When I moved from my chicken coop-sized condominium (aka The Coop) to a large apartment and then a larger house in my hometown, I made a decision. Despite my ever-increasing empire of space, I was not going to buy more new things if I didn’t have to. Any visitor to The Coop knew that my “spare bedroom” was actually another name for a jam-packed room of furniture, fabric, books, and cleaning supplies, as well as an Apocalypse closet in the sorry event of a nuclear disaster or other Eschaton.
Moving into my last and larger home, I decided I would “make do” with what I had and before I made any purchases, I would deliberate other options. How could I re-purpose what I already had? Was there anything my mother wanted to give me in her own quest to minimize her stuff? What things had I stuck up in Uncle Bob’s barn for the happy day when I returned home for good?
Slowly but surely, my new old house came alive with happy colorful discoveries. It’s been fun to open a storage box and say to myself “Aha! That’s where those 2 yards of Laura Ashley ‘Emma’ heavyweight cotton went!”
Scatter rugs have found their permanent homes along with candlesticks, wooden pineapples, and cut glass candy dishes.
One thing I always say to myself as I look at a bare corner or window, though, is “could this space be enhanced by cleaning?”
With a passion sure to drive any frowning feminist mad, I get out my rubber gloves, put on my apron and scrub, scrub, scrub. Sometimes, I even get down on my hands and knees and scrub my floors. I don’t find it demeaning in any way; I am becoming one with my house.
Clean is the new “new.”
The mini-blind, though, is one particular home good which has consumed inordinate cleaning time and leads me to question whether it was created by a cabal of inventors set on world domination of my time and money.
Searching for the inventor of window blinds on a Monday morning is the last thing anyone wants to do and since I’m not writing an investigative journalism piece on the topic, we’ll leave it up to Loosehead Prop to fill us in on the detailed history of the Egyptian invention. He will surely include a nod to the Venetians as well as a passing wink at the Neapolitans. Whoever created the original window treatment’s now-popular descendent, the “mini-blind,” surely didn’t have a busy but environmentally conscious American clean freak in mind when forming thin plastic slats in a research lab.
Alas, there are three schools of mini-blind cleansing, similar to schools on spiritual baptism. The “dunkers” or “full-immersion” cleaners believe the only way to drive all uncleanliness out of mini-blinds is to immerse them in a tub or vat of water, preferably full of a strong chemical cleaner.
Then, there are the “sprinklers.” Some suggest hanging the mini-blinds outside and “sprinkling” with the full force of a garden hose. Others prefer a lighter sprinkle, with a watering can of water or a spray bottle of a chemical cleaner.
These methods are too focused on “cleaning the outside of the cup” for me and I prefer to clean my mini-blinds slat by slat wearing old damp socks or a pair of gloves over my hands. It’s time-consuming and frustrating and yet, the monotony of it leaves my mind open for various other thoughts as I become one with my mini-blind. I get to know “the heart” of the matter.
The alternative to any mini-blind baptism is, of course, the “baptism by fire.” If the mini-blinds are too much to handle, like clanging gongs of filth hanging from your windows, by all means, subject them to the pit of hell! Rip those dirty and dusty things off your windows and haul them to the dump where they’ll be incinerated and turned to dust.
Mon Dieu. Where has the time gone? I’m off to save a few more mini-blinds from eternal damnation!