Seven Spring Cleaning Tips from Small Countries

Switzerland could win awards as the tidiest nation on earth.  As a compact country, the Swiss are born with an extra chromosome, a clean gene, to help conserve space. The streets are so sanitary, you could  eat off the sidewalks. I have never been a neat freak, but I have adopted a few helpful spring cleaning tips from our European neighbors.

  1. No shoes in the house. Ever. The Swiss are trained at an early age to automatically remove footwear at the door.
  2. Commune rule. Divide heavy tasks with household members on a rotational basis.   When I lived in an apartment complex in Germany, the residents on each floor took turns mopping the stairwell.  Same rules should apply in a family.
  3. Cut down laundry. Throw bedding out the window for a weekly breather.  Europeans, great believers in the curative properties of fresh air,  hang duvets over wrought iron balconies and wooden framed window ledges.
  4. Recycle bread crumbs (another French custom) Shake table cloths out the window.  First make sure pigeons, not people, inhabit the balcony below.
  5. Eliminate dust. Triple stack books on the shelves, that way there is no shelf left to collect grime.
  6. Clean sweep.  Push-everything-under-the bed-trick.  It’s a great storage area for books, essays, newspapers, laptops, and used Kleenex. Technique also works well in the living room using space between the couch and floor as magic drawer. (another personal invention)
  7. If all else fails, follow my Norwegian mom’s wise advice – hide the incriminating evidence, (including children):
    • Move the messy kid to the basement
    • Close the door
    • Condemn the area as a natural disaster

That is how my parents and I co existed during my adolescence. Consequently, I grew up serenely in comfortable chaos as a cellar dweller and only had to clean my room semi annually when the basement flooded.




Posted in humor.


  1. What a great basement though…your room there….that’s another story! It was a small room with a lot of ‘stuff’ in it. Mostly a bed as I remember. What amazes me now is, how did three girls get along so well in that small house? Although back then, we really didn’t think of it as small did we?

    I wish we had basements in Georgia. I miss them!

  2. Very funny…….and those that know you best know there is some truth to your post. The life lesson we all learned long ago,though, was that people mattered more than things; and that time spent pursuing our passions was more important than whether there was dust on the coffee table or dirty dishes in the sink.

  3. Got in from work to read this one! Thanks for tickling the ole funny bones…

    Cloaing the door as in out of sight? hmmm. been there:)


  4. HA HA HA…..still laughing out loud! And remember when I always wanted to stay overnight with Big sis! Just look who our cellar dweller in Minnesota! Do you see a pattern here sista???

  5. Thanks for some new idea’s, but can we put a lock on the basement door? ha I might even try stacking the dirty dishes-I guess it’s worth a try.
    Hang in there sis.

  6. What a fun and insightful post, Pat! I love how relaxed & low-key these tips are–and how inherently green. Funny that in the US we’re desperately trying to figure out these strategies, and here they are, embedded in another culture’s day-to-day life. 🙂

    Thanks for sharing!


  7. These are so true! My mom (german-spanish) always throws the bedding out of the window and me, instead of pushing everything underneath the bed, I put it all into my wardrobe – I once found a camera and a credit card in there!

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