It’s now spring, which means it’s the season of cleaning and organization. There’s something particularly alarming about emerging from the winter doldrums to find that your home is a dusty, cluttered mess. To help you (and us) with sprucing up and restoring order, we’re talking to professionals and experts this week all about the best tricks and tools.
Amélie has recently come to Netflix, and inspired by a plane viewing of The Shape of Water (really, just a merman Amélie!), I decided to rewatch the older film for the first time in years. With the first lilting note of the accordion, it all came rushing back: how I did up my college bedroom in a palette of reds and greens and thought Mathieu Kassovitz was the most attractive actor in the world, and even wondered if I could pull off a pointelle sweater. Some things change, of course, but there’s one legacy of that bit of post-9/11 escapism that has stayed with me into adulthood.
Do you remember when, early in the film, Amélie’s mother is shown polishing her apartment’s parquet with a pair of slippers? (It’s listed as one of the things Amandine Poulain likes, along with reorganizing her purse.) Well, a few years ago, I ran across a pair of these polishing slippers, and I must tell you that — unlike spying on shut-in neighbors, stalking strangers in photo booths, and playing mind games with co-workers like you have some kind of manic-pixie god complex — whimsical polishing slippers age just fine.
The pair of polishing slippers I have is microfiber, so basically it’s like wearing a couple of dust-attracting Swiffers on your feet (you could even stick them on your Swiffer broom, as shown above). They’re too thin to wear outdoors. And you wouldn’t want to, you know, mop up a bunch of mud in them, but it’s very satisfying to slide around your apartment and pick up hairs and dust and particles that you know won’t strike your line of vision the next time the light hits the floor. Best of all is the sense of multitasking; just by wearing slippers, and going between the bathroom and the sofa and the kitchen, you’re cleaning.
They’re good for polishing, too. I don’t wax my floor often — too much work — but once every six months or so, I’ll do a little patch. When you’re using the old-fashioned oil wax — the stuff that makes the floor really shine — you have to let it dry, wipe it up, and then buff it to a high sheen. Tedious, right? Not when you’re wearing your polishing slippers. I alternate between dancing around and switching the chair I’m working in, so those little patches get extra shined while I sit and type. Yann Tiersen soundtrack optional.
Natural cleaning products aren’t that hard to come by, but which ones are actually effective? Ecoexpert Danny Seo recommended the Better Life All-Purpose cleaner as a plant-based cleaner that works just as well as the chemical-filled ones.
If you’re looking for an actual mop, writer Ashlea Halpern suggests the one used at Nike headquarters: “I can’t believe I’m typing this, but the Bona made mopping kinda fun. The flat-head mop is wider than a Swiffer, covering more ground faster while still swiveling under furniture and into hard-to-reach corners. The microfiber pad gripped the mop firmly and didn’t get filthy as fast as the Swiffer pads do: I mopped both the living and dining rooms before stopping to clean the pad and reattach it. That action alone addressed my biggest beef with the Swiffer.”
Wanna get rid of hair or dust on upholstery? Writer Hilary Reid discovered a “broom” that’s essentially a giant sticky roller: “The jumbo lint roller on a long stick quickly became the essential cleaning tool I never knew I needed. Here’s how it works: Extend the handle to a comfortable length, and then roll the sticky adhesive part across the rug, so that it picks up hair, dirt, and whatever else is lurking within. Once the adhesive sheet is covered, tear it off and begin again. Roll and repeat, until you’ve finished its surface area.”
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