Friday links: Heavy cleaners and when not to do it yourself

I’ll be taking a break from blogging next week, and giving a few posts from the archives a new lease on life. I’ve been blogging for close to 4 years at this site and its predecessor (my168hours.com) so there are a lot of old posts to choose from!

Here are a few links from the week:

I was utterly fascinated by an article in Thursday’s WSJ on how cleaning product companies work on their formulas in order to deal with human psychology. Some people are “heavy cleaners” and believe they need to scrub — even if the formula is specifically designed not for scrubbing. People pre-rinse their dishes before loading the dishwasher, even though some detergents are formulated to work better by interacting with substances in food. How do you deal with this kind of consumer? Can you train people who are convinced that doing the dishes properly means you *must* pre-rinse to realize that they’re making a mistake? A sidebar talks about cleaning’s therapeutic effects, and gets a bit at the psychology of heavy cleaners.

MoneySavingMom runs a short post on “Is it always a good deal to do it yourself?” The answer is, of course, no. The comments provide a number of examples of people realizing the monetary value of time — which I always like to see acknowledged on frugality blogs.

After reading an interview with, of all people, Ashton Kutcher in Esquire, I was inspired enough by his philosophy of time to write a CBS MoneyWatch post called Indulge in time, the ultimate luxury. When it comes to time, I like the idea of the simplicity on the other side of complexity. I want to be perfectly aware of how I am spending my time, and know I have time for the things I plan to do, and then be utterly profligate with my time on occasion. The key, of course, is being profligate on only the things you choose to indulge in.  But anyway, an interesting question: how would it feel to approach your day thinking “I have all the time in the world?”

Claire Diaz-Ortiz writes about How to Waste Time Well (my weekend ebook is mentioned).

Well-Heeled Blog contemplates egg freezing. I understand the appeal of egg freezing. Stretch out the biological time line for having children, and you remove the problem of needing to build your career and your family at the same time! Except there are two problems. Most people think about egg freezing when the clock is ticking — and they’re north of 35 — whereas the best time to freeze your eggs is probably age 27. Second, there is no perfect time to have children to avoid the career-family dilemma. Fortunately, building a career and raising a family are not mutually exclusive concepts (something we’ve talked about plenty here).

Wealthy Single Mommy writes about a Cure for the overwhelmed mom: Shut up! This post hints at one of my pet peeves: parents complaining to other adults about their children when the kids are around, as if they’re deaf or something. I understand parents like to blow off a bit of steam, but kids can understand a lot more things than they can articulate.

In case you haven’t read my call to end the use of the phrase “work-life balance” you can check out my column in USA Today.

And my next ebook, What the Most Successful People Do at Work is available for pre-order at Amazon!



16 Responses to Friday links: Heavy cleaners and when not to do it yourself


  1. Ok, I have to tell you that when I read the first sentence of the egg-freezing, I immediately envisioned chicken eggs in the freezer and thought, “Why would a person freeze eggs??”

    I must spend too much time in the kitchen.

    • Susan says:

      Kristin, I did too! Maybe I spend too much time on Pinterest. There was a recipe for baking a batch of egs in muffin tins and freezing them. The baked eggs didn’t turn out well, so I didn’t freeze them.

      • Karen says:

        So, this didn’t work? Thanks for the heads up!

  2. Nancy says:

    @Kristen – And I thought it was some new Easter craft or Easter craft hack!?!?!?

    • Karen says:

      Nancy and Kristen, I did too! A FB friend of mine recently posted a way to bake eggs instead of hard-boiling them for Easter and I first thought this was some variation on that theme.

  3. carrie says:

    Kristen I thought that exact thing!

    Well if there was doubt before, that cleaning piece confirmed it. I am lazy. And I do not care. I am a sahm with 7 kids and don’t spend 5 hours a week cleaning!

    • Laura says:

      Oh you guys! No, no Easter egg special crafts, and no recipe secrets. Just the frontier of reproductive medicine :)

    • Laura says:

      @Carrie- Not lazy. Smart. The point of the article is that some portion of people are overcleaning, past what the products call for. It turns out that messages of what constitutes “proper” cleaning can be rather deeply imprinted.

      • Susan says:

        @Laura: Oh, so true. Yesterday when editing a photo of my cat chasing his tail in the bathroom, I actually cloned out some grime on the tile so that my Facebook friends wouldn’t think I’m a slob. (Who knows? Maybe their bathroom tile has grime on it too.) This hobby of photographing and posting funny photos of my cat is probably why I don’t get more cleaning done. :)

  4. hush says:

    Loved the Kutcher (“of all people” – lol) piece. Actors are really good at reading from the script. I know the person who manages his money – he totally cribbed those lines from her. He didn’t really come up with any pithy lines of his own about evaluating companies, but good for him.

  5. Karen says:

    I’m guilty of pre-rinsing dishes, sometimes, but the reason I do it is that we don’t run the dishwasher every day and having that stuff sitting around for 2-3 days can get ripe when you open the door!

  6. Karen says:

    I really didn’t like that “Cure for the overwhelmed mom” post. While I probably would have been bothered too, by the mom she writes about and her endless complaining, I think she gave that mom too much of a forum and her words too much power. We all know negative people, and have to find ways of dealing with them and limiting their influence without spreading their negativity. I also found the ideas that women are “owed” sympathy (or not), and that she is the one who gets to decide how much, to be pretty repugnant, reminiscent of the mommy wars that I at least am trying to get away from.

    • Ana says:

      Karen, I agree, the tone of that article really turned me off. I get the underlying point, but the whole thing was, well, unkind.

      • Karen says:

        Ana, yes, unkind is a good way to describe it. I think Laura’s point is excellent, that as a parent you don’t want to be complaining about your children in front of them while they are right there, because that could be very unkind to them.

        That post, though, isn’t about that topic at all. It was all about “wealthysinglemommy”‘s self-righteous disapproval of “that chick” who annoyed her in a church play group. A much kinder response all around would have been if “wealthysinglemommy” had taken “that chick” aside privately and asked her what effect she thought all that complaining might have on her children. It probably wouldn’t have had any immediate effect, but you never know.

      • ARC says:

        Exactly. I wasn’t a fan either. But this may explain why it’s so hard to make friends as adults, esp at those SAHP groups…

        • Ana says:

          “…why its so hard to make friends as adults”…Word. I’ve had no luck at all making friends at mom’s group type settings. Just having procreated around the same time apparently really isn’t enough of a basis for a true relationship!
          But yes, I think the point about not constantly complaining about your kids is a really good one; my husband and I didn’t realize how often we were “jokingly” calling our littlest guy “terrible” and “naughty” and “destructive” until we visited my sister and she told me we were being mean. It really hit home and we stopped immediately and now find ourselves thinking the same behavior is delightful, adorable, and completely age-appropriate.