Thursday, November 10, 2011

A Blinding Project

I tackled another project this week: cleaning the blinds in my bedroom. I have two big windows like this:

The picture (and horrible lighting) make it really hard to tell, but the windows are bi-ig. Which means the blinds are bi-ig. And dirty. Because the windows here in Florida are not airtight. Its the wierdest thing! I mean, what keeps the heat in?? Oh wait...

The point is, the non-air-tight windows let dirt in, especially when it rains. So the blinds were dirty. Here was my plan:

1. Take blinds down
2. Put them in the bathtub to soak, while I go out and blow leaves.
3. Drain the water and allow them to dry.
4. Hang them back up.


What really happened:

I got up on the bed to take the blinds down, and decided I needed to wash the curtains, too. Those came down and went in the washer, and I got to work taking the blinds down. These blinds had the most peculiar way of covering up the hardware that I've ever seen. It was just two slats, clipped in these little plastic clips. Easy enough!

I just unclipped those babies...

...and then I could get to the actual blind. The top part is held in these end brackets by the front cap.

Which is easy enough to just slide out.

Then I ran into the second thing I've never seen, these interesting clips that supported the top part of the blinds. I just slid the whole thing up and out (there was about 4 of these spaced across the top of the window frame).

Once I slid it out of those brackets, we had lift off! I immediately discovered two things:
                 1. I should have raised the blinds first
                 2. Now I understand why those brackets are there...this thing is h.e.a.v.y.

It would have been mucho easier if another person had been on the other end. Picture me, standing on the edge of the bed, leaning waaaay over to lift the blinds out of those brackets, and then having to suspend all 500 feet of these things in the air. Yeah, that is why two are better than one. But moving on...

I had read somewhere that putting blinds in the bathtub to soak is the easiest way to clean them. Then I could just use my shower head to spray them off. Sounds super easy, right? So I carried my blinds to the bathroom (surprisingly, without breaking anything on the way) only to discover...

...duh Nicole, that 500 feet of blinds aren't going to fit in there! On to plan two!

Lay them out on the porch and hose 'em off. In hindsight, I would have sprayed the porch off really good first, because I ended up carrying a little grass in with me when all was said and done, but on the whole, it worked well.

I grabbed this cleaner - it is multi-surface Windex with vinegar. And its on the greenlist, which sounds good. I sprayed the blinds down really good, trying to move the slats around so the cleaner could work everywhere.

It was here that I decided to let them "sit" for a few minutes. Really give that cleaner time to work, ya know? The honest truth is there was two old men at the neighbors that were creeping me out. They had been working, but now they were just standing in the street and I felt like they were watching me. Hate that feeling. So I went inside until they left. And if those two old men are reading this, yes, I am the neighbor that was taking pictures of her blinds on the front porch. And you were staring because.....????

They left a few minutes later, so I went out and sprayed...and sprayed...and sprayed.

I picked them up, turned them over, and just kept spraying until I felt like every inch of it had been sprayed down. I didn't know if they would dry out there (the porch was a big puddle by now) so I laid out towels on the floor and brought them in to dry that way.

It worked well! They dried very fast, which was a good thing, because Nicole does NOT sleep in a room with nothing over the windows...and at this point my windows looked liked this:

Yeah, I don't do that. At all. I have been known to put towels over windows when I am in other people's houses. Even when I stayed in a house on top of a mountain in the foothills of the Rockies when the only thing that would ever look through my window was bear or elk. Doesn't make a lick of difference.

Fast-forward a couple hours. The blinds were dry, the curtains were cleaned and dried, and the whole shebang went back up (I'll spare you the gory details...just scroll up and read it all backwards).

And would you just look at the uh-mazing difference??

Ok, ok, I know you can't tell ANY difference in the before and after. But seriously, in real life, you can. Just not in the picture. I left the blinds extended all the way over night to make sure they were completely dry. I also had to go over some of them and separate some of the slats that were stuck together. But I LOVE how they turned out! Just trust me that they look cleaner than when I started!

So would it have been easier to just buy new blinds? Yeah, totally. But I can only imagine how much blinds that are 500 feet long cost, and remember, 1) this isn't my house, and 2) I don't have an income. So cleaning them works for me (aka, it was free). And I'm a big fan of leaving things better than when I got here. So even though it didn't exactly go as planned, it was worth it. And I used my remaining daylight (which isn't much these days, in case you hadn't noticed) to blow leaves. Mission accomplished.

Have you ever tackled a seemingly easy project that turned into something a little more complicated? How do you wash your blinds? Or, do you wash them at all? I don't know if I want to know about that. ;)

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