Re-In-Stalling.

ladies-room-signsSince I know you’re probably dying to know how my office women’s restroom signs are doing, I thought I’d give you this little update:  it’s not looking good.  Actually, I take that back.  The signs are still going strong in all most of the stalls, as you can see in the pic on the left above.  But in one stall the sign has flopped over and not one bathroom-goer has attempted to fix it!  Guess I’ll be hitting up the ladies room with some scotch tape this week.  Remind me at the end of this post to tell the story about the last time I had to bring office supplies into a bathroom stall with me…

But back to the present day bathroom issues.  You probably don’t recall (if you do you have way too much time on your hands) that I also requested that our facilities department fix the lack of hooks on several stall doors.  It’s a really annoying thing to go into the bathroom really having to pee only to then see that there is no hook on the door for your stuff and then you have to unlock the door, go to the next stall, pray it has hooks, and if that one doesn’t boy you’re in trouble.  You get the point.  Needless to say they have not been replaced.  Very disappointing, facilities.  Verrrry disappointing.  So I’ll be following up on that this week too.

And there you have it.  That’s literally what I’m up to this week.  Is that sad?  Don’t answer that.

And now here’s the part where I reward you for reading this update with an embarrassing personal story about yours truly:  The year was 2006.  I was working as an audit associate for a big scary firm that shall remain unnamed.  I was wearing black “Editor” pants by Express (they were my faves).  I went to the ladies room at some point in the afternoon, only to realize I could see the floor through my pants when I sat down.

“That’s odd,” I thought.  Upon closer examination I realized my pants had ripped at some point during the day from front to back.  No joke.  Entire crotch inseam was wide open.  With several long hours to go at work and no chance at being able to go home to change pants, I needed to fix the situation pronto.  So I did what any resourceful young auditor would do – I wrapped my cable knit v-neck sweater around my waist (standard attire back then was sweater over a button down – standard), went back to the audit room, told everyone what just happened, and grabbed the stapler to take it back to the ladies room among screams of “Do NOT bring that back in here!”.  The tricky part was stapling my pants together without anyone wondering what the heck I was doing in there.  But that was nothing a loud throaty fake cough couldn’t cover up: Aaahheeeeghhhmmm.  Staple. Staple. Staple.  AhhheeGGGGMM. Staple.  In fact my performance was so good, a nice lady called back at me from the sink that I sound terrible and to take care of that cough.  Lord knows what she really thought I was doing in there.

But staple-mending my pants worked pretty well actually.  I almost forgot about the whole situation until I brought them to the dry cleaner the following week who looked at me like I was crazy.  And little did I know back then in my young, work-hard-play-hard audit days that in just 7 short years I’d be bringing office supplies back into the ladies room as a mature, working mom.  Ha.  Real mature.  NOT.

 

Stalling.

Womens Room Sign 1

I did something a little crazy.  Or, a lot crazy.  Depends on how you feel about making over the ladies room on your office floor.  Yep.  That’s just what I did.  But let me back up a bit first and explain myself…

I work in an amazingly spectacular skyscraper.  It is the 15th tallest building in the country and at one point was the tallest LEED-certified building as well (I believe that has changed since we moved there in 2008, but I could be wrong).  It’s totally sappy that I’m gushing about our building, but it’s really an amazing place to work.  It’s beautiful, it’s modern, it’s environmentally conscious, and it’s [usually] very clean.  It’s also often taken for granted since it is, after all, a place of work.  Nowhere is this more evident than the 36th floor ladies room.  To put it bluntly, it’s as if potty-training preschoolers use it.  I’m not kidding.  The room is consistently trashed.  And it’s a gorgeous bathroom!  We have granite countertops!  Over the past few months the hooks on the back of half the stall doors have also fallen off, so we’re forced to either put our things on the floor (ew), or on the counter by the sinks (wet).

At some point our facilities department decided to hang these generic signs on the doors asking us to keep the place a little neater and to alert them if anything funky is going on.  The signs were haphazardly slapped up on the stall doors with small pieces of tape, and are now curling up at the edges or ripping.  They just make the stalls look worse, and they seem to motivate more trashing.  It drives me nuts.

So last week I took matters into my own hands.  I emailed facilities and asked them to get on the hook re-install pronto.  (I actually said it significantly nicer…and there might have been a friendly emoticon).  And I made new signs for the stalls, laminated them, and hung them up neatly on the backs of each door.  Check out the before and after pics below.  Looks a lot better right?

Bathroom Sign Before-After

So yeah, I realize I’m borderline insane, but our nice clean building deserves the TLC.  And hopefully the mystery bathroom sprucer upper will inspire the ladies room bandits to clean up their act.  And after themselves.

Faking It.

How to fake clean your home

Yep.  Guilty.  I totally “fake clean” my house, and I love it.  And actually, it’s really not anything to be ashamed of.  I’m sure many of you do the same, or worse, you don’t even fake clean.  Although my idea of heaven is taking a shower in a sparkling bathroom, putting on crisp clean PJ’s, and getting into bed with newly washed sheets every single night, reality is that there are too many other things in life that require my time and attention that it’s not possible to be constantly cleaning every room in my house.  Even before A came along it was a stretch to find the time to do a good deep cleaning each week.  So I’ve always done it every 4-6 weeks, with weekly “fake cleaning” in between.  It’s really easy; my weekly tasks take about 30-40 minutes in total and could still be pared down from that, if needed.  And the best part is that I don’t waste an entire day cleaning my house, meaning more time to spend with A, B, and KP, more time to go on long runs, more time to catch up on lost sleep, and more time for organizing!  Well, the last one probably isn’t always true, but you get the gist – giving yourself a break now and then means more time for doing other things that are meaningful and enjoyable to you.  And even I will admit that’s way more important in life than having a gleaming white toilet.

Here are the things I (try) to do every weekend.  And I don’t necessarily do them all at once.  For example, when I know I’ll be away for a weekend I’ll take 5-10 minutes a night during the week to do some of them.  And depending on the amount of human and/or animal residents in your house, there may be other things that you choose to do in between deep cleanings.  But these are my regular weeklies:

1. Pick up / straighten up in each room.  I do this in one big sweep through the house, starting in our kitchen.  It sounds like a lot but really it does not take more than a 1-2 minutes each room!  Kitchen: put food away in fridge/pantry, dirty dishes in sink or dishwasher and clean dishes in cupboards.  Living room: re-stack magazines on coffee table into neat piles, put randomly strewn items back in their places or toss into baskets, put important papers from the week together in a safe place and discard/shred what isn’t needed.  Bed & Bath rooms: put clean laundry away and dirty laundry in hamper, put out fresh towels and dirty ones in the hamper as well.  Also put items lying around back where they belong, or toss into a drawer so they don’t create clutter and gather dust (which then requires more cleaning!).

2. Disinfect Kitchen/Bathroom surfaces.  For this I rely on one of my two favorite “Power Tools” (pictured above): Lysol Dual Action Disinfecting Wipes.  These double-sided wipes are such a time saver.  One side provides regular disinfecting action and the other is textured with mini scrubbers that attack more serious messes.  They really can be used anywhere in the home and do just as good a job as the old spray-and-scrub routine, in significantly less time.  I use them to clean up the kitchen every night, and I leave a container of them under the bathroom sinks to do quick weekly scrub downs of all surfaces (counter, sink, toilet seat and rim, tub, and even walls/floors if needed).  Side note: I cannot take credit for finding these fancy wipes.  My sister-in-law turned me on to them at her shore house a few summers ago and was equally excited about their awesomeness.  She digs neat things too.  You know you have problems when you both gift cleaning supplies to one another at Christmas…

3. Vacuum heavily used rooms.  This is where Power Tool #2 comes into play: my Miele Olympus Canister Vacuum.  Aside from having great suction, this vacuum has an adjustable height handle that swivels well enough to maneuver the tight spots in our house, it is exceptionally lightweight (which is key because we have 3 flights of narrow, twisty steps), and it stores away nicely in the one and only (very) small utility closet I have in the kitchen.  Vacuuming weekly will help keep dirt, dust and grime from accumulating too much on your floors in between major cleanings, and really does help everything look a whole lot cleaner.

And that’s it.  Three steps to a fake clean home and a real happy you!