (especially the appliances), making the bed, and doing laundry. Dusting is my least liked chore, as it badly effects my allergies and I have A LOT of ‘tchotchkes’ [pronounced: choch-keys] to dust! But I love them all and am not ready to get rid of them yet.
Mom didn’t care for cleaning dishes, even when we had a dishwasher, making the bed; both of which my sisters and I did, for her, to earn our weekly allowance. We’re all different, in what we like and don’t like to do. To each, their own!
I like to clean and, especially, to organize! I think it’s an OCD thing (to me, that stands for Organize, Clean, & Display). Organizing is my favorite hobby. In fact, my kids and husband like to tease me, saying that I’m CDO, rather than OCD, because I like things in alphabetical (and numerical) order. That’s me – I own it!
In the office, Mom preferred, what she called, an “organized mess”. She kept a sign on her desk (as pictured above), which she picked up somewhere after I took it upon myself, one day, while she and Dad were gone for the day, to clean and organize her desk as a good deed. She wasn’t very happy about it, when she returned, but she was very forgiving.
FROM MOM’S MEMORIES…
Excerpts by Gloria Pitzer, as seen in…
My Cup Runneth Over – And I Can’t Find My Mop, (Secret RecipesTM, St. Clair, MI; Dec. 1989)
WHILE SOME FOLKS claim to have been born under a sign related in some way to the stars and other heavenly bodies, I wish to establish, right here and now, the sign under which I must have been born.
It reads: ‘DO NOT TOUCH THE MESS ON THIS DESK OR YOU’LL GOOF UP MY SYSTEM.’
From this, you can imagine how astonished I was when, one day, it occurred to me that Heaven had certainly poured me out a blessing and my cup was running over. But I couldn’t find my mop! That has more or less (actually MORE) been the story of my life… my cup runneth over and over and over. (pp. 14-15)
It is with appreciation that, in spite of my lack of organization, Mary Ellen Pinkham, the famous household hints author, took an interest in our recipes… I really should get together with Mary Ellen and learn exactly how to become better organized but, somehow, time keeps getting away from me. (p. 119)
‘If the good Lord had intended for me to have a clean house, He would have given me a maid!’ – Gloria Pitzer
In my blog post, “Spring into Cleaning” (March 25, 2019) – and others – I mentioned that cleaning was not Mom’s favorite activity, even though she called herself the “Happy Homemaker”. I’m not saying Mom didn’t clean; but she clearly disliked it. And that’s okay.
Not everyone gets a joy out of cleaning any more than they have to. In fact, that would have made a great title for another one of Mom’s self-published books. She often published household hints, in her newsletter issues, to help make the average homemaker’s life a little easier.
The American Cleaning Institute claims that, on average, Americans spend approximately six hours per week cleaning their homes. The most dreaded cleaning tasks, by percentage, are cleaning the bathroom (at 52%), cleaning the kitchen (at 23%), dusting (at 21%), mopping (at 20%) and doing the laundry (at 17%).
MORE FROM MOM’S MEMORIES
As seen in her column…
No Laugh’N Matter (The Times Herald, Port Huron, Michigan; Feb 14, 1974)
“EAT YOUR HEART OUT MR. CLEAN!”
Many of you have written, asking what shortcuts I recommend for getting through the hang ups of housework. I thought you’d never ask. And I’m happy to share with you some of the lesser known household hints that you are not apt to find in the elegant publications…
Now, my household hints are NOT necessarily recommended by GOOD HOUSEKEEPING, Dr. Seuss, my mother-in-law, the neighbors, Mr. Clean…but they do work! Unless, that is, you’re expecting miracles.
WHAT TO DO WITH LEFTOVERS: If, while they are in the refrigerator, leftovers become as hairy as hedgehogs at bay, don’t try to throw them out. Feed them dead flies and keep them as pets!
WHAT TO DO ABOUT COBWEBS: If you have cobwebs in your corners and can’t figure out why, because you don’t have a cob in the house; ignore them if you can’t reach them. If somebody calls them to your attention, exclaim with pride, ‘Oh! I can’t touch those. They’re my son’s science project!’
WHAT TO DO ABOUT JAR LIDS THAT REFUSE TO BUDGE: Tell a 4-year-old not to touch them!
IF YOU HAVE OVER-SIZED HIPS: Wear Jodhpurs. They’ll go out where you do!
IF YOU PUT ON WEIGHT EASILY: Let out your couch!
TROUBLE FALLING A SLEEP? If you can’t count sheep… try talking to the Shepherd!
CONCERNED ABOUT SHORTAGES? Help conserve water… bathe with someone you love! Help conserve paper… stamp out bumper stickers! Get an education… drive a school bus! Eat a beaver… save a tree!
TO CONSERVE ENERGY: Don’t hold post-mortems, brooding over your mistakes. The faster you make one, the less apt anybody is to notice it.
BEFORE GOING TO THE EXPENSE OF REDECORATING YOUR ENTIRE HOUSE: Move!
TO PREVENT SCRUB WATER FROM RUNNING DOWN YOUR ARMS WHILE WASHING WALLS: Hang from your feet!
CLEANER FLOORS: If you have tried the miracle product as advertised on TV and you still can’t get your floors to look as clean as those seen on the commercial, write to the manufacturer of that cleaner and have them send you that mop!
SHORT ON SILVERWARE AT MEALTIME? Delegate a search party of children to check out the sand box, toy chest and cold air returns. Chance are, you’ll find them!
TO REMOVE CHEWING GUM from a new, white bedspread, apply peanut butter by rubbing with vigorous motions. If it still doesn’t come out, get a new bedspread!
TO AVOID HAVING YOUR HUSBAND USE THE GUEST TOWELS to clean the carburetor…hang only cleaning rags on the bathroom towel racks!
If you live in a state like Michigan, where it snows at least half of the year, even in spring, you may be interested to know that an hour of shoveling snow burns 405 calories. Also, now that the weather is starting to improve, an hour spent on hand-washing the car will burn 306 calories.
And don’t forget that spending at least one hour of hard work, picking up garbage and debris, while CLEANING up the neighborhood, can also burn a whopping 450 calories AND improve your community! What a great idea and it’s beneficial for all!
In honor of Saturday, being the start of April, which is National Pecan Month, among other things, here’s Mom’s copycat recipe for Sanders’ 3-Layer (Pecan) Bar Cookies; as seen in… The Original 200 Plus Secret Recipes© Book (Secret RecipesTM, Marysville, MI; June 1997, p. 48).
P.S. Food-for-thought until we meet again, next Monday…
March celebrates, among other things… Irish-American Heritage Month, National Caffeine Awareness Month, National Celery Month, National Craft Month, National Flour Month, National Sauce Month, and National Women’s History Month!
[NOTE: Lent began on Wednesday, Feb. 22nd, and runs, throughout March, until Thursday, April 6th (for 2023).]
Thursday, March 30th is… National Take a Walk in the Park Day, National Doctors Day, National I Am in Control Day, National Pencil Day, National Turkey Neck Soup Day, and National Virtual Vacation Day!
Saturday is the start of April, which observes, among other things… Keep America Beautiful Month, Lawn and Garden Month, National Couple Appreciation Month, National Fresh Celery Month, National Garden Month, National Humor Month, National Soft Pretzel Month, National Soy Foods Month, and Scottish-American Heritage Month!
April 1st is also… April Fool’s Day and National Sourdough Bread Day! Plus, as the first Saturday in April (for 2023), it’s… National Love Our Children Day, National Play Outside Day, and National Handmade Day, too!
…13 down and 39 to go!