Pine Sol, Lysol and Loretta Lynn


As with all things Christmas, and all seasons really, a large part of my homemaking and parenting consists of me bellowing that “we are living in squalor!” and/or “we will not live like this!”

We are relatively clean people, for a period of time. Then, inevitably, an errant gloves, shoe, plate or piece of mail is left to its own devices. Before long this has led to a landslide of chaos.

To this we then add a few more trees, garland, and dust collecting tchotchkes? Is it any wonder that second only to decorating is my love for UNdecorating? I do love packing it all away.


If I had my way most Christmas decor would be on the way out sometime after morning coffee on Dec. 26. I’m not grinchy, it just feels like time.

I realize other people like to keep the tree up until New Year’s Day or later. Some go to Valentine’s Day. There is even a movement to keep a tree up all year.

To this I say: you do you. Every person, or family, has their own rhythm. Some are neat freaks, some are okay with more a “grey glove” versus “white glove” standard of clean.

Still others prefer a “kick a path” sort of cleaning. I think most people, however, acknowledge that at some point they have to buckle down and scrub up.

Saturday cleaning

That point for me growing up was usually a Saturday afternoon when my single, working mother made time to put our house in order.

To this day I don’t hear 1970s era disco or funk without immediately feeling like I should be boogying with a canister vacuum dragging along behind me. Wild Cherry and Play that Funky Music make me think of Comet cleanser and “elbow grease.” Always a winning combination.

We didn’t always have a TV but we always had a stereo. I was 12 before I knew Wizard of Oz was in color but I could crank up the music and wipe down dust with the best of them by grade school.

I will never smell Murphy’s Oil Soap without thinking of my mother’s home. I suspect my children will say their childhood smelled of bleach and Mrs. Meyer’s Basil scented cleaners.

Nose nostalgia

I’m all over the map when it comes to “all natural” versus “better living through chemistry.” So many people say they hate cloying odors? I love them! I want my house to smell like a combination of squeaky clean sanitation and the candle shop at the mall.

Of course, everyone’s “nose nostalgia” varies. This column was inspired by a friend who said Saturday cleaning marathons with her mother consisted of “Pine Sol, Lysol and Loretta Lynn.” It’s a sweet memory now.


As we head into the New Year I am reminded that I have a certain enjoyment in cleaning our home. It’s trite but true that I count my blessings, along with the dust bunnies.

Dishes mean we eat. Laundry means we are dressed. All these floors, doors, and windows mean we have shelter. May we always have home, family and just enough mess to bless.

Get our Top Stories in Your Inbox

Next step: Check your inbox to confirm your subscription.



We are glad you have chosen to leave a comment. Please keep in mind that comments are moderated according to our comment policy.

Receive emails as this discussion progresses.