I Need a Magic Hat


Posts will be lean this week…as I’m a cleanin’ fool.

I don’t really have a topic for y’all…unless you want to share your worst cleaning stories…or best cleaning/decluttering tips.

I just ask that we DON’T discuss Taylor…please…I implore you. There are tons of other places to do that…plus…I’m really not interested in reading about him anymore.

Thanks. 🙂


47 Responses to “I Need a Magic Hat”

  1. Dr. Bob Says:

    I live my worst cleaning story, sad to say.

  2. Laurita Says:

    I’m spending today doing some serious home organizing as well, so I empathize 😉

    (Btw, I also like your healthy ‘non-Taylor’ request too.. nice space to take a break from all things Mr. Hicks…)

    Meanwhile, the amazing Van Morrison performing “CLEANING WINDOWS” feels like just the right sugar to make the housecleaning medicine go down!
    This is such a great song, and I wouldn’t have found it if not for your post today, Shelley, so thanks for that!:

    Isn’t that sweet? Enjoy, and be well…

  3. Hatson Says:

    Two words………….MERRY MAIDS!

  4. jenfera Says:

    My best tip is to listen to the soundtrack to The Commitments whilst cleaning. Gets your cleaning groove on.

  5. Alison B. Says:

    Great site about cleaning and de-cluttering, garage sales etc. (sidebar includes several topics plus message boards):


  6. Quossum Says:

    FlyLady is the definitive word for cleaning.

    I actually found this “system” through a book called Sink Reflections. Only after reading it did I realize that it was a whole website-based thing first. She has some really sensible principles for cleaning.

    In a very, very brief nutshell, she’s all about decluttering, doing a few things regularly rather than cleaning massively all at one time (though she has a system for that, too, if needed!), and doing things in 15 minute increments. That was a boon for me. You can put up with anything for 15 minutes!

    Give it a read!


  7. Dr. Bob Says:

    Quossom! My sister sent me that link — I liked it very much. It is a nice metaphor for life … do a little every day and you don’t have as many major improvements to do. Unfortunately, now my sister comes to visit with a de-junking gleam in her eye. She is a force of nature, is my sister.

  8. Dr. Bob Says:

    Eeek! Quossum was supposed to have a u, not an o. Sorry!

  9. baby duck Says:

    Maybe Sadie could help you.

  10. Shelley Says:

    Well…we already aerobicize together.

  11. eastonwest Says:

    Oscar Madison here.

    Sorry, can’t help with any cleaning tips. My place isn’t quite Mrs. Haversham’s, ………………………… but close!

  12. Dr. Bob Says:

    Shelley, I thought that we had agreed on no more poodle aerobics!! Yeesh! That memory had mercifully faded.

  13. baby duck Says:

    If no more poodle aerobics, then how about sit-ups?

  14. rowan Says:

    Good for you Shelley and all you de-cluttering divas out there. I soo need to join you in your quest. catch myself standing staring at stuff and getting fed-up about it being where it oughtn’t to be, in the time it would have taken me to put it away or throw it out.

    Phew…I need to de-clutter…my house is just this side of pathological on that score. Imagining I am merely projecting the fact that others will roll their eyes at the amount of stuff abounding, is actually a means of avoiding cleaning, cos they actually ARE rolling their eyes. I try to clear out for folks coming, but there is this omnipresent creaking of cupboards too full about to pop open, settees moved a fraction to reveal toys and books kicked underneath. I could unlock my dvd player and watch US dvds, IF I could find the remote. I found seven remotes, but all for appliances long gone.

    I need a force of nature. Dr Bob – how much does your sister charge? Does she do pro-bono decluttering for those in need of succour overseas? My daughter tells me we just need to call on Mary Poppins. She’s convinced I can track her down, having bent the truth a little and told her I saw the natty nanny floating by with her brolly over the London skline last winter. All backtracking to suggest ity might have been a passing crow flying vertically cut no ice. Mary – if you are out there, come and do your stuff.

    I am all for attempting to summon up much needed endorphins by adopting a cheesy grin from time to time, but I suspect that the unfeasible jollity she extracts from tidying would cause me to feel like booting her off the now uncluttered premises. SHE does not have to break a sweat and get cobwebby and look like she’s not washed her hair if anyone comes to the door. She exists in a finger-snapping parallel universe. And she’s getting paid. from what I remember, she nominated her salary herself. Ah Mary – I have misjudged you. You have broken through the glass ceiling and I am raising my clenched fist in support. Honestly. Don’t back away…you haven’t finished your tea…thought you might get a kick out of doing the washing up. 🙂

  15. rowan Says:

    Shelley – found this quirky vid when you had your classical thread up, and just liked it. Some jazzed-up Viv to clean to! So wish I could play an instrument. They look like they are having so much fun, and from what I can see, may be taking their minds off their clutter for a moment. They look like students, so it is kinda par for the course, but I was hoping to have grown out of it! Have a great productive de-cluttering day.

  16. KD Says:

    Hey Texan!!! Cleaning makes you…………………….

  17. texan Says:


    I have been meaning to re-issue that warning!

    Good thing all these people are so darn cute to start with!


  18. leejolem Says:

    Q, my dh found that book a few years back and loved it (he’s a stay at home dad who is organizationally challenged). He unfortunately hasn’t stayed with the program, but she had some great points. I think the 15 minute idea is great.

    Rowan, doncha think Mary P. might have had a little something else in that spoonful of sugar to help the medicine go down, or maybe the “medicine” was making her so darn chipper. “Spit-spot” my patooty.

    Dr Bob, our sisters must have been separated at birth. She is also a force of nature and loves to organize. When we were little (me 8yrs old, Lori 11yrs) she used to make me clean out our drawers and organize closets over the weekend–that was her idea of fun. I wish I had a tenth of her organizing drive.

    Shelley–good luck!! I recommend a little Heart, Pat Benatar and Meatloaf to get you going. (this is what my husband uses–nothing motivates me to clean).

  19. rowan Says:

    Lee – rofl! You are spot on with the “spit spot.” Yep, she does have a sort of glazed-eyed zeal about her. Maybe she is a cleaningnannybot, programmed to enthuse and to emit force-fields which cause stuff to self-tidy. Perhaps if I borrow your sister and Dr Bob’s (Mary’s too scary) there may be a chance of my clutter mountain receding.

  20. Mr. Reality Says:


    If you’re serious about a top-to-bottom cleaning overhaul, then think of Leeza Gibbons. Why? Because her house is spit-polished spotless and organized to the nth degree (it was featured in IN-STYLE). How can Leeza do it all, balancing career, family, home, and her personal commitment to looking great? Because she is LEEZA and always thinks positive!

  21. Shelley Says:

    from this point forward…any mention of L**z* G*bb*ns will go directly into moderation and will be trashed.
    she’s a hack.

    plus…any woman that holds a “goddess” party for HERSELF when she turns 50 is beyond kooky.

  22. Mr. Reality Says:


    I did not realize that Monkbot was under communist rule. Banning LEEZA talk is an insidious act of iron-fisted censorship. The Internets are supposed to be democratic.

    This could provoke me to leave Monkbot forever!

  23. ivoryhut Says:

    Hey Shelley! And a quick hello to the rest of Monkbotland. Coming out of my bacterial haze (which is now lovingly accompanied by an antibiotic stupor) to say the only three things that came to my mind:

    1. Plastic bins are your friends.
    2. They say yellow flowers inside the house (preferably near the entrance) make a house look more inviting.
    3. They also say you should get rid of everything that makes a home look like it’s your personal space (pictures, mementos, posters, leg warmers sitting by the Xanadu VHS tape, etc.). I don’t think they meant to chuck ’em, but they said prospective buyers want to be able to walk inside and imagine themselves already living there.

    I conclude my brief emergence from this germy existence to add that I do not know who they are, or how they know what they claim to know. For all I know, they could be the other name Mr. Reality uses.

    Que horror.

  24. rowan Says:

    Lol! High-five, Ivory, in spite of microbes and such. Aww, hope you feel much better soon. Your rapier wit is clearly unaffected!

  25. Jules Says:

    I feel for ya Shelley – God knows I’ve been there. The Today show had a little segment this morning on things to do to prep a house for selling. The main thing I got out of it was painting the walls light neutral colors. It made a huge inprovement on the place they had on there. Also before I moved into my place I did the same thing just to basically get rid of the hideous colors that the former owner had. Once I got all my stuff moved in & had been there for a while I decided on colors that fit me, the place & my stuff better. Good luck with everything!!!

  26. Cahaba Lily Says:

    “I just ask that we DON’T discuss Taylor…please…I implore you. There are tons of other places to do that…plus…I’m really not interested in reading about him anymore.”

    ————————————-^Quote from Shelley^———————-

    Thank you for stating that Shelley. I’m still a fan, but enough already. That’s one of the reasons why I quit participating in a lot of blogs and sites llast summer. It just became tiresome after a while.

    Good luck with the cleaning. One of the best ways to super scrub your sinks, tubs, tiles and white laminate counters: wet them down then apply a thin coat of Comet. Let them sit until the Comet completely dries. Then go back and re-wet and lightly scrub. This allows for any tough stains to soak and loosen up, plus it removes any discoloration from cooking and brightens the room up. Smells fresh and clean too when you are finished.

  27. Shelley Says:

    Cahaba Lily…so glad to see you here again. I was thinking about you last week…wondering where you were. 😉

    Thanks for the tip.

    I use Comet…but I don’t think I’ve ever given it a chance to “set” before scrubbing. Sounds like a good thing to try.

  28. Cahaba Lily Says:

    It loosens all the crud and bleaches out any stain. It works better than anything else I’ve ever tried. Plus it’s cheap too. Bonus! 😉

  29. Cahaba Lily Says:

    I’ve been hanging out with Manders and ElvisGoBabe. Click the link of my name. We added you to our Blog-roll. I hope you don’t mind.

  30. Shelley Says:

    don’t mind at all…mighty kind of ya. thanks.

  31. Cahaba Lily Says:

    Moving stinks under the best of circumstances Shelley. It must be horrible for you to have to move because of a personal crisis. That’s the main reason I de-lurked. I wanted to send you some good vibes and well wishes. Also, I am a Realtor. If I can help you in any way. Just e-mail me your questions. I might can help you to navigate through the morass of buy-sell-loans etc. {{{{HUGS}}}}

  32. Julie Says:

    Cahaba mentioned T*yl*r!! Cahaba mentioned T*yl*r!! 😉

    Shel, I’ve always been told by my know-it-all realtors that you must strip the house to its bare minimum before showing it. Bring in some colorful accents (pillows, vases, flowers) and leave the rest very minimal, like a Philip Stark hotel room. And yes, remove any and all personal mementoes. Scented candles are always nice, or at least some of those nice-smelling plug ins. Apparently if you walk into a house and it smells like a rose garden, you are more inclined to make an offer. Go figure.

    I find that decluttering is most easily done if you get a bunch of big boxes, label them (photos, bank stuff, school items) and just walk through the house and dump crap into them. Then place them in the attic until the house is sold. Don’t even think about the stuff, just dump it.

    And how is your garden, btw???

  33. Shelley Says:

    the squash is blooming…the tomatoes are ripening…the okra is growing…the onions are multiplying…the herbs are teaming.

    already begun the “decluttering”…done one and half rooms and have one bag of garbage and two bags for garage sale already.


  34. Hatson Says:

    Now that we are all cleaning(a good thing right), I was thinking about the suggestions of music to clean by, which then led me to think about today’s music. Thanks to Laurita’s tip acouple of days ago I listened and watched Luther VanDross sing “A House Is Not A Home”. It was amazing! It was I think 6:42 second long. He built the song in such an amazing way. We don’t ever get to see artists do that because of time constraints or because everything including music is so fast paced. Are we as listeners losing out? What could some of today’s music be like if that was not true? When I see what Luther did to that song I wonder. I think “Good Vibrations” by the Beach Boy’s is about 9 minutes long. Is AI contributing to the 2 minute sound bite instead of a song?

  35. leejolem Says:

    Shelley, 1&1/2 rooms–you rawk!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! De-cluttering gives me hives. I’m proud of you monkbot sistah!

  36. texan Says:

    Ok does mention of Comet make that song we all learned on the playground spin? Or is it me?

    🙂 Cahaba

  37. Hatson Says:

    Did anyone else use BABO, or am I just old!?

  38. sideways721 Says:

    I’ve had two major house moves in the past 5 years.
    Besides de-personalizing your home so that others can imagine themselves living in it, remember curb appeal. A couple flats of annuals does wonders. Also, new rugs and towels in the bathrooms makes a big difference.

    My favorite cleaning agent is white vinegar and hot water. I do the comet thing too, once it’s in a nice paste it cleans really well.

    Good Luck!

  39. Claire Says:

    Aw, Shelley – if I lived near you, I’d come over and help you clean. And I would accept beer and pizza in lieu of payment for my help 🙂

    Seriously – I’ve been proof-reading a friends thesis for her over the last few days – and I had to go to the optician and get my lens prescription changed today!! Coincidence? I think not.

    Anyone think I should charge HER the 150 Euros my new lenses cost me? LOL.

  40. rowan Says:

    Claire, Shelley – count me in too as a wannabee helper. I would like my payment in pralines, though!

    Good for you, Claire, helping out your friend and reading her thesis. Did you try on any of the coloured lenses? When I was a kid there was this wrestler on tv who had red lenses, which frightened the living daylights out of me. They came to mind as I am tentatively thinking of returning to teaching. I really need contacts. The Progressive Story specs draw curious glances. It is just the thought of touching my eye 😦

    Well-done on your achievements today, Shelley. You’re in my thoughts and prayers.

  41. Cahaba Lily Says:

    “Ok does mention of Comet make that song we all learned on the playground spin? Or is it me?”

    ——————–^Quote by Texan^———————————–

    Comet! Will make your breath smell clean!
    Comet! Will make your teeth turn green!
    Comet! Will make you vomit!
    So try some Comet and vomit today!

    I was trying to avoid this particular mind-worm. Texan is an evil, evil woman. 😉

  42. Cahaba Lily Says:

    “Cahaba mentioned T*yl*r!! Cahaba mentioned T*yl*r!! ”


    I referenced the opening post that Shelley made and my gratitude to her for it. Just the facts Ma’am. ::)

  43. shrewspeaks Says:

    Ah Shelley…cleaning? Don’t do it.

    But if you find that hat can you “Bippity Boppity Boo” away my late nights working? Then maybe I would get to clean….


  44. Dr. Bob Says:

    Good job, Shelley! I find myself in a constant state of flux. I have a garage sale to clear out enough space to clean out the house. I have a garage sale in the blistering heat of summer and nearly perish of heat stroke. I move stuff from the house into the now empty garage and re-fill it. I am afraid of the dead crickets and hairballs and perishing of heat stroke for reals, so I don’t have a garage sale until the house needs de-cluttering. Lather, rinse, repeat.

  45. Dr. Bob Says:

    We need housecleaning playlists. The best one (the one that gets the most housecleaning done) wins!

    (And Rowan, I have it on good authority that you cleared out the terrifying cupboard of doom — you lose your designation as uber-cluttered)

  46. rowan Says:

    I found Kelly Clarkson to be a great help when painting last Winter, so much so that I painted my whole kitchen mango in an hour and a half, to the motivating ‘get out there, gal’ anthems on Breakaway. Okay, she didn’t actually wash brushes and make tea, and stuff, but the vocal angry stamping about blokey negativity she has encountered was pretty inspiring, and gave strength to my painting arm. We sang along at high volume, me feeling edgy, bold, despite shade-choice doubts: she paints her kitchen mango and she’s toough and orriginal and shouts a few fierce yeahs for good measure, whenever her knees are going numb kneeling on the worktop to do the fiddly bits behind the cooker.. Kelly, yer a good cleaning pal.

    Dr Bob – ah, yes, but that cupboard has an evil twin upstairs, as yet unapproached. Amongst many items squished in and locked away when I moved in a year and a half ago, lurks a large broken vcr belonging to my sister and an odd shoe for each and every person in the UK. Oh, and my unworn but extensive colourful Ebay DM collection…

  47. Little Deb Says:

    I’m sort of a clean/organized freak (ocd maybe?). Anyway, I recently discovered “Greased Lightning”. It’s a spray cleaner that cleans everything and gets almost any stain out. It’s the best de-greaser I’ve ever used. I sprayed my barbeque stuff and the grease and gunk literally slid off. You can find spray bottles of it at your grocery store or gallon jugs at Home Depot.

    Another house selling/smell good tip is to put some cinnamon sticks in a pot of water on the stove and just let it simmer. Smells like you’re baking something wonderful.

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