Friday, June 29, 2007


This is the lighting fixture in the middle of the room which is too high for me to reach. I attempted to vacuum it a few times by standing on the sofa but can't reach more than one side and that attempt was relatively ineffective regardless. Before the new carpet goes in, I'm going to pursue cleaning this again though I probably won't have much success unless I grow taller or buy a step ladder (which I'm unwilling to do).

Note: Edited July 1, 2007 to add in a few pictures.

I've been working on cleaning my living room a little at a time in preparation for my big furniture swap next Monday. While I vacuum the open spaces two or three times a week and dust all the visible surfaces, there are plenty of spaces which I never see or can't reach. I'm sure this is the case for a lot of people though perhaps they are more meticulous about moving things and cleaning under or around them than I. However, they don't live in a shoe box apartment with no place to move anything.

Yesterday, I pulled out the sofa and vacuumed behind it and you'd expect your outdoor patio furniture to look if you had ignored it for 5 years and if you had it set up near a busy road. I'm guessing this is in large part because the glass doors behind the sofa are open almost all the time except in the coldest part of winter or the hottest part of summer. The back of the sofa is probably exposed to the outdoors 300 days of the year, possibly more. Tons of dust comes in through that window and it has been piling up back there for years now. Oddly though, the back of the sofa itself is clean and only the carpet and floor seem to be affected.

The dirt behind the sofa is pretty much my fault since I could probably have been making an effort to pull it out and vacuum back there regularly but I am just not that ambitious. It's often said that the Japanese only worry about the cleanliness of their immediate surroundings and will litter or dirty other areas without a second thought. With Americans, I sometimes think that we are more careful about other areas than we are sometimes about our own homes but I guess it'd be presumptuous for me to speak on behalf of anyone other than myself.

The area that is worse and not so much my fault is behind the tall cabinets pictured above. They are too heavy and difficult to move for the sake of cleaning. I haven't pulled them all out yet but I did remove the drawers on the far right and thick dust seems to be crawling up the wall starting from the bottom up. All the dust that falls down the crack between the wall and cabinet is merrily sliding down the wall and getting stuck at the bottom. I guess the dust doesn't realize there's no ladder to climb back up to the top once it's made the trip down.

The top of the shelves don't look pretty. You can see where I attempted to vacuum some of the accumulated dust (the random scraping marks in the dust) but the height of the shelves is too high for me to manipulate the handle of the vacuum in any way that is effective. You can also see just the top of where the dust slide down the wall starts.

Today, I vacuumed the walls in half the room then sponged them down. I'm not sure they look any cleaner but they actually are cleaner (theoretically) regardless of how they appear. I also cleaned all the visible wood trim including the ledge under the new air conditioner. When I was sponging it off, I noticed that a fine white powder was being picked up as I wiped along the ledge. There was so much that it cascaded from the ledge to the sofa at one point (the sponge couldn't catch it all, it seems). Upon closer inspection, I saw that there was actually a little mountain of this white stuff near the far right side of the air conditioner.

It seems that the guy who installed the air conditioner drilled the hole in the wall but didn't do anything to clean up the debris created while he drilled. He just left tons of it up there including a pile that, from his viewpoint doing the installation, he couldn't have missed given that it was about w inches high at its peak. I guess the Japanese reputation for service and thoroughness takes another hit on this one.

I'm pleased to say all the cleaning that can possibly be done before the move is now done. The hard part is ahead of me, of course, but some of the most unpleasant part is over.


CMUwriter said...

I agree, when i moveed out of my townhouse a little more than a year ago the area under my bed and couch was essentially clean, meaning that it was devoid of things other than dust. The best part about moving stuff around is you sometimes find long forgotten or missing items.

tornados28 said...

I am not sure if it is widespread, but in some Japanese homes I have stayed in, they of course clean the floors on a daily basis but up higher on cabinets etc., they rarely clean and there are piles of dust.

Roy said...

I was hoping to see photos of the alleged "crud"

Shari said...

cmuwriter: I found a ton of crap I'd forgotten about about 2 years ago when I moved the bedroom furniture around. There was so much crap under there that I vowed not to use the area under the bed for anything other than purposeful storage again. On the bright side, I did find some Kliban ink stamps that we sold on eBay for a decent amount of money. ;-)

tornados28: I'm glad to know I'm not the only one. The top of my cabinets are a nightmare but I can't reach them even now. I'm guessing I'll have to get to them when I can tip them over after emptying them out.

Roy: Ah, that would be so incredibly embarrassing for me as a female. ;-) Actually, I regretted not getting a shot of the mountain of drilling-related dust but it's hard to stop and take photos once you've finally psyched yourself up for doing a huge cleaning job.

Unfortunately, I realized there was more to do yesterday and today - washing the windows and the woodwork and tracks in front of them, attempting to clean the light fixture. I'll try to take a few pictures for your sake and add them into the post.

Many thanks to all for the comments! It's always appreciated.