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The zen of cleaning

My attitude towards cleaning, or more precisely, house cleaning, has always been that it's a necessary evil. Long ago in Houston, I called my mother to complain that I was spending an entire weekend cleaning my loft apartment. I asked for permission to hire a cleaner.

My mom gave me her approval, saying that professional cleaners not only do it better but faster. Considering my hourly rate in those days, it was definitely worth hiring a cleaner to free up my time for leisure and errands. My next door neighbour told me it was a way to reward myself at the end of the working week, to come home to a clean place.

Nowadays, my hourly rate depends on the task at hand. As the builder's assistant, I clean to allow the house renovation process to continue at an efficient pace.

Instead of treating cleaning as a boring and distasteful task, I actually find myself enjoying the ritual and the feeling of accomplishment. The Japanese call it zen. Westerners call it an art. I call it a science.

What is so special about cleaning? It requires patience. It requires the right attitude to enjoy it. Most importantly, the task follows a step by step process.

First you assess the situation. What needs to be cleaned? How long would it take? What do I start with? What is the end result I want?

Then you get the right tools: sponge, cleaning liquid, brush, broom, pan, hoover, rags, etc.

As a pianist, I always wear rubber gloves to protect my hands and fingers. [When I'm not cleaning, I wear leather gloves to go outside.]

The only bad thing about cleaning is that the heavenly state of cleanliness is only temporary, for the law of entropy and Murphy's Law dictate that everything will become a mess again. So enjoy it while you can.

14 October 2003 Tuesday

Looking for Mr Squeegy
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Anne Ku

writes about her travels, conversations, thoughts, events, music, and anything else that is interesting enough to fill a web page.