To continue my previous blog post about housekeeping and cleaning, inspired by Haruko Niitsu, here are some of her housekeeping tips.
Niitsu san spends the whole day supervising and cleaning Haneda Airport, as she goes back home she does really very minimal housekeeping. Her housekeeping style is “By-the-way Cleaning”.
There are two types of cleaning: preventive cleaning and the actual cleaning. As a cleaning professional, instead of thinking “how to get rid of a stain”, it’s better to do frequent by-the-way light cleaning “in case it leaves a stain”.
For example, use a cloth to (by the way) wipe the staircase handle rail when you go down the staircase to head out for work, so that it doesn’t leave hand stains. Wash the stove parts together (by the way) with your pots and pans every time you finish cooking to prevent stubborn oil stains. It seems like it’s a little extra work to do but it’s a lot easier compared to removing year-old stubborn stains afterwards.
And the most important point of Niitsu-Style cleaning is – to always put your heart into cleaning. Always keep in mind to be gentle to things and protect the material and be kind to your cleaning tools. Try to clean a surface the gentle way instead of scrubbing with full force as it can damage the material of the surface. When you clean something gently with your heart, it will give off a special shine.
(Maintenance for your cleaning too is very important!)
It sounds all too familiar, just like the KonMari style, both of them emphasize on treating things with respect and putting your heart to it.
I have once translated a piece that the danna wrote for his company’s staff about the importance of a morning cleaning ritual. Basically it goes like this. Every single morning, each and every one in the company must spend 30 minutes to clean a space in the company that is the size of a newspaper spread. It sounds really silly and totally exaggerated but that’s the only way to level up one’s acuteness towards the people and environment around him or her. If you keep polishing a tiny floor space every day, your sensitivity will also be polished sharper and sharper. You start to notice small stains and flaws on the floor that you could not see before. And that is extremely important for a company in the service industry. To be more alert and sensitive towards a customer’s needs, to always think of room for improvement for the comfort of a customer. In that sense, cleaning is more than just a chore, it is a practice to one’s mental refinement.
Niitsu San’s philosophy is the same. “How far can you go? Maybe today I can go a little bit further” is her attitude towards her job.
Back to housekeeping, although I don’t have to deal with any customers, I realize the same could be applied to individual households. What can I do today to make the house extra clean, so that my familiar can relax more and feel happier?
Luckily the danna helps out a lot with housekeeping (in fact he does it 10 times better than me haha. I used to be so lazy that he was the one who cannot tahan and just did all the cleaning himself like a silent protest lol), and I really really appreciate it because even washing a cup after use or airing the laundry helps A LOT when our life is pretty much 分秒必争 (every second also must fully utilize) right now.
Anyway, #Pokemom next step: all the cleaning tools that spark joy for me and totally make my life so much easier, courtesy of Kao.
I adopted a mix of Niitsu and the danna’s approach, which is to clean a specific small area a day until it is insanely clean.
Today I tackled the pantry sink.
Yeap. The book has a step-by-step guide on how to clean your sink thoroughly.
I wash the strainer pretty often, sponge it when I finish doing the dishes. But it has never once crossed my mind that I should clean the inner part of the rubber gasket. I guess I was too arrogant to think that trivial stuff like cleaning a sink strainer rubber gasket with a wooden pick and scrubbing the edge of a faucet would benefit my life in any way.
But I was quite wrong. Once I was done with the entire sink, I wanted to do more. I was overwhelmed because I had a strong urge to clean the whole house because suddenly, I was seeing many stained and dirt-filled spots in the house that have never once caught my attention before.
So that part about polishing one’s observance is true.
One of the useful tips I learnt from the book was how to folder your cleaning cloth. Usually I just scrunch it into a wet ball of mess and started wiping the table surface and whatnot. But Niitsu’s style is to fold it in eight, so you have 16 clean sides to use, instead of rubbing dirty cloth over clean surface over and over again or washing it every time you use it once.
My By-the-way floor cleaning, Magiclean wipe the whole floor while I tidy up the house. Seriously who created this life-saving awesomeness?! It is so crazy effective and easy that I don’t even vacuum anymore.
This is another genius invention! Magiclean duster that traps dust like a super magnet.
Another by-the-way cleaning – clean your remote control while you watch the TV.
Lastly, bathroom mold is a huge problem for many household. One of the tricks I learn from Niitsu is to spray an alkaline-based cleanser on affected surface, and then place tissue papers over it, so that the wet tissue papers keeps the cleanser in place for better effectiveness.
This is super great for mold removing!!
Other useful Kao products for your household:
Attack Detergent+Softener (right) and Attack Ultra Neo the danna bought from Japan!
. Can you believe our grandma’s generation had no disaposable diapers?! Apparently My mom used cloth diaper on me. Imagine all the housework PLUS washing dozens of soiled diapers every single day! We mothers are truly blessed nowadays!!!
Moral of this blog post: If you feel demotivated to clean your house but you absolutely bo bian die die must clean, think of it as an act of kindness for your family, every one who will visit your house, and most importantly, yourself.
Share with me if you have other interesting tips on housekeeping!