Tools of the trade


I’ve been thinking about my utility belt, the one I made a few years ago because housekeeping just kinda needs a gimmick, don’t you think? But really, the reason I remembered it was because I made a vine about it. And Vine is dead, it’s true, but Vine compilations live on and are on constant stream in our house. When I recently mentioned to my 14-year-old twins that I made a Vine, they were incredulous! Their very own mom made an actual real Vine?!?!?And then I remembered that one of them had actually taken the video for me, so really they’d made a Vine!!!!!!!! The group text with their friends exploded with this news, and when I dug up the link in this post and sent it, I thought the “bing-bing” of text notifications would drive me mad. So here it is: the historic post with the historic Vine (from 2014.) *

Housekeeping is a job that is all about the tools. I don't have a tool belt, but I was thinking Batman is probably onto something. I started to fantasize what I would put in my tool belt. Actually, Batman's is called a utility belt and has it's own Wikipedia entry. While Batman, like me, relies on tools be a superhero, he fills his belt with stuff like batarangs and smoke pellets, here's what I would have in mine.

A razor

If you have stone counter tops or if you are really adventurous about any other surface, the best cleaning tool I have found is the razor. Just a regular old razor. It gets  every splash of dried on ice cream drip of sticky honey or anything right off of the counter with no spray, no water no nothing. I got this tip from the guy who installed our counters, and it has saved me many a time.

Apple cider vinegar

It would be easier to list what this powerhouse does not do. It does not know what is going on in Game of Thrones. There. That's it.

It does, however, get rid of fruit flies, help start your digestive system in the morning (if you don't have a sensitive gag reflex. Otherwise it's just a whole 'nother digestive issue). It also clears up acne and gets rid of leg cramps! It can unclog your drain and clean carpet stains! You gotta have some on hand.

Stain Stick

This thing is not the multi tasker of previous entries, but it does one thing really well. It gets stains out of clothes that have already been in the dryer. If you don't do laundry this may not seem italics worthy, but believe me, it is. Also, why are you reading this blog? And who does your laundry? Go tell them about this thing. Early on in my relationship with my now-husband, I borrowed a sweatshirt of his and wore it to dinner with my in-laws. I promptly got grease stains on it that my mother-in-law was subsequently unable to get out. Because my mother-in-law is basically the original housekeeping superstar, I knew that if she couldn't do it, no one could. I even have a stash of favorite clothes I've been saving with post-dryer grease stains on them that I figured I would keep in the hope that technology would one day catch up (kind of like Walt Disney's head and cryogenics). That day has come! And that stain stick has a place in my utility belt.

Okay, true confession, I ran out of stuff after this. So I asked around, and there were some interesting suggestions.

Heather said she'd like Stretch Armstrong (or Elastigirl) style arms for collecting far-flung detritus. And she wants eyes on them. Very practical but a little problematic because A) Batman and I don't have superpowers, or even want them in fantastical utility belt scenarios. Keep your superhero mythos straight, girl! and B) We'd have to work a way so that the eyes don't get constantly poked by said detritus. I think I would, as Heather suggests, save a place on the belt for a wine glass holster. Though mine would me maybe something more suited to mixed drinks because I don't like wine.

Paula, whose drinking habits more align to mine, said "Whiskey and baking soda, but don't drink the baking soda." Which is a fair warning if whiskey is involved.

My friend Jaime said her daughter loves toothpicks for cleaning. I have asked for a tutorial.

My friend Christine brought up Swiffer. Swiffer. It's pretty good. To be honest, there's a lot of Swiffer in my pantry that hasn't seen the light of day since we let the cleaning lady go. On a related note, there are also softball sized dust balls in most corners of the house. And actual softballs.

Colleen says that she gets a lot of use out of the Borax she bought to make slime for the science fair. I have a similar box we used to make crystals grow for our science fair project last year. I think it's good to do something laundry detergent does not? Brighten or similar. Also I have heard it can be used to deter bugs in some way. Will try it.

Kris says Mr. Clean Magic Eraser because as she says "I put that shit on everything." Which is just the kind of thing you'd want in your utility belt. I do use the magic eraser for any sort of fingerprint or smudge on walls, and it does work almost magically.

Finally, Lisa says she uses Krud Kutter and ear plugs. To the latter I say "Hells to the yes!" housekeeping is loud, loud work! Who needs to hear any of it? I should have also added that one of the things necessary to any sort of mobile cleaning (vacuuming) is my iPhone, a podcast and some earbuds.  As to the former, I had to look that one up.

This is what the website says:

It's simple. We believe cleaners should be tough on krud, but gentle on nature. Krud Kutter safely removes the toughest stains and everyday messes that most “all-purpose” cleaners can’t touch - grime, grease, pet stains, and crayons. It even removes dried latex paint and permanent marker.

Oh my god. Crayons?! Permanent Marker?!

It's definitely in!

PS I made a vine that shows the whole utility belt. And I just don't feel like taking this thing off!

The link is not that reliable, Vine being dead and all. So here’s a link to the original post, and the vine is embedded at the bottom.

*FYI Mom: A Vine is the product of a now defunct social media platform on which people posted seven second videos.