life in a tiny apartment.

May 1, 2013

Tip #62: Mop your floors.

Friends, spring is finally getting here. I’ve worn sandals, I’ve stood awkwardly close to other people’s flowers and sniffed them, I’ve flung open the windows and planted seeds outside…thank you, landlord.

I know that I wrote about cleaning last week, but this week is less of an entreaty to share domestic duties and more of an encouragement to simply mop your floor.

In our last apartment, James and I were enthusiastic floor moppers. The vast expanses of hardwoods in our Providence apartment were sloping and pitted and had us mildly concerned that we might soon fall into our downstairs neighbors’ laps during dinner. But they were clean. Or rather, they weren’t clean and so we cleaned them. Constantly. I think that we thought that if we just mopped one more time, the faint odor of cat urine would finally dissipate. Forever optimistic.

Here in Brooklyn, there’s no cat odor. That combined with the fact that we store our mop in our padlocked hall closet means that our impulse to mop has withered considerably.

But with the arrival of warmer weather and bare feet, you begin to notice things. First you remember that living in New York and daring to walk the streets in anything but high-top converse sneakers means that you need to scrub your feet upon returning home. Then you realize after scrubbing your bare feet that they rapidly become dirty again. And it’s because of your floor.


We generally remove our shoes upon coming into our apartment, but there are those moments when I’m all ready to head out the door and I remember with horror that I haven’t brushed my teeth. Lord knows I’m not going to unlace those high-tops for just one quick trip to the bathroom…and so it begins.

This weekend we mopped*. More precisely, we began to mop and then abandoned the mop for some old-fashioned scrubbing on our hands and knees. I’m not going to claim that whistled while we worked or anything, but the whole process only took about 20 minutes. More importantly, our floors are sparkling. So are the bottoms of our feet.

*If you’re curious: we used a combo of warm water, peppermint essential oil and basic dish soap (we love Common Good). Someday, I want this.

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  • Reply J and H from Beyond The Stoop May 1, 2013 at 2:30 pm

    my boyfriend is obsessed with mopping. I guess it's better than NOT being obsessed with mopping 😉 we take our shoes off too, and it doesn't matter if we JUST swept the floors, we could always sweep up more dirt.

    living in a 100+ year old brownstone has it's ups and downs sometimes (definitely more ups than downs though of course :P)


    • Reply Erin May 2, 2013 at 12:43 pm

      yes, amazing isn't it? sweeping is definitely a daily activity around here.

  • Reply Tidy-Up Gal May 1, 2013 at 2:47 pm

    I love Common Good as well. I use their tub+tile cleaner. I mop my floors the traditional way – a bucket with a little bit of dish soap, and a clean washcloth. I've tried Swiffer and co, but my floors feel cleaner when I get on my hands and knees!

    • Reply Erin May 2, 2013 at 12:43 pm

      Glad you love Common Good–they're up to good things!

  • Reply lisaathome May 1, 2013 at 2:53 pm

    I hate dust- and in a little place in the city, it's just a daily battle. I sweep and wipe up with microfiber clothes and method solution, but it's never really clean, clean. The woes of living in a hundred + year old place!

  • Reply Anonymous May 1, 2013 at 4:11 pm

    De-lurking to say that this was just the kick in the pants I needed to get mopping again. I used to sweep and mop twice a week, and over the last while I've gotten out of the habit. Time to get back to it!

    Also, I read about the coolest places to purchase cleaning products and other stuff on this site – love it, thank you!!!

    • Reply Erin May 2, 2013 at 12:44 pm

      Happy to have you! Thanks for your kind note!

  • Reply Katie May 1, 2013 at 7:56 pm

    I really need to do this! Totally know what you mean – I live in a small apartment too and it's ridiculous how dirty the floor can get.

    Katie x

  • Reply Karin - The F Girl May 1, 2013 at 8:00 pm

    I love freshly mopped floors. The scent, the feeling.

    Sometimes, when I mop the floors, we (the little ones and I) make a game out of it. The couch is an island in the sea. We get some fruit and drinks and camp out on the couch until the floors are dry. It's almost magical 🙂

  • Reply lizzie May 1, 2013 at 8:00 pm

    i have a mop and bucket just like that!! makes mopping LOTS more enjoyable! love your blog too!

    • Reply Erin May 2, 2013 at 12:44 pm

      lucky duck! (thank you)!

  • Reply Anna May 2, 2013 at 1:22 am

    I'm currently in that ancient sloping hardwood/cat pee apartment. The building was built in the 1800's which is cool, but Chicago was still mostly sand and wetland back then and the house has settled so much in the meantime. I tried to bake brownies the other day but because of the angle, half the pan was too thick and underdone and the upper half was thin and burnt! Plus we really want to get a cat but are afraid it will freak out with all the old residual pee that won't go away no matter how many times I douse the floors with baking soda and scrub Cinderella style. Looks like I have a lot of old apartment company here though 🙂

    • Reply Erin May 2, 2013 at 12:45 pm

      Ah, yes! Have you guys tried putting shims under the oven? It worked well for us in our last place!

  • Reply olga May 2, 2013 at 11:28 am

    Much as I hate it, we clean our apt, top to bottom, every weekend. Mopping is a must and with our cat, I sweep daily. Annoying as cleaning so much might be, seeing my floors and furniture clean, makes my heart sing!

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