Household Items To Help You Be An Adult

Household Items To Help You Be An Adult

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Cleaning is an assumed skill. But some people are never really taught the best way to clean. College may be our first foray into picking up after ourselves. And the little money we have as college students is definitely not going to be spent on high-quality cleaning supplies. Most cleaning items I bought were either from the drugstore or some disposable product that the supermarket coupon machine spit out at me. I thought dishwashing was supposed to make your hands smelly. I thought all floor cleaning had to be done with disposable maxi-pads.

Aside from cleaning, there are some general around-the-house items that I thought were only available in low-quality. I can’t say it’s fun to “treat” myself to a nice shower curtain. But it does help me feel like more of an adult. And less like I’m living in an oversized dorm room. Here are some household items that have improved my quality of life when it comes to much-hated chores.


Dishwashing Gloves

Growing up, I always did all the chores. There was a (gross) running joke my stepfather would make in the house, “why should I buy a dishwasher, I have one right here hahahaha” referring to me of course. Washing the dishes was always my most hated chore. I didn’t like it as a teen. And I still don’t like it now. Living alone means no one else will wash the dishes for me. If I don’t do them, they don’t get done. So, I needed to figure out ways to make washing the dishes suck less. That’s when I started using rubber dishwashing gloves. Yes, the traditional yellow ones that are like a housewife in the 50’s. They work great.

Wearing the gloves means:

  1. I can use super hot water which is better for cleaning/hygiene
  2. I can pick-up gross sink stuff without actually touching it
  3. My hands are dry and not smelly when I’m done

 

A good quality pair lasts quite a while so it’s not a big cost issue either.


Better Kitchen Sponges

Another reason to hate washing dishes was the gross sponge that barely lasted a week. Once I actually started buying them on my own, I realized just how quickly I’d go through them. They would fall apart. Or get really smelly. Or get food stuck to them. Of course I was just buying the cheap kind at the drugstore. Fortunately, while browsing Amazon one night, I found some of the best kitchen sponges around: JetzScrubz. It seems silly to be excited over a sponge, but these are great. I bought a pack of three a year ago and have only thrown out one of them.

They will start to get smelly and sometimes too much food gets stuck to it. But they’re durable enough to handle being boiled in water with vinegar or baking soda. I’ve done this several times and they haven’t fallen apart. The reason why they are so effective is because the scouring side of the sponge is also flexible. Where as the cheaper sponges start firm then quickly disintegrate into bits and pieces. The flexibility of the JetzScrubz lets you easily wash the insides of glasses and other difficult-type glass-ware. Obviously I have to do dishes by hand because nyc.

The sponge + soap-in-the-handle contraption gets mentioned a lot but that is still a cheap sponge. Don’t bother with that. Get these awesome sponges and use quality dishsoap too (you’ll use a lot less).


Fabric Shower Curtain Liners

Growing up, we always had the cheap plastic/vinyl shower curtain liners. These were smelly when you took them out of the bag. Then quickly became caked with mildew and even smellier. I was once recommended to wash the liner in the washing machine – that was a bad idea. Instead I’d just throw away several a year. It didn’t seem to matter because they were so cheap. But they were also kind of gross.

Now I only use fabric shower curtain liners. These do have a coating for water-resistance but are not smelly-plastic. They also hang nicer in the shower and are easier to handle in general. No billowing and no suctioning like an octopus. This is important because I have a bathtub converted into a shower. (Again, because nyc). So I have to use two shower curtain liners to wrap around both ends of the tub. The fabric liners fit around the curves perfectly and don’t try to eat me while I’m showering.

They still can get mildew on them but actually wash quite well in the machine. Their upfront cost is a little bit more than the cheap ones but these last a lot longer. Plus they look nicer. I’m at a point in my life where I can spend an extra $5 to get something that looks nice.


Mop & Bucket

I was recently talking to some friends about disposable mops, like, Swiffers. Many of these products were introduced when I was in college. Perfect for my first foray into really cleaning. The commercials made mopping the floor seem like such a struggle. You’ll see the person picking up a bucket with water sloshing all over the floor. And leaving puddles everywhere with a mop. Then in comes a mom with her maxi-pad on a stick breezily cleaning the floor while singing to the birds.

Well, those disposable cleaning products cost a fortune. And they’re also not quite as easy as you’d think. On the other hand, a mop and a bucket are one-time costs and affordable at that. I prefer the sponge mops to the janitor ones. I bought a simple cleaning bucket with a handle. I fill it half-way, this takes maybe one minute, and have yet to spill it. It’s still small enough to fit in the closet. The entire process of mopping takes less than half-an-hour.

Mopping is still fairly new to me because I didn’t have hardwood floors before moving here. With the cats plus my own hair, there is a large amount of fur, hair, and dander that is just impossible to sweep up. Mopping works well. Doesn’t take too long. And the floors feel really great after.


Metal Litterbox Scoop

If you have cats, you probably have a plastic litterbox scooper. While on this cleaning item shopping binge, I noticed good reviews for a metal scooper. I had never thought about it before. I bought it on a whim and have been pleased with it. I won’t go back to plastic. It feels sturdier when scooping. I’m not sure what that says about my cat’s waste but there it is. It doesn’t bend or anything when trying to dig through the box. It’s a lot easier to clean and I’m less worried about bacteria getting into the plastic then everywhere else.

Like the sponges, I do boil the metal scoop. Sometimes I don’t want to wash it by hand (even with the gloves!) and I know boiling it will sanitize it for the most part. This doesn’t take long and is usually something I do on a random Saturday. The less plastic in my life the better (except for saran wrap of course) so I really like using the metal replacement.


Bars of Soap

I’m not sure exactly when everyone transitioned to liquid soap in their home. It’s expensive (yes even the refillable kind). The bottom gets all sticky on your sink. The spout gets clogged and soap will launch out getting all over you except not on your hands. Or you water it down and then you have a handful of gross water that is not doing any cleaning. I hated it. But I used it for a long time because I thought you had to.

My transition to soap bars started in the shower. A long time ago I stopped using shower gel + loofahs. I don’t even remember why other than it’s really expensive. I also stopped using liquid shampoo around that time and now only use a bar. This is a huge cost savings. But it also feels more… formal. And means less bottles lining the bathtub. And less plastic being used. It still took me a while to get around to changing the hand soap. I was afraid guests would balk at it. But no one has. If they hate it, no one tells me.

The trick is to use nice bars of soap. I only buy fragrance-free of anything. But you can still find nice non-smelly bars of soap for cheap. I use a softer feeling one for the sink. Then a more cleaning one for showering. The other trick is to have a quality soap dish. This is a one-time cost and fairly cheap. Just be sure to buy the kind that lets the water drain away from the soap. Otherwise it will turn into a goopy mess.


I’m leaving out diy cleaning ingredients like baking soda and vinegar because I don’t really consider that a part of high-quality adult living. But I do swear by them as cleaners don’t use much else.

What household items, cleaning supplies, or general habits do you have that make you feel more adult-like?

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4 Replies to “Household Items To Help You Be An Adult”

  1. I LOOOOVE this post!

    Nothing really to add, just a couple comments. We bought a steam mop about a year ago – his thing not mine. I actually don’t really like using it though I like the IDEA of it. it’s a gadget that encourages him to clean, so hey.

    I’ve always been about soap bars, and still use soap in the shower (have never been the shower gel + loofah type). But at our new place our bathroom basin is tiny and only has separate hot and cold taps. As a result I decided to try liquid soap – the foamy kind so it lasts way longer – and it’s actually going really well. There’s not really anywhere to put a decent bar of soap and I hate burning my hands under the hot tap – the foam soap washes off really quickly.

    1. I am not familiar with steam mops! After looking them up, they look pretty great. At the very least not throw-aways. I also prefer foam soap if it’s going to be liquid. The spout works much better, which probably helps it to last longer too.

  2. Extra pro tip – if you fold down the ends of the washing up gloves it catches any drips that might roll down your arms and then into the gloves. More useful when cleaning the kitchen amd bathroom but I leave them folded for dishes too.

    1. This is a great idea, thanks! Sometimes pesky water does still get in there so hopefully this will take care of that. And glad I’m not the only one using dishwashing gloves!

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