Mondays & Memories of My Mom – Cleaning Makes Me Happy

Thank God it’s Monday, again. I personally look forward to Mondays, as they’re my 52 Chances a year, in which I get to share Memories of My Mom with all of you! Therefore, happy Monday to everyone.



I’m so excited, I can hardly wait – next Sunday is the beginning of National [Spring] Cleaning Week! In fact, I literally couldn’t wait, as I already started mine, last week, by doing some deep-spring-cleaning (and organizing) in my basement. I have a craft room down there that spilled out into my laundry area, during the busy holidays.

Thus, I’ve already started sorting through my stuff (because I have a lot of stuff), in order to purge some things I don’t really use. I have to keep reminding my husband that I’m not a hoarder, YET. After all, I do occasionally purge about as much as I collect. I’ve also learned how to better pack and organize things, so it doesn’t seem like there’s that much.

It seems like every spring (and fall), I like to write about the joy I get from my extra, seasonal cleaning (and re-organizing) regimens. I know I’m in the minority of people who experience joy, in cleaning. I might have got it from my dad, as Mom was more apt to be in the “Joy-In-Not-Cleaning-Any-More-Than-I-Have-To” club.

It’s not that she didn’t clean… Mom just didn’t enjoy it, like I do. I’m also a list-maker so, years ago, I created a seasonal checklist for tackling each room of my house. I usually start at the top of the room and work my way down – from ceiling to floor – including moving furniture around, changing out the heavy/light seasonal curtains, and creating a fresh look.

Personally, I like to start with cleaning the ceilings, first, dusting out all the cob webs; especially around crown moldings, light fixtures, and ceiling fans. Then I move to the walls, cleaning the door and window moldings, picture frames, shelves, and other decorations. I follow that by cleaning any lamps, table tops, and/or other furniture; leaving the floor for last.

In honor of National Cleaning Week, pictured below is my personal spring & fall deep-cleaning checklist; adapted for others, from which to be inspired to use or re-create to fit their own needs…

I’m also excited that April will be here soon. That’s usually when the garage and yard sales start popping up in my area. While I clean, room-by-room, I’m also creating “piles” of various items, from which I’ve decided to “sell”, “donate”, “toss”, or “recycle”.

If it’s for the “sell pile”, I try to put a price sticker on it right away and box it up for my next yard sale. If it’s a “toss” item, it goes right into a garbage bag. “Recycle” items either go into my crafting room, if I can turn it into something else useful, or into the recycle bin that goes out to the curb, weekly, with the garbage.

My sorting process was inspired, a couple of decades ago, by a unique but short-lived home renovation series that I really enjoyed on TLC, the cable channel. The show was called Clean Sweep (2003-2005) and it involved a room organization and makeover – but first the homeowners had to empty and purge their “disastrous room”.

The process always included some related “therapy”, regarding why we hang on to certain things and how to best let them go. Additionally, after sorting through all of their stuff, the homeowners held a one-day-only, “prize-winning-competition” yard sale with their “sell” pile items. It was motivating and a lot of fun to watch.

Of all the rooms in my house, after the basement, the kitchen takes me the longest to deep clean, followed by the bathroom. I’ve always liked to tackle the biggest stuff first and ease my way down. By the way, if you search Google for the most commonly hated household chore, scrubbing the bathroom seems to be number one. For me, it’s the kitchen.

The average American spends about an hour a day or 6 hours a week, doing regular cleaning chores, which may include doing laundry, washing dishes, dusting, sweeping, mopping, vacuuming, polishing furniture, and so on. Additionally, it seems that most Americans like to do the majority of their cleaning chores on Saturday mornings; instead of a little, daily.

Supposedly, the baseboards are the most often forgotten thing when cleaning. Some say they should be dusted whenever you vacuum or, at the very least, twice a month. If, like me (and my mom), you don’t get to yours even that often then join us in the “I-forget-to-clean-my-baseboards” club. I ended up adding them to my seasonal, deep-cleaning checklist.

Monthly or seasonal deep-cleaning checklists should also include things like ceiling fans, light fixtures, vents, cabinet tops, the refrigerator, stove, and dishwasher (inside and out), above/around door frames and window moldings – and don’t forget about those baseboards.


As seen in…

Gloria Pitzer’s Mixed Blessings – Recipes & Remedies (Secret RecipesTM, St. Clair, MI; March 1984, p. 173)


GETTING THE WHOLE FAMILY to help in the kitchen was one of those logical solutions of a well-meaning woman’s magazine, attempting to take the misery out of mealtime, for their readers. Whenever I find articles that suggest helpful alternatives to an otherwise difficult or dull task, I come right to attention!

I mean, I need all the help I can get – and then some! However, getting – you-should-excuse-the-expression – help from the family in the kitchen, is like bailing out the Titanic with a funnel!

Granted, Family Circle magazine is not one to throw their advice around without having first researched their evidence, but neither have they met MY family! They have not met the man, who by emptying a few ashtrays, can make it look as if he’s just cleaned the whole house.

[Nor] are they acquainted with a teenaged prom queen who must, absolutely must, shower and shampoo every day; but insists that doing dishes will make her hairdo ‘go frizzy’ and ruin her manicure.

They’ve never met the son who works out every day with barbells and $500 worth of weightlifting equipment but can’t find the strength nor energy to pick up a bag of garbage and carry it to the curb. The child who never knows when to hang up the telephone receiver or her clothes makes an unlikely candidate for putting the dishes away.

The son whose education cost us a fortune to prepare him for becoming an advertising agency art director is the last one in this family I would rely upon to paint the cupboards. Getting the whole family to help in the kitchen is not as practical in practice as the magazines make it sound in theory.

Whenever the magazines, upon which modern homemakers rely, come out with sensible advice on unifying the family, I know they aren’t thinking of me! The son, who was so mechanically inclined, can rebuild the transmission in his car without a manual, can’t tell which end of a potato peeler to use.

And we keep hearing those marvelous testimonies of the celebrities and the social experts on how the American family is changing – how Mom is no longer the ‘Number One Drudge’, how everyone in the family pitches in and does a fair share of the domestic chores so that Mom can become (and I use the word loosely) ‘liberated’!

Forget it! No matter what Marlo Thomas Donahue is saying about a marriage becoming anything you wanted to be in today’s society, she hasn’t gotten around much, or she’d know that what our husbands were raised to believe in the 1940s and 1950s was ‘woman’s work’, is STILL considered ‘woman’s work’!

Even though a husband will reluctantly relieve us of little tasks now and then, like making their own sandwich or the bed they also sleep in but leave to the ladies in the house to make in the morning!

I think the mothers of the sons we’ve married in my generation, did us a great disservice by conditioning their boys to believe that making a home was more a woman’s destiny than the men she would share it with.

So let’s not kid ourselves. Marching on Washington and solidarity in the marketplace is not going to transform the framework of the family and home. We’re merely going to have to find shortcuts to success that eliminates the agony and elevates our esteem. Cultivating a positive attitude about our predicament helps!

Countless studies have shown that cleaning and having a clean house can actually make you healthier and happier. After all, as I’ve mentioned in other posts, cleaning also burns a lot of calories. To me, that’s a win-win for happier and healthier.

According to 20 Everyday Activities and the Calories They Burn, by the Editors of Publications International, Ltd. (, in 30 minutes, you can burn about 252 calories, by moving furniture; 153 calories, mopping; 84 calories, sweeping/vacuuming; 80 calories, dusting; 74 calories, making dinner; and 72 calories, by folding laundry.


Again, in honor of National Cleaning Week… here’s a “how-to” tip from Mom’s self-published newsletter, Gloria Pitzer’s Secret Recipe Report (Secret Recipe Report, St. Clair, MI; Issue 84, December 1980; p. 4)… the one thing you don’t ever clean in your kitchen – not in the traditional sense, at least – an iron skillet.

As I continue to get older, I try to make my own cleaning routines less daunting; breaking them down into small tasks, focusing on one room at a time, and remembering to take personal breaks. In the end, the final results, from deep cleaning – the achievement, itself – is a wonderful reward that makes me happy.


In honor of TODAY, being National Sloppy Joe Day, and last Friday, being National Kansas Day, here’s a 2-for-1 of Mom’s copycat recipes for [Kansas City Style] “Loose Hamburger” and her “Man-Witch Sloppy Joes” option; as seen in her last book… Gloria Pitzer’s Cookbook – The Best of the Recipe Detective (Balboa Press; Jan. 2018, p. 67). [A revised reprint of Gloria Pitzer’s Better Cookery Cookbook (Secret RecipesTM, St. Clair, MI; May 1983, 3rd Edition)].




P.S. Food-for-thought until we meet again, next Monday…


March observes, among other things… Irish-American Heritage Month, National Caffeine Awareness Month, National Celery Month, National Flour Month, National Sauce Month, and National Women’s History Month. Unofficially, March is also Maple Sugaring Month in Michigan.

[NOTE: Lent began on Wednesday, Feb. 14th, and will run through Thursday, March 28th (for 2024).]

Today is also… National Lacy Oatmeal Cookie Day.

Tomorrow is… National Chocolate Caramel Day, National Let’s Laugh Day, National Poultry Day, and Spring Begins. Plus, as the third day of the third full week of the third month (for 2024), it’s also… National 3-D Day. [NOTE: It’s also the 33rd anniversary (1991) of Mom’s SECOND appearance on The Home Show (Los Angeles; ABC-TV).]

Wednesday, March 20th, is… World Flour Day, National Proposal Day, and National Ravioli Day.

Thursday, March 21st, is… National California Strawberry Day, National Common Courtesy Day, National Countdown Day, National Fragrance Day, National French Bread Day, and National Single Parent Day.


Friday, March 22nd, is… National Bavarian Crepes Day and National West Virginia Day.

March 23rd is… National Chip and Dip Day, National Near Miss Day, National Melba Toast Day, and National Tamale Day. Plus, as the first Saturday of “March Madness” (for 2024), it’s also… National Corn Dog Day.

March 24th is… National Chocolate Covered Raisin Day and National Cheesesteak Day.


…12 down, 40 more to go!

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