Thursday, July 29, 2010

What to Clean When It's Horribly Hot Inside Your Home

What I'm enjoying burning in my kitchen this week: Verbena Summer Secret candle, from L'Occitane

My house, like so many in Seattle, doesn't have air conditioning. We only need it a couple weeks a year, usually in late August when we finally hit the high 90s or even 100s for a few days. The rest of the summer, we make do with fans and open windows. Luckily we don't have humid, sticky summers like the South or East.

Even in the 80s the last week or so, it's been too miserable to think about doing heavy housekeeping that might make one break a sweat: Vacuuming, for example, is banned until evening. Today I'm finding things to do around the house that won't make me miserable in the heat.


  • Need to water any indoor or outdoor plants? My basil and a potted hydrangea are looking a bit wilty today.

  • Need to return any library books, DVD rentals, or items borrowed from friends today?

  • How is your stock of sunscreen doing now that we're over halfway through the summer? Need to wipe off your sunscreens if they're getting gunky?

  • If you have school-aged children, have you done something special and summery with them this week? If not, see if you can plan something extra fun for next week.

  • Need to launder any picnic blankets or beach towels that have been used this week?

TODAY'S PROJECT: Cleaning Despite the Heat

I don't live to clean, and I don't like to make myself "makework" or "busywork." I'd much rather lounge around on my patio with a magazine and iced tea when it's this hot, than be indoors cleaning. But if I don't keep on top of my housework, my home will quickly become a disaster zone.

So today I'm doing chores that won't break a sweat. I'll put off vacuuming til later tonight (with four pets in the house, vacuuming is a daily necessity in the living room and family room; and an every-other-day task in the bedrooms and hallways). Here are my suggestions for things you can do when it's miserably hot:

  • Dust! Flounce around in a cute sundress, glass of lemonade in one hand, dusting your dining table, coffee tables, end tables, nightstands, and bookshelves. As long as you don't scrub too hard, you won't work up a sweat. Save the baseboards for another time, as all that crawling around on the floor would get you too sweaty.

  • Wash windows. Spraying a little Windex and wiping down windows won't be too unpleasant as long as you don't work too vigorously.

  • Loading and unloading the dishwasher isn't too sweat-producing. Just be sure not to run the dishwasher until later tonight - mine heats up the kitchen counter and adjacent area.

  • Wiping down the kitchen sink (without too much scrubbing) and counters isn't too taxing.

  • Use the excuse of cleaning the fridge or freezer out, to stand in front of heavenly cold air for fifteen minutes or so.

  • Fold laundry while watching TV in front of a powerful fan.

  • Declutter a drawer, cupboard, or closet.

  • Start a load of laundry, but wait to run the dryer til evening when it's cooler.

  • Sort out cosmetics, shampoos, and lotions, getting rid of items likely to be unused in the next month.

  • Arrange a sock or underwear drawer, sorting and decluttering as you go.

What other hot-weather cleaning ideas do you have?


A blog by an artist and photographer, featuring art, design, and photography. Currently featuring Sweet William, Cathy Nichols, and some wonderful photography from the Creative Challenge Group. Lots of lovely things to see here.

LOVELY DISHES: Le Creuset Dinnerware

I am not a Le Creuset collector, as I haven't yet found room in my budget for their expensive, high-quality cookware. But I'm still excited to see their new dinnerware collections, currently available in cobalt and Kiwi. Gorgeous!

LOVELY DRINKS: Eat, Pray, Love Tea

I'm allergic to cinnamon, so I won't be able to try the new Republic of Tea's "Eat, Pray, Love" tea. But what a fabulous gift it will make for a couple of my girlfriends who loved the book and are looking forward to the movie! The new tea is a black tea, flavored with blood orange and cinnamon.


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Blackberry Kir Royale Recipe (CHOW)

Gluten-Free Cupcakes and Frosting (Today Show)

Paris in August (National Geographic Traveler)

Summer Table Accessories (New York Times)

Top 10 North American Train Trips (National Geographic Traveler)

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