Hey guys! Thanks for stopping by for the transcript of Episode 39. If you’d rather listen to this episode than read 8,000 words, you can click the player below or learn how to get them on your phone (for free) here.
John: Hi guys! This week’s episode is brought to you by Thomas Avenue Ceramics and their mission to make tile buying easier. We’ll share how they’re doing that later in the episode. And you can browse tile options at thomasavenueceramics.com/yhl where the code YHL20 will get you 20% off your next order.
[ad music ends, intro music begins]
John: I’m John.
Sherry: And I’m Sherry.
John: We like home stuff.
Sherry: We like talking.
John: And we like the occasional game show sounded effect. So welcome to kokokara Has A Podcast. Where we have deep and not-so-deep conversations about DIY, design, and life at home.
Sherry: Today we’re talking with housecleaning pro Melissa Maker about how to make spring cleaning faster, easier, and more fun. We’re also diving into this hygge thing that people are talking about and finding out how it can make your home happier.
[intro music ends]
John: Hey, hey!
Sherry: Hello guys! I’m excited about my What’s New this week because I feel like it’s a thing! It’s a movement that’s happening.
John: Are you, like, trying to establish yourself as a trendsetter?
Sherry: No! No, no, no. I’ve been hearing whispers of this for a long time. I’m just predicting that this is going to mainstream and I think we’re all going to hear about it a lot on, like, morning shows. And I got a book about it and I’m interested in it. And it’s called hygge. But you’re going to say, “No, I don’t see books with ‘hoo-ga’ on them. I see books with ‘higgie’ on them.” It’s because it’s spelled like the word higgie; it’s h-y-g-g-e. But the pronunciation, which it actually says on the cover of this book because everyone get it so wrong; it says, “pronounced HOO-GA.”
John: It’s like that yogurt – “Fage”.
Sherry: Yes. And we’re all like, “Is it ‘fa-jay,’ ‘Fa-gee?'” Anyway! But this is called [says “higgie”]…
John: HOO-GA, Sherry!
Sherry: Sorry! [laughs] See, in my head I still read it “higgie!” This is called Hygge [says “hoo-ga”]. My apologies! And I read it very excitedly, it’s adorable. I’ll link to it in the show notes because I’m kind of obsessed with it. I couldn’t find it at the library, and I almost gave up because I’m cheap like that. And then I ordered it on Amazon and I’m SO glad I bought it because I have, like, 15 tabs in all the pages. And it’s essentially this concept of coziness or warmth and gratitude in a home.
John: It’s Danish, right?
Sherry: Exactly, so it’s Danish secrets to happy living. Essentially it’s sort of the pursuit of everyday happiness. I love this concept of just making our houses feel warmer. You know, enjoying the simple pleasures. All this stuff about gratitude. And I’m into it. Like, sign me up! “Hoo-ga,” “higgie,” whatever you want to call it. Is not a word you can define in, like, a sentence. You know, it’s not like “cozy.” It’s this, like, atmosphere and feeling and warmth.
John: It would make for a short podcast segment if it were.
Sherry: [laughs] It really would! There’s a lot of things that they say contribute to it; like the hygge manifesto is atmosphere: turning down the lights and lighting candles. Presence: turning off the phones, being in the present. Pleasure: coffee, chocolates, cookies, candies – all the, you know, sort of luxuries but they’re everyday luxuries. It’s not gold faucets and money. It’s a nice, rich chocolate cake.
John: It’s the treat yo’ self of the world!
Sherry: Exactly! There’s gratitude: taking it in. This might be as good as it gets. Not wanting for more, but just being happy with what you have. Comfort: you know relaxation, cushy things, warm things, soft things, togetherness. You know, relationships and reminiscing. Like getting together on the couch with a fire crackling and remembering funny times. You know reminiscing together.
John: [talking in a refined, older voice] Ha ha, the time!
Sherry: [matches John’s refined voice] The time! Remember that time when…
John: I do! It was hilarious. [Sherry laughs] So is the whole book about, like, things to do to your house though?
Sherry: No, I think it touches on a lot of where you would apply this in your life: dressing, your lifestyle, what you want for yourself, like your goals. It of course establishes why Denmark is so happy in their history and all that. And then there are funny things like hygge activities, like board games. You know, just suggestions. I think the whole book is sort of like a handbook to having more hygge your life. And so there are some fun, suggested activities like a pantry party.
John: [laughing] Okay…
Sherry: Where you invite your friends over for an afternoon of cooking, and everyone brings ingredients to make something. So you know, like, you go in your pantry and take whatever out …
John: Oh okay, I gotcha.
Sherry: Not panties. Pantry! [laughs]
John: I got that much, thank you. [laughs]
Sherry: And you know, people come together in your kitchen and you cook together, and it’s sort of like this – it’s almost like – what do we call that? A potluck?
John: I feel like MY What’s New is going to be hygge related.
Sherry: Oh really?
John: Yes, but I’ll let you finish.
Sherry: Okay, I think what’s really at the core of this are the simple pleasures and the gratitude. And there’s a ton about fireplaces and candles. Oh, I wanted to ask you this. How often do you think the Danes on average light candles?
Sherry: You’re right! The highest percentage in the poll does them daily. And then how many candles do you think would be lit at a time?
John: Umm, did we enter the game portion of this podcast without me knowing? Because I didn’t play the music.
Sherry: This surprised me, I want to hear your guess.
John: I would say they light eight candles.
Sherry: Yes! More than five.
John: [whispers] YESSS!
Sherry: The majority of the people in the poll lit more than five. In fact, one of the other higher numbers was “I don’t know” which leads me to believe it’s SO many they can’t even count them. [John laughs] So this to me creates this lovely idea of this home that’s candlelit and warm and beautiful.
I also love this buying tip for your home. It said a hygge idea is to link purchases with good experiences. For example, this guy who wrote the book had saved money for a new chair that he really wanted. But he waited until he published his first book to buy the chair. And so that way in buying the chair it reminds him of this accomplishment, and it feels like more than just the time I bought the chair. It’s like, “Remember when I wrote that book, and then I bought myself this chair to celebrate?” And it becomes this special spot.
John: That reminds me of our Hawaii vacation that we took back in 2012 because we scheduled it to be right after we finished shooting our first book.
Sherry: Exactly, it was like the release.
John: That was kind of our reward.
Sherry: Yeah. I feel like we just needed … our house was a mess too. We just left the house.
Sherry: The house was destroyed from book shoots throughout the house, like, the beds weren’t in and the right spot, and we just left and we went to Hawaii.
They also have 10 things to add to your house that are hygge. They believe in a big cushy arm chair. We talked about the fireplace and the candle. They love things made out of wood because there’s warmth and craftsmanship. There’s, you know, nature in the wood.
Sherry: A main category for them is books. They love, you know, not reading on your Kindle but, like, holding a book, the smell of a book, a bookcase full of books. Just surrounding yourself with these things.
John: Yeah, they’re all the cozy things.
Sherry: You know, again it starts to paint a picture when you layer it all like, “Is my room hygge enough? You know, I feel like our living room’s hygge, but is our dining room hygge?”
John: [laughing] Oh gosh.
Sherry: Don’t be mad at hygge. I think it’s very sweet.
John: I’m not mad. I like the idea of it.
Sherry: I guess the reason I love this book is it sort of …
John: Vindicates your lifestyle?
Sherry: Exactly! When I think of the things I love the most – it’s like a warm cup of tea, sitting under the blanket in the part of the couch that’s my favorite. It’s the part with the chaise part so my legs can be extended, like, that is a mom luxury! Remember I talked about smelling the candles at Target?
Sherry: That is hygge to me! Like, taking these moments to enjoy something instead of rushing through them all crazy. It’s like when you get to stop and your world just stops spinning, and you get to just chill for a second.
John: I gotcha.
Sherry: Okay, but I’m rambling. There is TONS of stuff in here. We’ll put a link to it in the show notes for you guys. Again, it’s called The Little Book of Hygge (Hoo-Gah, not Hig-gie!). You can sound very smart when you correct everyone who’s calling it by the wrong name.
John: Smart… Obnoxious…
Sherry: Is it hygge to correct someone who pronounces hygge wrong? I’m not sure.
John: Well, for my What’s New, kind of like I said I think it ties into this idea of togetherness because we did this super fun thing with our neighbors the other day called Thrift Store Date Night. It’s this thing where basically you go out on a date night with your friends but you’re all dressed in funny outfits that you find at thrift stores.
Sherry: And you don’t get to pick your OWN outfit, someone draws your name and picks your outfit. So everyone goes to different thrift stores and finds the most ridiculous things. Like we’re talking about, rhinestone-studded pockets on male jeans. They’re like from the era in the ’90s when the boy bands were out.
John: Yeah, I think this is something that started maybe just with Goodwill as “Goodwill Date Night.” But you can really do it with any thrift store. And so last year just a few of our neighbors did it, just a group of three couples. And so this year they opened up the invitation to everyone in our Facebook group, and nine couples RSVP’d.
Sherry: So it was 18 of us dressed in the most amazing garb! It was good because women had women, and we all exchanged measurements. So, like, the guy buying for John knew about John’s super long legs and got him pants that were almost long enough.
John: Yeah, I was going to say, we had each other’s measurements. That didn’t necessarily mean everything we got was a perfect fit.
Sherry: That’s what I think was so funny. We walked into this restaurant downtown, and we picked a really busy restaurant because part of the fun of going out in these crazy outfits is not to, like, hide at someone’s house. You have to go and be seen.
John: Yeah, this is not a house party.
Sherry: That’s what bonds you. But the funniest part to me was when we were walking in and everyone was trying to figure out what was going on.
John: Like, “Is this an ’80s night?”
Sherry: Right. Like a few of us looked very ’80s – bright colors, shoulder pads. And so at first you thought, “Oh, it’s an ’80s party!” And then came, like, the grandma witchy-looking people. And then you were like, “Wait! It’s not the ’80’s?!”
John: The guy in like a camo vest.
Sherry: Right. They were just all the different looks going on.
John: Yes, the lady with the elastic jeans and the visor!
Sherry: [laughing] Right, right! With socks and flip flops.
John: Yes, my outfit was basically a yellow corduroy suit. I had a maroon dress shirt on under it, so I was very, like, ketchup and mustard-like McDonald’s looking.
Sherry: Yeah, it was very McDonald’s – ’70s McDonald’s I would say was your vibe.
John: And then you had what? Like a green…
Sherry: I had double shoulder pads, first of all, which anyone who knows how small I am and how small my head is… I’ve never looked like I had a tinier head because I had the giant shoulder pads in my green satin dress. And you know that satin that has, like, a floral pattern within the satin? Like it could be covering, I don’t know, an old chair? This was on my body with the shoulder pads, and then on top of that was a velvet paisley blazer, which I think was an underhanded joke at how I like a black blazer. [laughing] It was black and green and purple swirled paisley. And then that also had shoulder pads so DOUBLE shoulder pads!
John: And you had a matching purse.
Sherry: I did. I had a cross-body bright emerald green purse with a gold chain. You know, one of those chain purses? And then even shoes. Like it was the full outfit.
John: Obviously we know you guys want pictures of this, so they will be in the show notes at kokokara.info/podcast so you can see our outfits and our whole sort of motley crew of the neighborhood. But it definitely was a really fun night and a good way to spend time with our neighbors. We have some new neighbors that we got to meet doing it. They were very brave to make this their first outing with the group. [laughing] So, props to them!
Sherry: I think it was a good way to raise money for thrift stores too because there was a $20 limit. I should explain that. So, everyone got each other’s measurements.
John: We broke ours – we went to $25.
Sherry: We did go to $25. But, you know, you’re giving back to the community. You’re taking these crazy old outfits, and the funny thing is that some people are like, “I’m totally keeping this because I have an ’80s party coming up.” Or like, “Oh yeah, I do a crazy Christmas sweater, and I can use this sweater.” So, parts of it will just get re-donated, and other parts of it will make the light of day again! I think people are going to reuse some of it. [laughs]
John: I bet mine can be a Halloween costume, we’ll see.
Sherry: I know! What you could you be? Could you be the Hamburglar? Did he wear a suit like that?
John: No, he had a striped black and white…
Sherry: Oh you’re right, more of like the jailbird look.
John: I think, like, kind of Beetlejuice-looking.
Sherry: Yeah you’re right.
John: Because he was a burglar!
Sherry: [laughing] That’s right! Not to be confused with [feigns Italian voice] Sbarro Burger!
John: Not that again!
[Sherry cracks up]
Okay, well I’m going to stop you and give you a quiz.
[old school quiz music]
John: So here’s the part of the show that we call What’s Not. I give Sherry a list of things. All of them are true except for one that I’ve made up. She has to tell me what’s real and what’s not. And this one, Sherry, is about soap. Specifically Dr. Bronner’s Magic Soap.
Sherry: Okay. I mean I use that, so I should have a fair chance of being okay at this.
John: Yeah, so you guys may know Dr. Bronner’s is that Castile soap that comes in those colorful bottles that have, like, a boatload of text on them.
Sherry: Right. Which I never read. So now I’m realizing I’m going to fail this quiz. [laughs]
John: So I found a list on Mental Floss called “15 Things You Didn’t Know About Dr. Bronner and his Magic Soap.” Because Dr. Bronner, Dr. Emanuel Bronner, is a real guy. A real soapmaker.
Sherry: Is he still alive?
John: No, he’s not. He immigrated to the United States from Germany in 1929, shortly after MY grandfather – also named Emanuel – came over here from Germany. So I pulled out some of the facts from this list which are quite crazy, and you have to tell me what’s real and what’s not. Okay, first fact: Dr. Bronner was actually primarily a lecturer and a philosopher preaching a code that he called the Moral ABC.
Sherry: Sure. I believe he was sort of this figure who was not a religious figure but I feel like he was very moral. Yes.
John: He once escaped from the mental hospital he’d been committed to.
Sherry: [laughing] What?! I’m going to say maybe on that. Let’s hear the rest of these.
John: He put his children into foster care so that he could focus on his lectures.
Sherry: No, he better not or I’m going to stop buying his soap.
John: The company was sent into bankruptcy when the IRS denied its filing as a nonprofit religious organization.
Sherry: Oh this is getting a little bit more…
John: It’s getting darker.
Sherry: [laughing] It really is! Now I don’t want this soap. Dang it! It smells so good – the almond one.
John: He was once arrested by DEA agents for including hemp oil in his product.
Sherry: I know that there was hemp oil in something. I think. Maybe not him though. No, I’m going to say that’s true. I’m hoping the one of putting his kids in foster care to focus on soap is fake, but I don’t feel like you’d make that up.
I think the made-up one is B!
John: That he escaped from the mental hospital?
John: That is true. [womp-womp sound effect]
Sherry: Dang! Was it the kids one?
John: No that’s true also. I would not make that up!
Sherry: Awwww! Why couldn’t his wife help with the children?
John: I think his wife had passed away.
Sherry: [sadly] Aw.
John: No. The fake one, which was kind of a detail, he was not arrested by the DEA for including hemp oil in his products but his grandson was.
John: Well, technically not for including hemp oil in his product, but I guess his grandson, David, who runs the company now is somewhat of a hemp activist. He did some protests like he planted hemp seeds on the lawn of the DEA.
Sherry: [laughing] Oh!
John: And he also milled hemp oil in front of the White House.
Sherry: But I have a question. How is the grandson involved when he so coldly put the kids in foster care? Like why would the grandson even want a piece of this?
John: Well, because his son grew up to help with the business.
Sherry: So maybe they were older and they were cool with it. Maybe this was like an amazing foster care. It was like, what’s that movie? [sings movie tune]
John: It’s like Annie?!
Sherry: No! What’s that one where the dad is always gone, and the woman comes? [sings a tune]
John: Mary Poppins?
John: I don’t think that’s foster care! [laughs]
Sherry: What’s that one that they did on live TV, and it was [sings] Maria?
John: The Sound of Music?!
Sherry: Yeah. Is that?
John: No! [laughs]
Sherry: No? [laughs] It’s not foster care?
John: [laughing] These were just like, I think, nannies.
Sherry: Should we like this Dr. Bronner’s or should we be opposed?
John: I think he’s just an interesting character.
John: I think this Moral ABC that he preached, and that’s actually what’s printed on much of the label, is his whole philosophy because he realized that people were not sticking around to his lectures and so…
Sherry: He‘s like, “I’ll put this on the soap!” [laughs]
John: Exactly! As a way to sell his soap.
Sherry: And I’ve read zero percent of it. I read the label that says almond or lavender. That’s what I read.
John: Well his general philosophy, the basic idea, is that we shouldn’t focus on how we are different and instead about how we are the same that would make us better off… on this Spaceship Earth I believe he calls it. [laughs]
Sherry: [laughs] Yes! He also calls it magic soap, so you have to start to wonder what’s going on.
John: So I will put a link to the list that I found on Mental Floss.
Sherry: And also, guys, Mrs. Meyers does the same thing. I use them interchangeably. [laughs]
John: [sarcastically] Oh, listen these facts about Mrs. Meyers!
Sherry: Oh no! [cracking up]
John: I’m kidding, kidding!
Well, actually, you know what, Sherry? Speaking of soap and cleaning, we are going to give a ring to Melissa Maker. She is a YouTube star who has a channel called Clean My Space.
Sherry: Yeah, a super cleaning guru.
John: We figured since it’s the beginning of March, kind of spring cleaning. I don’t know, is it premature to say it’s spring cleaning time? Is that wishful thinking?
Sherry: I think we’re ready for some spring cleaning.
John: Yeah, so she’s got a book coming out, and we want to talk to her to get some motivation to dive into our cleaning.
Sherry: Because we all know I am not exactly a pro when it comes to how often to scrub or vacuum.
John: Yes, you are tidier, not a scrubber.
Sherry: That’s right.
John: Episode two if you don’t get the reference. Anyway, let’s give Melissa a call.
John: Hi there!
Melissa: Hi! It’s a pleasure to finally chat with you guys.
Sherry: You too! I’m Sherry, this is John.
John: In case you couldn’t guess.
Melissa: Yes, I mean I did figure it out, but a formal introduction never hurts.
[John and Sherry laugh]
John: I think of cleaning as this chore that we all kind of hate or want to avoid. And the fact that you not only enjoy it but have decided to make videos about it and, like, make it your work.
Sherry: It’s like your life’s work.
Melissa: Well it’s funny that you say that, John. Okay, so Sherry, yes. For the last, you know, 10 years in my career it kind of has been my life’s work, which is quite funny because John, back to your point, I actually don’t love cleaning. [laughs] I actually hate it.
In 2005 I graduated with a business degree here in Toronto, and I took a job working at a bank which was really, as you can probably tell, not my thing. [laughter] And I started dating my now husband about three months before I quit that job. And I quit because he said to me, “Look, I think you really need to give your entrepreneurial dreams a go whatever it is that you decide to do.” And I DID! So I quit, and I didn’t know what I was going to do. I was waitressing at the time, and I just kept hearing about how people were struggling finding a good person to clean their house – someone who they could rely on, someone who knew what they were doing, so on and so forth. And I decided, you know this is a good thing. I’m going to do this. I’m going to start a cleaning business. And then the first problem was I had to figure out how to clean. And I had to, like, get over the fact that I didn’t like cleaning. And then 2011 is when my husband and I decided to start making these YouTube videos about cleaning, and we’ve been doing it ever since.
And do you like cleaning any more now, or do you still hate it? [laughs]
I wouldn’t say I like it any more, but I have developed a really deep respect for it and what it can do for me. Because we all know, like, there are huge benefits to cleaning – those are obvious. But can we actually get ourselves to do it? That’s the challenge. So I like to focus on the outcome and what it does for me instead of what it takes away from me, if you will.
Sherry: And why do you think so many people have a problem just sort of getting into the rhythm? Is it that they don’t have the right tools, or they don’t know where to start? What is the hurdle we’re all hitting?
Melissa: I think there are several hurdles. You’ve hit on two of them already. And then I just think motivation is a big thing as well. And this is why we worked so hard, Chad and I. Chad’s my husband. We’ve worked so hard on creating the YouTube material and it’s also why I’ve put my book together – because I just want to teach people how to do it. And I believe it comes down to three things which I call the PTT’s – the products, the tools, and the techniques. And I think once you know those three things, no excuse in the world is going to stop you because cleaning will just feel so second nature.
Sherry: So it’s sort of about automation and not having to debate the tools or debate the order. And once you figure that stuff out you can just go and do it.
Melissa: Exactly! If you can put your brain on autopilot while you’re cleaning and listen to a podcast or listen to some great music. If you watch TV, obviously you’re never going to clean. [laughs]
John: I will take a subtle podcast plug any time, so thank you. Thank you, Melissa.
Sherry: John loves to tell people to listen to the podcast AS they listen to our podcast. [laughs]
Melissa: There’s a GREAT podcast that you can listen to while you’re cleaning!
Sherry: What do you think is the biggest mistake people are making when they clean their home? Maybe they don’t feel like they can’t get started. They have the motivation, but they’re just doing it wrong and you see it time and time again and just want to help them.
Melissa: I think the mistake that people make is having the all or nothing mentality, thinking you have to do EVERYTHING right now and it has to look perfect. Because that is the best way to get yourself not psyched up to clean. Because you feel like, “Oh my gosh, my house has to look amazing. I don’t know how to do all this stuff. I don’t know what products to use.
But I think for people to get started and to sort of avoid that mistake – just having a cleaning routine or a cleaning schedule is really helpful along with being really nice to yourself. Saying it doesn’t have to look perfect. I just have to do whatever level of cleanliness I can possibly attain during this cleaning, and that’s good enough for me. And then of course learning those products, tools, and techniques will help make that happen as quickly and efficiently as possible.
Sherry: I loved your tip for taking a microfiber cloth and sort of draping it over the end of a mop and wrapping that with an elastic, so it looks like a little ghost. And then you can use it for cobwebs on the ceiling and flip it over and use it for the baseboards which are like my least favorite thing to clean.
Melissa: Yeah, I call it the high dusting ghost. I mean, look, you have to kind of make fun of cleaning because it can be a bit of a boring topic, so I tried to find ways to make it fun. But, you know, a great little tip for me what I learned, and it was absolutely game-changing for cleaning and it’s what I call the S pattern. And if you can imagine for a moment what you would see someone do if they were to clean a window. They’d probably take a cloth and just go in a circular buffing motion and try to clean a window. And I can tell you as someone who has literally studied cleaning for the past ten and a half years, that motion – that circular, buffing motion – is like the worst possible thing you can do. You’re taking a clean cloth. You’re wiping it over a dirty surface, and then you’re coming right back up onto the surface that you just cleaned and you’re redepositing the dirt right there. So not only are you exhausting your arm, but the work you’re doing is completely useless.
So the trick is this S pattern. If you can imagine taking a cloth and starting at the top right-hand corner of a surface, whether it’s a window or a table pretty much works for any surface aside from your floors. And you basically take your hand, you go from the top right over to the top left, and then you sort of zig back down over to the right. Zig back down over to the left, and you sort of make this big S. And your cloth will always capture all of the dirt and bring it downward toward the bottom so that you’re never redepositing any dirt, and if done with a microfiber cloth it gives you a really nice, streak-free shine.
John: That makes so much sense because I think about when you’re, like, squeegeeing a windshield you don’t want to go back over the areas and spread the water back where you just dried. You want to keep moving it down the windshield.
Sherry: Yeah, like when I do our house’s windows I make sort of a box. I have those little grids in my windows and I follow the grid. And every time the corner I start with, it has dust in it. And now that I’m thinking about it, it’s because the dust comes back around and lands in that first corner because I’m making a square with it.
Melissa: Precisely. And this is the thing, once you start using this S pattern, cleaning changes! It becomes easier, it becomes faster, and your results are better.
Sherry: Well, I love that tip. And I also wonder if you have any cleaning product tips because I know you have some eco-friendly homemade ideas in the book, and they’re especially great for cheapos like me because they’re like, just pennies per usage.
Melissa: There are so many, but I’ll give you a couple of basics. The first one that I love is just all-purpose cleaner, and you can use this on pretty much any surface in the home. I wouldn’t use it on glass only because the soap might streak. But what I would recommend is just to take two cups of water – plain water – put it into a clear spray bottle. Label it so you know what it is, and then add about a teaspoon of dish soap. And this could not be any more simple to make. It couldn’t be any less expensive to make! It’s so easy to do, but it can clean the majority of surfaces in your home. And if you want to ever jazz that recipe up, you can always throw in a few dashes of your favorite essential oils which is a really fun thing to experiment with. It gives you this lovely smell.
And also, as you probably know, some essential oils have really beneficial properties to them – like they might be anti-microbial or anti-bacterial. So they’re also really great for cleaning that way too. And then I’ll tell you about another one of my recipes that I ABSOLUTELY love. And you guys have to try this one and let me know how it goes. It is designed to replace like a cream cleaner – you know something that you would use to clean a tub or a sink. And it’s just equal parts baking soda and dish liquid. And you stir it together just with your finger. It’s pretty safe to use. And you apply it with a sponge onto your affected area, and then just let it sit for a minute and do its thing. Flip your sponge over to the scrubby side and then just start scrubbing, obviously using the S-pattern – now that we talked about it you know exactly what it is. And then rinse it off, and you’ll see it’s an incredible product to get rid of grime and soap scum. It’s a great degreaser, too. So that one, I mean it could not be easier. It’s so safe to use and it’s incredibly effective.
John: What would you say is one totally satisfying thing someone could stand up right now while they’re listening to the podcast and do to make them feel more on top of their cleaning routine?
Melissa: Okay, number one answer – your kitchen sink. Get your sink empty, and then give it a good scrub down. Use that mix of baking soda and dish soap that I just told you about. Rinse it with hot water and then polish it up with a microfiber cloth or a dish cloth. I am convinced that a clean sink, it’s like a bit of a natural high! [Sherry laughs] Like I just feel so happy. And I find that can often kick-start the want to do more cleaning after that.
John: It’s so funny you say that because I feel like part of our routine is, like, kind of having little checkpoints around the day. Like I make sure after we’re all done with breakfast and everyone’s off to school and we’re getting ready to transition to work – I always have to make sure that the kitchen sink is empty. It’s like that signal that I’m mentally clear to dive into the next thing.
Sherry: It’s like his neurosis, and I’ll put my tea mug in there but I intend to use it six more times because I keep making myself tea throughout the day.
John: I’ll be like, “Nope! Nope! This goes in the dishwasher. It’s empty.”
Sherry: I go back in, and it’s not in the sink anymore because John is methodically emptying the sink, and I’m like “stop putting it in the dishwasher! I just want it to sit there.” So now I’ve learned to put it on the cutting board so that I can just keep re-using it because anything that goes in the sink is just gone. It’s as if there’s a little gnome that sits in the sink emptying it, but it’s really John.
Melissa: And you know what’s so funny? The fact that you guys, I mean you work together, you’re husband and wife, and the way that you both talk about cleaning is so common among couples. You know, everybody has their shtick! He likes something this way, she likes something that way. And cleaning is really interesting because it’s sort of this negotiating process that everyone in the family has to go through. But I find especially between spouses or partners it’s a real learning experience, you know? You have to learn how to give, how to receive, how to accept, how to tolerate. It’s a real good life lesson don’t you think?
Sherry: Totally. Yeah, and I was just thinking about with our kids. We have tried to set them up for success so we create systems – even something as simple as “there is a basket where your shoes can go and there is a hook for your backpack.” And we’re essentially trying to train them to do things on autopilot. It kind of goes back to the beginning of our conversation because I think the more that you can do things on autopilot, the better. I don’t think John is intentionally stealing my mug. He’s just cleaning the sink on autopilot. And so I think that if we can all do that as a household, it hums at a higher efficiency than if nobody knew where to put anything or what to do.
Melissa: Well kudos to you guys for doing that! I mean, you know, setting your kids up the way that you have, it’s such a wonderful service that you’re offering them because when they’re older they’re not going to hopefully, God willing, they’re not going to struggle with cleaning. And I think, you know, when I speak to people in our audience, and they say, you know, no one’s taught me how to clean. Or, I want to live in a clean house but no one in my family cares about cleaning. Like, the skills that you’re teaching them now from such a young age, these are skills that they’ll carry with them for the rest of their lives.
John: I can’t say we’re always successful at it. [laughs]
Sherry: Yeah, I was just going to say I need to clarify that I’m really good at tidying and organizing, and where I struggle is the actual cleanliness like the scrubbing and the vacuuming. Reading your book, it’s weird to say this out loud, but it made me actually want to do those things. Just even you describing the S-pattern, I suddenly want to dust the top of my TV cabinet that I’m staring at because I know it’s dusty, but I would have dusted that in the wrong pattern. Now I want to try out the S-pattern.
Melissa: Yeah! And that’s the thing. Like I find as you build this skill, it’s so funny but cleaning really is like a confidence builder. And when you see that you’re getting good at something you actually want to do it more. Like why would you ever want to roast a turkey if you burned the turkey every time? So, it’s the exact same with cleaning. Once you start to develop that skill, it won’t feel so daunting.
John: Well Melissa, it’s been so good talking to you and these are great tips.
Melissa: Thank you guys so much for having me on the show! It’s been a lot of fun!
Sherry: Take care, Melissa!
John: Well if you guys want to check out some of Melissa’s videos on her Clean My Space YouTube page, we’ll put a link to it in the show notes at kokokara.info/podcast along with a link to her new book also called . And, I’ve actually got a cleaning related “We’re Digging” this week.
John: But first, we’re going to take a quick break.
Sherry: This week’s episode is brought to you by Thomas Avenue Ceramics, an online tile shop where you can get advice from an expert and pick just the right tile for the job without ever leaving your desk chair or your sofa.
John: And the two guys who started Thomas Avenue come from a long line of tile makers and sellers, and they learned firsthand that running a tile business takes more than just having great tile. Here’s Justin Malloy, one of the co-founders.
Justin: After I graduated college, I went and worked for my dad and started in the warehouse like shuffling samples and packing up stuff. So we learn from the ground up. And it’s corny to say, like, you’re passionate about something, but this is the thing that I know how to do. And when we take that and we translate it into the online world, I don’t think the principles or the tenets of your business should change. I want us to stand out because the service was fantastic. “Oh, those people over at Thomas Avenue, they helped us out way beyond what they needed to do.” That’s the kind of word of mouth that I’m looking for. I mean, we can find great product, but finding great people is a lot different.
John: You can get all your tile questions answered through their live chat feature on the website. Sometimes it’s even Justin himself on the other end.
Sherry: They also have a quantity calculation guide, 99-cent tile samples, design tips, and more. Just head over to .
John: And to get 20% off your next tile order, use discount code YHL20.
[ad music ends]
John: Shall we hit the “We’re Digging” music?
[funky fresh beat that just makes you wanna dance]
John: So this week I’m digging something called the .
Sherry: [laughs] I should have known!
John: So this is a sponge as the name probably implies. I think my mom actually gave it to me, maybe even as a Father’s Day gift a while ago?
Sherry: Yes, it was many years ago! We keep buying Scrub Daddies! [laughs]
John: She saw the term “daddy” she’s like “Oh, this seems good for Father’s Day gift.” [Sherry laughs] I think it’s a Shark Tank product too.
Sherry: Is it? Oh, I didn’t know that.
John: Yeah, I think so.
Sherry: I thought it was an “As Seen On TV”, but maybe that’s the same thing.
John: It deserves both titles. [Sherry laughs] Because basically it’s this little round sponge that looks like a face, and it’s…
Sherry: It’s yellow, bright yellow.
John: Well they sell them in multiple colors now.
Sherry: Oh, do they?
John: I stick with the yellow ones because I’m a purist. [Sherry laughs] But the cool thing about it – because you’re sort of like, “Okay, what? It’s a gimmicky sponge” – but it’s made of this material that changes its texture based on the water temperature. So if you’re using cold water it’s, like, stiff and …
Sherry: It’s almost like steel wool.
John: Yeah, it’s really coarse.
Sherry: Like you’d use it to scrub a pot that you cooked, like, rice in that got stuck to the bottom.
John: [in a funny voice] That stubborn, stuck-on grease.
Sherry: Oh, geez! Here he goes in infomercial mode! [laughing]
John: Right, exactly! But then if you put warm water or hot water on it, it softens up and becomes more like the texture of a regular sponge.
Sherry: I didn’t even think I knew that about Scrub Daddy. [laughing] For years I’ve been faithfully ignoring Scrub Daddy and letting John have all the fun! [laughs
John: You just thought it was my little friend in the sink?
Sherry: [cracking up] Exactly! That’s pretty smart actually.
John: Yeah, I mean I’m just kind of wooed by it I guess because the magic of it. But it is useful because in one thing you get the normal, just kind of wiping of a sponge. And then also the coarse scrubbing of like the grittier side of your sponge. I also noticed they now have something called a ?!
Sherry: [laughs] Oh, is that the one I use?
John: No, what it looks like is that one actually has two sides. It has the kind of Scrub Daddy side, but then it also has a more traditional sponge side.
Sherry: So which part of the Scrub Mommy is for more heavy-duty scrubbing? The original Scrub Daddy part?
John: Yes. Exactly.
Sherry: This makes complete sense! [laughs]
John: The Mommy side is the softer side.
Sherry: Oh! [laughs]
John: The more gentle, caring, affectionate side.
Sherry: Okay, got it. What if you find Scrub Mommy and Scrub Daddy under the sink just, like, snuggling?
John: That’s how you get scrub babies. [Sherry laughs] They’re little tiny sponges. And I will say the face is kind of convenient because you can stick your fingers through the two holes.
Sherry: I’ve heard that the smile is for the spoon. Do you know that about it?
John: Oh my gosh! I’m learning!
Sherry: I’ve seen this on the infomercial. There’s a curved smile. But you know you if you stir something with a spoon, it’s bent?
Sherry: You can stick the spoon right through the smile, and it supposedly scrubs the spoon.
John: I’ve just been putting on plays with it.
Sherry: Ha ha! Yeah, you’re like [cartoon voice], “Dooby dooby doo! Hi kids, you want to wash?”
John: [cartoon voice] “What would you like me to clean next, Mr. John?” [laughing] I’ll put a link to the Scrub Daddy and Scrub Mommy in the show notes at kokokara.info/podcast. I think we’ve covered enough of my cleaning weirdness though for today.
Sherry: Let’s move into shoe weirdness, which is my category.
John: [sarcastically] Oh, fantastic.
Sherry: [laughs] Okay, so a long time ago – I think it was episode 28 – I talked about my short girl jeans that I’m obsessed with. This is sort of a follow-up of a shoe that I really like. It works with the jeans so you can wear them together, or if you have any jeans anywhere or pants anywhere …
John: Is it a shoe for short girls?
Sherry: I mean it doesn’t hurt if you’re short because it has like a three- or three-and-a-half inch heel. I like it because I am not someone who can wear like a five-inch stiletto heel, and I don’t like a platform because I feel like I’m just going to topple over. I just feel unsteady. So this is a wood stacked heel – so anyone listening – John’s not going to understand what this means…
Sherry: But I’m holding up the shoe…
John: I’ll be back in a few minutes. I’m tuning out. [Sherry laughs]
Sherry: It’s a stacked wood heel, so it’s very solid looking. It’s not a little, teeny stiletto. You don’t feel like you’re going to slip or fall in these shoes because they’re really substantial. They’re by Vince Camuto. I hope I’m saying that right. I think he’s Italian! [laughs] Good old, Vince! And the thing that’s cool – they’re booties, but they have the toe open. Which at first scared me because it felt a little bit too… fashion-forward for me. Like, why am I wearing sandal/booty? Like, why are my toes out in a booty? But what I realize is that they go with everything. They go with dresses. They go with denim skirts. Because of the little sandal-ish aspect, they look great with jeans and pants AND with dresses and skirts.
John: Did they go with your Thrift Store Date Night outfit?
Sherry: They didn’t because I wasn’t allowed to WEAR them because I had to wear these weird square-toed Nine West shoes from the ’80s that I was given by the person who had me. But I got these bottles in black. I think they come in some other colors. They have a little cut-out part in the ankle. I’ll put a picture of them in the show notes, and I’ll link to them. I just think they’re a really good staple as long as there’s not snow on the ground or probably rain because you wouldn’t want your toes out in the rain. They’re good with jeans and a sweater. And I think they’re equally cute with like a summery dress with your little toes out. Paint your toes a bright color!
John: And just like I piggybacked on Sherry’s jeans, I’m going to put a link to MY shoes.
Sherry: [laughing] Which shoes?
John: You love my shoes!
Sherry: Which shoes? Oh, those sneakers?
John: Yeah, they’re laceless. They’re very casual, they’re very comfortable.
Sherry: They’re super cute.
John: You do have to break them a little bit, but I’m totally going to rebuy them once these become too dirty to wear in public.
Sherry: [sarcastically] Anyone who’s wondering what John’s wearing on his feet, hustle on over to the show notes where you’ll have that information.
John: End this podcast on a high note!
[theme music playing]
Sherry: Thanks for listening to kokokara Has A Podcast where you get to hear us slaughter the pronunciation of new words every week.
John: If you enjoyed this episode, we’d be really grateful if you took a moment to leave a rating and review on iTunes. They help new people discover the show which helps us keep this thing going, which feels pretty win-win for everyone involved.
Sherry: And keep telling us what you do while you listen. Like Barry on Twitter who listened while shoveling his walkway. Or, as he put it, “organizing some snowflakes.”
John: And head over to kokokara.info/podcast for all the bonus links, photos, and info from this episode – like some of Melissa’s handy cleaning videos.
Sherry: And us in our crazy Thrift Store Date Night get-ups! I’m already embarrassed at the thought of you guys seeing them.
[theme music ends]
John: But I think… [snorts]
[Sherry cracks up]
John: People don’t even have a sense of all the bodily functions that I edit out of this podcast. Snorts! Coughs! [Sherry laughing hysterically]