The Cottage Smallholder

stumbling self sufficiency in a small space

Happy Christmas cleaning

dustpan and brushChristmas and Easter are flagged as reorganisation opportunities here in the cottage. No matter how frenetic our lives and projects are, we always take a few days off. Treasured days. On the run up to the holidays I politely explain to my client that they will not be seeing me for a couple of days before the festivities begin.

This is when we Christmas clean or Easter clean the cottage. We seem to miss out on the traditional Spring clean.

We discover how much wildlife is coexisting with us in the far outreaches of the cottage rooms. Woodlice, spiders, and earwigs rub along with slugs and snails. I have spotted the evidence of the latter but never accompanied a mollusc out of the cottage to date. The spiders panic, generally running towards the vacuum cleaner. Feeling terrible at destroying their habitats, I switch off the vacuum cleaner and give them 15 minutes to pack their bags and leave. A great excuse for a tea break.

We also uncover important items that have been lost for months. Little piles of individual socks that can return to their bereft partners in Danny’s sock drawer. Today I uncovered a cheque book, lost for months, and Jalopy’s papers. Wonderful discoveries as I need to tax my old pal at the end of December. I also found my sunspecs. Missed all summer and worried about as they are optical quality and cost £150. Christmas is the time for families to come together but here it is a time when we reunite with so many lost things.

Once the main rooms have been transformed from workshops to reception rooms we examine other areas that need attention. I am now working on the cupboard under the sink – for weeks now, there has been an avalanche of pans and containers each time we open its doors.

The two days of clearing and cleaning are fun. Suddenly there is time to fix the little things that have niggled for months. And for the few days of the holiday we have a cottage that looks just like a normal cottage where real people live rather than a place inhabited by two hobos.

When my mum arrives on Christmas Eve, she likes it too!

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  1. Fiona Nevile

    Hi Mildred

    That’s a great idea. Thanks for sharing!

    Hi Louisa,

    I didn’t know that either. But then I am not the world™s most enthusiastic cleaner! I love cleaning tips, thanks.

  2. I love the idea of sharing cleaning tips mildred did you know that toothpaste also gets curry stains off kitchen worktops.

  3. Mildred

    I was just cleaning the bath and thought we could maybe share our cleaning tips here!?

    I clean the cast iron bath with Boots Tooth Whitening Toothpaste! I use a damp cloth to apply it, rubbing where there are any marks, then rinse the bath and dry it off. You don’t need a lot, a big tube lasts ages!

    It doesn’t scratch and as well as smelling a lot nicer than a horrid chemical cleaner (and don’t go anywhere near a cast iron bath with bleach) it polishes the bath up very nicely.

  4. Fiona Nevile

    Hi Amalee,

    I hope that you had a wonderful Christmas!

    We are a bit pushed for time here. Whilst D and my mum snoozed after Christmas lunch I felt compelled to tidy the other cupboard under the sink! Have been longing to do it for months – marvellous.

  5. amalee issa

    LOL. Whilst my cupboard-under-the-sink is tidy and half empty, the same could not be said for the basket-under-the-sink in the downstairs bathroom. So that’s what I cleaned out the weekend before Christmas… I think it’s the law, isn’t it? You have to tidy the entire house before Christmas Eve! Happy Christmas, cottage smallholders.


  6. Fiona Nevile

    Hi Mildred,

    I reckon that Christmas is a good time for a bit of a sort out. Suddenly our focus is on the home rather than away from it.

    Hi Kate,

    I so agree. Candles and brass go so well together. Hope that you are having a great Christmas.

    Hi nà,

    Hope that you are having a great Christmas too!

    Hi Pat,

    I hate cleaning out the cupboard under the sink but it’s lovely when it’s done and nothing falls out when I open the doors.

  7. Okay now you have done it. I was planning on a different day altogether and now I have this feeling that I must go clean the cupboard under the sink!!! Brian is partial to the spiders so I let him keep his pets as long as they aren’t too large!!!

  8. Oh the joys of the Christmas clean…I only polish brass once a year, tonight is the night it happens, I hate doing it, but it does look so nice lit by candles. Have a lovely Christmas!

  9. heeheehee, you sound very busy too!!! at least you find it fun! there is much confusion around the house here too, if the two of you need something else to tidy!!!
    have a great time! happy christmas and new year to you both and your mum…oh, and the animals too!!!

  10. I took last years ‘decorations’ down the other day . . . a full 12 months of cobwebs strung from beam to beam!

    The cottage is quite dark so we don’t notice them but I came indoors wearing my ‘headlight’ after a walk the other night and there they were, twinkling in the beam of the bright light!

    We do other yearly jobs too. Ian has just cleaned the washing machine filter – clogged up with guinea pig fur, there was almost enough to knit a new piggy for Christmas! (NO! we don’t out the piggies IN the washer, just their bedding)!

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