‘The Other Press’ guide to life: cleanliness, part one

Image from Joel McCarthy.
Image from Joel McCarthy.

Don’t claim to be a grown man if you can’t clean

By Keating Smith, Staff Writer

If your house is home to the leaning tower of pizza boxes and an ever-growing ring of scum at the waterline of your toilet bowl, I can only assume one of two things: you either have some really interesting science experiments going on in your man cave, or you’re a slob. And while scientific innovations are always interesting to observe, I will go with the latter notion and call you a slob. Maintaining a clean living space is just as important as brushing your teeth or showering on a regular basis, so read on for The Other Press guide to house cleanliness.

Clutter: You may think that the classic bong-and-ashtray combo make a great centerpiece on the coffee table, surrounded by empty beer bottles and pieces of whatever you have emptied from your pockets that you have collected throughout the day, but they don’t. It’s gross. Just get rid of all this stuff. Do you really need that receipt from the grocery store or the 18 cents left over from said shopping excursion? Does this crap really need to take up semi-permanent residence on your coffee table? Less is more—or to put it another way, having all your possessions organized is convenient.

Bathroom / Kitchen: Think of all the bodily waste that is disposed of in your bathroom, especially if you share with several roommates. A good thing to do after you morning routine in the bathroom is to quickly wipe everything down. Did you piss all over the area around the toilet? Wipe it up with toilet paper. The same goes for number two streaks in the toilet bowl.

If your kitchen is a display of dirty dishes that haven’t been touched for days, weeks, or months, remember: you are not creating an art installation, you’re attracting insects. If you can’t get to your dishes immediately, at least do future-you a favour and rinse them.

Air Quality: The American Lung Association estimates that a human on average breathes 35 pounds of air each day. With this in mind, it is imperative to keep the flow of air in your place continuous even during the winter months if only for a few minutes. Don’t buy one of those corny Glade air fresheners that you plug into the wall, as that only masks the smell. Buy living plants instead. You can also put baking soda on your carpets, leave it for a few hours, and then vacuum it up to bring up some of the deeper smells that can lurk in older carpets. Finally, don’t smoke inside! Even if it’s marijuana; despite how much you want to argue that the smell only lasts a few minutes, you are wrong.

Bedroom: If you have a special lady or guy coming over for the first time and you want to impress them, do a search on YouTube for “hospital corners” to find out the best way to make your bed. This is how everyone in the US and Canadian military are taught to make beds. Also, this should go without saying, but wash or change your sheets at least once a week. Beds accumulate dirt and sweat while you sleep, which causes your bed to smell bad over time. Also: dust mites love eating the dead skin cells and hair that shed onto your bed while you sleep (don’t Google image search this).

You don’t need to live like Martha Stewart, but if you live healthy and respectably it will create a positive balance in your day to day actions. I can’t believe I have to write something as ludicrous as this, but during the past several weeks I have had several female friends confide in me that the men in their life just don’t know how to clean. When you live like a slob it implies that you can’t take care of yourself and that you lack awareness of the basic responsibilities involved in life. Putting in the smallest amount of effort will pay off big time: you’ll look mature, organized, and respectable. And best of all, your place will be clean.

Next week: how to buy cleaning products on a student budget.