All-time housekeeping heroes
And now for something less offensive
I like to experiment with different tools, equipment, and materials in the process of keeping house, but these are the top items upon which I rely and shall never stray. Their beauty and efficiency make housekeeping an actual delight.
1. Dyson V11 Animal
Worth. every. penny. The joy of my life, the song of my heart!
I know it’s expensive, but it has improved my sensibility and energy around housekeeping immensely. My mom and sister are Dyson devotees and have really done their research. According to their in-depth analysis, this is the best Dyson for your buck. (Kelsey’s personal motto is: “Never go below a V11.”) Opt for the smaller head, too, because you can get around smaller areas, such as around toilets and furniture.
I’ll never go back to a corded vacuum. Never! You will have to pry my Dyson from my cold, dead hands.
2. Kitchen gloves
You’ve already heard my opinion about using gloves to wash dishes: Always use gloves to wash your dishes; you’re not a savage.
I won’t reiterate this philosophy, but again, it’s one on which my mother and sister Kelsey are aligned.
Whenever we see each other, Kelsey brings me pairs of the best kitchen gloves we’ve ever found, which she finds at her local grocery store in Hatteras. I don’t even know the brand, but we buy them like we’re Y2K prepping, for fear that they will stop carrying them.
So I have no specific recs, except that you must drive all the way to the farthest edge of the Atlantic coastline, out to Hatteras Island, make your way to Conner’s Supermarket, and then stock up there. Good luck. It’s a long drive.
3. Drying racks
I have three drying racks for laundry, and I use them all, daily.
I use a cheap folding metal rack for drying out rags on the deck before wash. (We don’t use paper towels, so this is a big necessity for all the cleaning and kitchen rags.)
Then I have this standing bamboo one in the laundry room (shown above), which stands below an extremely sturdy wall-mount rack I got on Etsy. (I don’t necessarily recommend the latter, because it was an absolute nightmare to hang and possibly a bit overbuilt, but it does look great.)
Why hang stuff to dry? It saves lots of household energy; it preserves the lifespan of your clothes and textiles; and it generates a nice, manual, old-fashioned feeling of efficiency. I still use my dryer a lot, but I always rack-dry a handful of items from every load.
4. O-Cedar mop
I like many things about this mop for cleaning my floors (hardwood and tile): the detachable, machine-washable soft heads (which come surprisingly clean in the wash); the foot-pedal/spinning function to wring out the mop (which is very satisfying); and the generous but light bucket.
Mopping is low on my list of enjoyable chores, but this particular mop and bucket make it better, especially when I drop in some Caldrea sea salt neroli all-purpose cleaner, which smells like heaven.
5. DIY cleaning solutions
Two endlessly useful favorite homemade solutions, which have kept me from buying so many cleaning products:
Counter cleaner: 1/2 c. 70% rubbing alcohol, drops of dish soap, drops of lavender essential oil. Fill most of the rest of your spray bottle with water.
Sealed surface cleaner (cabinets, walls, bathrooms, tile, etc.): 1/2 c. white vinegar, 1 c. water, drops of lemon essential oil.
I like these glass spray bottles. They have superior spraying heads compared with other versions I’ve tried.
6. Washi tape
I’ve also written about the many uses of pretty Japanese washi tape in the house and kitchen before, so I won’t reiterate, but I don’t think I’m exaggerating when I say that I use washi tape every week.
MT makes the best washi tape. Don’t buy American-made tape if you can help it. It sucks.
7. Mr. Siga Dual Action Scrubbing Sponges
I went through a ScrubDaddy phase, but I keep coming back to these durable, long-lasting sponges for dishwashing. They last a goodly while and can hold up in the wash, too.
8. E-cloth Window Cleaning Cloths
Mom turned me on to this sorcery, but these cloths are the best/most magical way to get absolutely streak-free windows and glass. All you need is a spray bottle of water and these two cloths. Will never use anything else to clean glass.
9. Nellie’s Laundry Soda
Affordable, nontoxic, simple, effective powdered detergent. (Don’t buy liquid detergent! It’s wasteful and messy; you’re just paying for lots of water.) Plus it comes in a cute aluminum tin. What’s not to love?
What are your housekeeping heroes? Do tell.