Cleaning My Kitchen Ceiling. Why, What Do You Do on a Friday Night?

by Katy on November 22, 2014 · 32 comments

My sister dropped by last night to return my Bissell rug shampooer. She’s selling her truck and wanted to create a not-mildewy vibe for the new owner. I bought the shampooer on Craigslist probably four years ago, and it’s since been borrowed by at least six different people. It’s one of those items that’s perfect for lending out, no need for each person to own one themselves.

Sharing economy at its best.

Although my sister and I live in the same city, we’re bad at arranging time to get together. We live very different lives, (me, the traditional RN and mother of teenage boys, her the professional banjo player who lives in a school bus.) so it’s always nice when we do make the effort to spend time together.)

We were hanging out in the kitchen as I tidied up from dinner and catching up on each other’s lives, when I pointed out how the ceiling has been looking disgusting ever since I went crazy with all the applesauce. Apparently, all the steam condensed on the ceiling and trapped any dirtiness to create a very special brown spottiness. It’s a chore I’d been avoiding, and I somehow ended up on a chair to start wiping it down to show her how gross it was.

Because you know, I’m weird.

Look how foul it was:

Kitchen ceiling

But then the two of decided to try my garbage picked Swiffer to see if it would work to clean the ceiling. Especially since the Swiffer sports a crocheted cover that our third sister made for me.

And that’s when an ordinary Friday night went from dull to epic!

Ceiling crew

And of course, cleaning the kitchen ceiling then prompted washing all the bugs and kitchen schmutz from the light fixture and cleaning/decluttering all the stuff on top of the refrigerator.

We then shared a beer and moved our wild party to the living room.

Yeah, don’t pretend you’re not envious of my glamorous life.

Katy Wolk-Stanley

“Use it up, wear it out, make it do or do without.”

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{ 32 comments… read them below or add one }

Sara Wolk November 22, 2014 at 2:27 pm

I get plenty of excitement and adventure in other areas of my life but spending a chill evening with my big sister, chatting over some mindless chores can be the best thing ever! I stay so busy with my own life that disguising my downtime with some mild productivity takes away the guilt that I have other things I need to be doing and helps me relax. Maybe I’m crazy!


Katy November 22, 2014 at 3:49 pm

Maybe we’re both crazy! 😉

Love you!


Karen Rickers November 23, 2014 at 5:17 am

I’m totally into Tiny Houses. Please post pictures of the school bus! 😀


Emily @ Simple Cheap Mom November 23, 2014 at 6:37 pm

Yes please!


A. Marie November 22, 2014 at 2:40 pm

Ladies, no need to justify any of this. Cleaning the kitchen ceiling and sharing a beer or two sound to me like the best kind of sisterly bonding.

Meanwhile, I’ve been spending the afternoon starting this year’s edition of the parody Martha Stewart calendar I give my neighbors across the street for Xmas (this is a tradition that’s into its 19th year). My MO is that I buy a themed calendar of some sort and then stick pictures of Martha in it wherever they’ll fit for comic effect. This year’s theme is “Gone with the Wind,” so I’ve pasted Martha heads onto all the pictures of Scarlett and will write appropriate captions. (I also write all the recipients’ family/friend birthdays and other significant dates into the calendar proper, so it does serve a practical purpose.) I pass this idea along for folks who are looking for a unique holiday gift–and I can testify that I get as much enjoyment from making it as my neighbors do from receiving it. DH always remarks on the decibel level of the giggles!


Kate November 22, 2014 at 4:20 pm

I love that idea so much I can hardly stand it! What lucky neighbors you have.


Amy November 22, 2014 at 6:10 pm

What a great idea, and how wonderful you take the time to do that for your neighbors! Don’t forget that old standby Carol Burnett line from her parody of Gone With the Wind when she came down the stairs in a velvet gown with a curtain rod across the back of her shoulders: I saw it in the window and I couldn’t resist!


A. Marie November 23, 2014 at 6:32 am

Would you believe the *one* essential scene missing from this calendar is Scarlett ripping the curtains off the windows? Otherwise, it’s perfect.

And, yeah, we have a special relationship with these neighbors. (Suffice it to say that we’re spending Thanksgiving with them.)


Jill November 22, 2014 at 3:30 pm

Party animals!!


Tammy Brackett November 22, 2014 at 4:09 pm

Your sister is a BANJO PLAYER and lives in a SCHOOLBUS? Could you POSSIBLY get any cooler??
I love that you can get together with your sister. Mine lives 8 hours away and I only get to see her once or twice a year .I love her and would give anything if she could just “drop by” !!
Love this post, Katy.


Katy November 22, 2014 at 6:03 pm

Yup, she’s very cool.


Amy November 22, 2014 at 6:15 pm

I was going to say the same thing. . . a banjo player living in a school bus, pretty darn cool! Both of my sisters live several states and many hours away from me. I’d love it if they could just drop by and we’d clean my kitchen ceiling, or whatever! I gave up any idea I might have had once-upon-a-time that one should be doing all those cliche social things on a Friday or Saturday night. . . I’d much rather be doing what I WANT TO DO. Even if it is cleaning my kitchen ceiling or reading a book!


lori November 22, 2014 at 4:23 pm

Awesome! I wish I had a sister to come over and help me clean.


Katy November 22, 2014 at 6:05 pm

It’s a rare occurrence, which is why it was special.


Kelly in MA November 24, 2014 at 8:19 am

I love those kinds of “Great moments,” years from know it will probably be a funny story that you tell grandchildren.

One of my closest friends came over this weekend to use my washer and dryer (she is now one of three households that all use my super duper craigslist second hand machines!) While she was here we started prepping for Thanksgiving! We got the kitchen scrubbed down, the table leaf installed and the seating issue fixed. We made the shopping list and she ordered her pies for dessert and we are in good shape for Thanksgiving. Now I just need to buy my Turkey! Which she gave me a $7 off turkey coupon for a local grocer that already has great prices!


AnnW November 22, 2014 at 5:31 pm

I come from a long line of fanatic house cleaners. My aunt used to put a dust cloth on a broom and walk up and down the rooms holding the broom to the ceiling. Probably twice a year.
That calendar idea sounds great. My first thought was that they made a calendar with them posing as Martha Stewart doing something. I’d like to make one like that before I sell my house and retire. I would also pay Good Money for a picture calendar of Katy and frugal tips. Like Katy checking the coin slots of a pay phone. Katy checking free stuff at the curb. Katy selling little plants on her front step with an honor cash box.Katy hand rolling sushi.
Think about it. You’ve got 2 kids to put through college. This could make you $69 or so.


Katy November 22, 2014 at 6:05 pm

I would hate to traumatize people on a monthly basis!


Linda November 22, 2014 at 6:20 pm

Why do you think a calendar would be traumatic? We ready you on a(n almost) daily basis and are the better for it.


A. Marie November 23, 2014 at 6:36 am

I’m with AnnW and Linda. I’d pay full retail price for an NCA calendar for my office–and I wouldn’t even stick photos of Martha Stewart in it!


Kelly in MA November 24, 2014 at 8:24 am

I’ll forward that motion and additionally suggest that you make your boys take the pictures and work on the layout. It is their college accounts after all!

Sign me up for a copy too!!!

One of my best cleaning tricks is I buy those cheepo strechy kid gloves when they go on clearance (They are usually a dollar but I like getting them for half!) I wet the and ring them out good (so they are damp) and unleash my 4 year old on the baseboards and all of the surfaces she can reach! She gets to help with the house work and I get stuff done faster! I have also done this for me with the adult version of these gloves and I do everything Alice can’t reach. Makes mini blinds and ceiling fans easy!

Maryanne November 22, 2014 at 6:02 pm

This is epic! I wish I had a sister!


nancy November 23, 2014 at 4:58 am

So glad you wrote this. I was just bemoaning (feeling sorry for myself) that I am just the helper sister (never get invited when they are going out, just when there is a dresser to be painted or chair to be covered). You remind me to think of all the fun I have with my sisters while we work on those chores. And frankly, I am usually asleep by nine so staying out late is not usually on my list (which is probably part of why they don’t invite me…)
I too would buy your “Katy shows us how to save” calendar. Think about it!!!


Linda M November 23, 2014 at 5:07 am

Love it! Nobody had to get dressed up and you still had a great time….can’t beat that.
I would like to know where sister #3 got the pattern for the crocheted Swiffer cover…..that would be neat to make for myself:) and gifts. Could you please share?
I also liked the neat calendar idea that a poster shared…..I may just have to try that myself….maybe including a few quirky suggestions on non-descript days… today you need to eat ice cream….or today you need to fill up the bath tub and have a nice long bubble bath:)


A. Marie November 23, 2014 at 6:35 am

I include some suggestions like that–as well as pseudo-Martha ones like “Don’t forget to stencil the driveway.”


Kelly in MA November 24, 2014 at 8:25 am

Second Tuesday for each month- Eat on the good china- everyday is special


Susan November 23, 2014 at 9:43 am

Uh…can I get my sister (albeit not blood related) to hang out and clean my ceiling, with or without liquid incentive? No. Not. Ever. Lucky lady!


Loretta November 23, 2014 at 4:08 pm

When my sister lived down the road (now she is in another continent, sob) we used to go grocery shopping together. Way to turn a mundane chore into a Fun Time!
As for cleaning, the BEST present she ever gave me was a ‘full service clean’ of my bathreoom, mopping the tiles, walls and ceiling, using all her fancy Enjo cleaning tools. My bathroom has never looked that good again, sadly.


Betsy November 24, 2014 at 9:22 am

I’m loving that there are other people out there getting crazy by getting clean!!!


JD November 24, 2014 at 12:31 pm

I went to my sister’s city to help her get ready for company coming (that seems to be my role — the helper sister of we three sisters) and found she was drowning in clutter that she had no idea what to do with. I tackled it with the help of her son and the house was in good order the next day for all the folks to arrive, but it was a temporary fix. I constantly had to remind her she needed order, not more stuff, and that it isn’t necessary or possible to deal with it all at once. Now, here’s what I did next:
When she told me how much she appreciated my help and wanted to take me out someplace to pay me back I said no, just commit to get some of that stuff out of there and the rest organized. She said she would, and I’m sure she will try, but she gets overwhelmed at the sight of so much stuff. Today, an idea hit me to help her even when I’m not there to help. I got 12 blank postcards and sent the first today. It says “On the first day of Christmas, my sister gave to me…” and then I wrote instructions to perform one “purging” exercise of only 30 minutes to get some things out of one specific room of the house, and named a date a week from now to have it done. I told her to grab a bunch of unneeded and unwanted stuff as quick as she can, throw it in a box, doing this for 30 minutes, then out it all goes to Goodwill or the trash, as appropriate. I’ll send 11 more suggestions, all with specific instructions and dates to be completed; that, if she’ll do it all, will be HER Christmas gift to ME. And hopefully, to herself!


Gail November 24, 2014 at 6:08 pm

Dear Party Girl –
I have 2 swiffer handles, -One I use with their products, the other for my microfiber or chamois cloths cut to swiffer size. The microfiber and chamois cloths spread the holding holes so they are no longer tight enough holes to hold a swiffer. But I prefer using real cloths because I can wash them.
However, I am loving your crochet swiffer replacement head. What kind of yarn was used?


Katy November 24, 2014 at 8:32 pm

Cotton yarn.


Karen. December 4, 2014 at 8:25 am

Hey, your kitchen is the exact same two colors of lemonish and limeish that my kitchen is. At least, in that light.


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