It’s been a while since I did A Word for the Weekend. I don’t know, real life sort of got in the way, or I wasn’t as dutiful as I should have been. But today on Twitter I saw a word I knew you would need, because if you are anything like me, this is what you do.
I am, sadly, Mother-in-Law free now, but in the days when I had one, scurryfunging is what I would do when I heard the car on the path (for an unannounced call) or put the phone down (for an announced call). It would be a mad few minutes of putting things in boxes or bags, pushing stuff under the sofa or putting a pile of books on the kitchen floor rather than on the settee itself.
With the phone call, there might even be chance to run a vacuum cleaner around, flush and rinse the toilet over and (the ultimate in bad housekeeper tricks) spray a little polish into the air to mask odours and try to give the impression that I regularly cleaned up.
With strangers, that pretty much completes the scurryfunge. With relatives or friends calling unannounced, I found leaving the duster and polish out on the coffee table and putting an apron on meant I could legitimately say, “Oh, my Gosh! You caught me cleaning! Please excuse the mess!” and they would usually accept it. Except for my sisters-in-law, who know I would no more voluntarily start cleaning than I would wear false eyelashes or have a bikini line wax.
I am reliably informed by Susie Dent (whose Twitter feed is one of the most useful I know) that a person who scurryfunges can be called a scurryfunger. That’s a most useful piece of information, but be careful whom you use it to. I would, for example, take the precaution of explaining what it is first, or risk the ire and wrath of many homekeepers. And you don’t want to see what either their ire or wrath look like, believe me.
Housework shouldn’t be about judgement anyway, and what other people think of your home is immaterial: as long as it suits you, it’s fine. That said, a clean home does make for a better experience both for visitors and the inhabitants. Not spotless, not completely germ-free, but tidy enough and cleaned often enough that any lying dust isn’t quite thick enough to write in.
Nothing inspires my cleaning bug quite as much as the light changing in spring. I think it’s that first blast on the back windows that reveals so much to me. Like the finger marks from teenage boys fresh from eating crisps and, in recent years, the little imprint of guinea pig noses pressing against the glass to check out the garden. Golly, I say, time to clean the windows. And (this is the problem) when one part is clean, the next shows up the dirt and before you know it you’ve had to clean the whole room just to match the windows.
I like having good kit to clean with, as well. An efficient pinny, a good bucket and cloths and a new broom always work on getting me to clean more (and better) than I have for a while. Here are my must-have items:
A Dustpan and Brush: My favourite colour will always be red. Choose a sensible one, with a strong rubber edging on the pan. It needs to last while you brush the bits onto it.
A Decent Indoor Brush: Make sure you clean the bristles out regularly. My brush gets most use in the kitchen, so it can get a bit sticky sometimes. I try to clean it with soapy water, as in these instructions, but sometimes all I have time for is to grab the dirt out of the bristles as much as possible.
A Good Supply of Lint Free Cleaning Cloths: I used to use a lot of Sarah Smith cloths, because they were colourful and suited my kitchen. I like microfibre cloths as well, because very often you only need water to clean.
Pleasant smelling cleaners: No, not people who have remembered to use deodorant, but a set of cleaning solutions that smell nice. I love mint scented toilet cleaners, orange flavour kitchen cleaners and pleasantly scented cleaners for wood and windows. I have really enjoyed using Method cleaners in the past, and you can see their full range on their website.
And, if inspiration is your issue and you always need a read to get you through, then the book I use as my inspiration is The Seasonal Scrub by Alison May. The book has both a 30 day deep cleaning project and a quick week-long cleaning routine that will get your home sparkling if followed completely, or at least act as inspiration to get what you can done in the time available to you.
This weekend I have a rare two days of freedom. My kitchen needs a sort out,a nd I could do with Konmari-ing my cupboards. I will do what I can, in between drinking tea and cooking pork. I hope the word for the weekend suits you today, and hope you have the right balance between work and play sorted! What are you all up to? Let me know in the comments below or on social media. If you want to join in even more hygge, why not join The Hygge Nook on Facebook? Over 9,000 members are enjoying one of the most positive and happiest groups on the internet. You can also follow my blog through the How to Hygge The British Way Facebook page and my Instagram feed, BritishHyggeJem.
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