Crumbs in the cutlery drawer, or what’s so funny about cleaning the kitchen?

Right – my sister says my blog posts are rather melancholy and nostalgic, so instead of the piece on retro sweets I had in mind to write, I thought I would try to show a more humorous and  less wistful side to my nature. However, I have been hampered in my attempts at frivolity, as this weekend is the last before we swap houses with my brother-in-law Chris and his family for a two week holiday. Time has therefore been set aside to do some cleaning. The house is filthy. When Chris said ‘Don’t worry, we will take it as we find it’ we know he didn’t actually mean he was OK to turn up after a 6 hour drive from Suffolk and scrape the fat out of the bottom of the grill pan, or pull all Evie’s long brown hair out of the bath plughole. He probably wouldn’t want us to leave all those crumbs in the cutlery draw or be happy to solve one of those endless puzzles to untangle the jumble of saucepans in the big draw that never quite closes properly. Why does our kitchen get in such a mess, when what little housework done in our home revolves around cleaning it?

Examining the freezer I find it holds sufficient ice to maintain a whole family of polar bears, and there are bits of frozen stuff embedded in it. They may at one time have been blackberries, peas or oven chips, but now they more closely resemble frostbitten body parts. I know Chris’s children – all under ten – are fond of the occasional fish finger and I can hardly tape the door shut, so a full-scale defrost is called for. Get the sandbags out.

I have to admit my role so far has been restricted to 1) making sure my husband, who doesn’t know a lemon zester from an item of  medieval torture, won’t throw any sure-to-be-useful-sometime implements, or sentimental clutter away (he has volunteered to do lots of the yucky bits and I would hate to fall out with him over a 20 year old champagne cork)and 2) emptying the store cupboards to make sure no small mammals are living in the ancient bags of nuts and flour. Sell by dates come round so quickly don’t they?  For a woman who very rarely leaves anything resembling food uneaten for more than a day I am surprised and ashamed to say I did find:

  • 1 box raspberry jelly dated Nov 2007
  • 1 bottle HP sauce which looked suspiciously as if it had been produced pre the introduction of best before dates
  • 1 glued up old tin of Golden Syrup cemented firmly to the shelf. As there were much more recent purchases of the same gloop in front of it, I had clearly been too lazy to try to chisel it off, possibly sometime in the last century. (That is a complete fabrication of course, simply for effect. We had a new kitchen two years ago, but you get my drift).

I also found I have two tins of chick peas that need eating by next week, an unlabelled jar of an unidentifiable cook-in sauce (it has green bits in it?) and enough mulled wine spices to last me for a decade. Roll on Christmas.

Now,  I am sure our house is nothing like a holiday cottage, so it doesn’t get a weekly clean from top to toe.  But there are things to compensate for that; it does at least feel like a home. We are a family of four but we have more than the bare necessities you get in a week long let, and apart from the odd bargain item from Lakeland that I have taken out of the packet and forgotten its purpose, most of the things are at least vaguely useful. There isn’t a toast rack or a novelty lemon squeezer in the place, and we have loads of teaspoons, plenty of (mismatching) crockery and more tea towels than you can mop the floor with. How often do you go on hols and find there is half a loo roll to last the whole family till the next big shop, or no washing powder, washing up liquid, tin foil or J cloths? We buy these every week – we use them so rarely (excluding the loo rolls I hasten to add) that we are never sure whether we have any to hand. The cupboard under the sink is like the Household Goods aisle in Sainsbury’s.

Anyway, as you can tell from the very fact that I am writing this blog, prevarication is once more the order of the day. I am now working on the basis that leaving the cleaning to the last-minute is MUCH the best idea. In six days who knows what horrors could take up residence? And besides, Peter has taken three days off work this week to help get the house ready. Think how much he, I mean we, can get done in that time?

Photo of J Cloth HoskingIndustries I am afraid the cutlery drawer is all my own..

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23 Responses to Crumbs in the cutlery drawer, or what’s so funny about cleaning the kitchen?

  1. Jane Earthy says:

    It’s not prevarication, its leaving it all to Peter……..

  2. Lynne Earthy says:

    Excellent Suzie, love it !!!

  3. Sue Noble says:

    Dear oh dear Suzanne, In all the years I have known you, you have preferred reading and writing to doing the essential household chores. I have found the best (and usually the only time) I get to have a mad 1 hour doing the chores is to invite friends and other work associates around. Our friends came over last night for an impromptu meal and the previous hour was spent scrubbing the tidemarks off the bath, washing the kitchen cupboards and frantically running the Dyson around the house. But the best bit was that today the house looks pristine and I could relax in the knowledge that it probably won’t need doing for another week. Have you thought about (a) investing in a local cleaner ? (b) spending less time on bloggs and doing a bit more aorund the house? If you think I am houseproud you should meet my friend Alison. Now there is one obsessive house cleaner.
    Top tips
    1. Do a bit each day
    2. Wipe the kitchen cupboards over whilst you are waiting for the potatoes to cook
    3. Clean the bits out of the cutlery drawer whilst most of the knives and forks are in the dishwasher
    4. Ask the family to clean the bath after use (I agree, this does not work)
    5. Use those bathroom wipes to quickly clean the loo (but don’t flush down the loo as it clogs up the sewage system)
    6. Do one room per day
    7. Don’t bother with housework and go and write another blog

    Must go and relax. Cleaning all done. Oops, my halo has slipped.


  4. I think housework is over-rated myself! Great post, made me grin a lot!

  5. sally snaddon says:

    Here!Here! Downstairs has to be clean, tidy and safe (childminder speaking), but upstairs – my bedroom – dumping ground for everything – Hoover upstairs???? need a double garage for storage and organisation at least, to obtain serenity in the house

    • keatsbabe says:

      It’ awful isn’t it? You just end up shifting stuff from one room to the other. Oh for an extra room to stick everything in and just close the door..!

  6. Jane Earthy says:

    Actually, I have just done some washing, and I even did a bit of ironing the other week! And remember, the kitchen floor only needs cleaning when you start to stick to it!

  7. Phil Furneaux says:

    I feel personally unable to comment on housework. I have seldom contemplated it, mainly because, where some people would marry into money, I married into Marigolds. Even living in rented accommodation, the place is like a new pin (and much cleaner than when we moved in!) Hats off to Mrs F.

    Linked to this, of course, is the fact that an impending visit from Mrs F is sufficient for you to give the house a ‘deep clean’ in the manner of an MRSA ravaged NHS hospital. I’m pleased to see that Chris & Catherine get the same treatment!

  8. keatsbabe says:

    So when are you and Mrs F coming? Make sure it is while the house is still clean!! x

  9. Pingback: After pushing the publish button… | No more wriggling out of writing woman…

  10. Sarah says:

    Great post. This is hilarious.

  11. kathleen says:

    How nice to find someone who has the same kitchen issues…I feel your pain. I find procrastination to be the only solution..because really who knows what could happen if you cleaned it earlier than needed? It would just get messy all over again..:) I’m over from blog gems..

  12. Jean says:

    I find watching an episode of Kim and Aggie makes me feel almost virtuous! There are days when only napalm and a JCB will tackle the mess in my house. I find drinking tea and reading blogs helps me get over it!

  13. Jean says:

    (p.s I popped over from Jen’s Gems xxx)

  14. Hello i am over from Blog Gems *waves*
    great post which made me smile….. Possibly because i can relate to some of it’s content! I desperately need to give all my kitchen cupboards and drawers a good clear out and spring clean but is impossible to find the time at the moment! I have to confess that i also have crumbs in my cutlery drawer 😦

  15. I can’t face my pantry. Can’t. But I know it’ s not as bad as my parents – there’s stuff in there with a sell-by date of somewhere about mid-last-century.

  16. Laurie says:

    And was the cleaning reciprocated 🙂
    I too am over from Blog Gems

  17. Jen says:

    You have no idea how relieved I am to read this, I was nodding furiously the whole way through. I don’t think it is just you but I do hope you got it sorted out and got away on your hols. Loved the lemon zester/torture reference, reminds me of my husband!! Jen

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