-- March 28, 2004

Breeze Through Cleaning And Get To the FUN!

For many today's annual Shamrock Shuffle (a n 8K run, 8K wheelchair race and a 5K fitness walk, kids' shuffle and 50-yard dash followed by a post-race party in Chicago's Grant Park) has become as much a harbinger of spring as the first robin red-breast and the magnificent multi-colored splashes of spring flowers that bedeck State Street and the Magnificent Mile. 

We've heard that robins have been spotted as far north as the upper Michigan peninsula already. And word has it that people cross America and Europe are just now beginning to shake off the annual spring doldrums that had so many dragging through March. 

Spring typically sparks a quickening of activity, with plans for Easter celebrations, vacations, picnics and  and get-togethers with friends old and new ... and a thorough cleaning indicative of casting out the old and throwing wide open our windows to let in fresh air and new ideas.

The U.S. Labor Department estimates about 20 million self-employed and salaried employees (about 15 percent of all workers) now work from home at least once a week. This adds a new dimension to spring cleaning and a need for bottles of disinfectant for the computer keyboard, mouse and telephone; microfiber cloths safe for electronics equipment, cans of non-flammable air dusters and anti-static sprays to remove dirt from office equipment, computers and monitors.

Home offices require a ruthless approach when it comes to cleaning. If you're like me, it seem that you are constantly shoveling out masses of paper (and they said this would be a paperless society <grin>). Office desks are magnets for all sorts of clutter. And that's not good for creativity or for efficient working environments. My personal rule of thumb: if it's six months old, it's ancient history; if it's really important I'll be able to find it on the internet or in the library. First to go is anything dated 2003. Tax papers and legal documents get filed away in archive boxes everything else -- all catalogues, direct mail, magazines, files and folders -- gets tossed. 

But I'm not a neat-nik. I'm ready for marathons, picnics and lazy summer days. So, I grab my vinegar and WD-40, check out a few websites to refresh my memory and whisk through the house chores.

The Vinegar Page - The World's Longest list of uses for vinegar  http://frugalliving.about.com/cs/tips/a/vinegar.htm 
WD-40 - Other uses for the magic spray http://www.thetipsbank.com/wd40.htm  

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(C) Joan-Marie Moss March 2004

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