I bought the Don Aslett book and wow, that must be one of the best £3.51 I've ever spent. Haven't even finished it yet!
One thing got me thinking, though: how is dust actually generated in a home? I understand a lot of it is dead skin, but how are the other components actually produced?
Also: lampshades! Help! I've been looking round my home and wondering what annoys me most and it's definitely lampshades. We have what I think of as 'normal' paper ones on a wire frame and they just attract dust and it works in. What's the better option (for someone who likes desk lamps and standard lamps a LOT LOT more than ceiling lights)?
Okay, I'm going to buy it now. It can sit next to Dacyczyn's "The Complete Tightwad Gazette" on my shelf!
I'm going to guess that anything that can break down to that degree makes dust. Dead skin, dirt from outside, flour from when you are cooking, larger particles in smoke, little bits from when you tear paper, etc.
Why not get solid lampshades? DBF has one that is some sort of plastic or resin, and that is easy to wipe down. I know you can get those pretty dark green glass desk lampshades, but the cone-shaped ones do come in white and other colors.
Only own one type of sock. You will never spend time looking for pairs and matching them up ever again. (I actually cheat at this and own about eight pairs of black socks and eight pairs of white athletic socks. Still works great.)
If you already have a lot of socks, buy a hundred-pack of safety pins cheaply somewhere. Whenever you remove a pair of socks, pin them together. If you and your family members have some similar-looking socks, each person gets a different pinning style. Mine is through the center of the calf. DBF's is through the top of the cuff. I don't think I have had more than one or two pins come loose in the wash after doing this for a couple years.
When househunting, keep in mind:
- Don't buy a house with a two-story entry. Every time I walk into one, I think "Who is stuck dusting that?"
- In the kitchen, make sure there is a range hood with a working fan that vents outside! Our current apartment has empty ceiling over the stove, so any time I fry something, make a curry, or need to lightly scorch something for a recipe, we are running to open all the windows and turn on fans, even in the dead of winter.
- In each bathroom, be sure there is some reliable ventilation. We have no bathroom fan, so the window remains cracked year-round to prevent mold developing on the ceiling.
- My mother always said she would have loved a house with a central vacuum. I'm not sure how common these are.
- My mother also wishes that she had a mudroom. Even taking off shoes doesn't always help, when you have six people trying to get in the house at once and nowhere to sit when taking shoes off.
your things are getting dirty, and choose your cleaning method appropriately.
- We have terribly hard water, which makes gross rings in the toilet, which collect all sorts of nastiness, so the toilet must be scrubbed frequently. DBF got one of those blue gunk things that makes your toilet water blue for a month as it releases its bleach solution. Unfortunately, this did nothing against the hard water rings, so then we had a blue-water toilet that still developed rings AND I couldn't use vinegar to clean the surfaces for fear of mixing some with bleach and killing us both.
- If kitchen cabinets near the stove look grimy, it isn't just dust. The dust is adhering to old grease. Using a dry dust rag as you would in the living room is just going to smear it. You need vinegar or soap to cut the grease.
If you have white porcelain sinks, once you have them all scrubbed out and nice, you can apply pure carnauba wax to keep scuffs and stains away for a while longer. This wax is the same food-safe stuff that is used on fruits, so it is okay to use in your kitchen sink.
Keep a dishrag by the sink and another under the counter (for floors). Use them to wipe up spills as they happen, of course, but also to clean up surprise sticky spots in the fridge.
You can clean most things with some combination of hot water, hydrogen peroxide, vinegar (DON'T MIX VINEGAR WITH THE PEROXIDE), baking soda, dish soap, and salt applied with newspaper, a scrubby brush, old toothbrush, or rag. This tends to be cheaper, still effective, and far less stinky than the packaged cleaning supplies. And every toilet needs its own plunger. That is not something you want to sprint to get...PRODUCTS NEVER TO MIX (Warning, Buzzfeed link)
Paint chosen for walls and cabinets should be appropriate for its intended use, and the surface to be painted should be prepped appropriately. The landlord painted the kitchen cabinets nicely, but there are so many layers of paint that the doors don't close. The bathroom has pretty paint, but it has no humidity resistance and started flaking quickly.
If you are going to sweep the kitchen, vacuum the living room at the same time. Otherwise, little bits get tracked back and forth between the two rooms.
When I buy dishes one of these years, I am going to find a restaurant supplier so that I can replace broken ones easily and cheaply.