Monday, April 1, 2013

Manners Monday: Cleaning Up After Yourself



I hope you all enjoyed a beautiful Easter weekend! Ours was kept very simple and this year we didn't even have a formal Easter lunch or dinner. I missed seeing family but it was nice to do something different this year, just us two (I guess I should be saying just us three now). ;)

It's been a few weeks since I posted a Manners Monday post and like nearly all of the posts I write,  today's post was also inspired by a personal experience. Last night after a late church service we were famished and decided to head out to any sit-down restaurant that was open at that time. Thankfully living close to an airport, that area always has restaurants open later. Upon finishing up our own meal, Paul and I were shocked by the mess left by the table of four sitting beside us. It was a table with two adults, a  10-year old and an 8-year old. There were paper wrappers from straws left on the ground, napkins under the table, on the seat and food as well as other paper wrappers from sugar packets, etc., all over the place. I would have been ashamed of myself if I was that family, they left the table looking like a pigsty.



Today's post is a reminder about the importance of cleaning up after one's self and any kiddos you may have with you. I sometimes hesitate to write certain posts because I don't want to insult my readers. However, when I see certain behavior continually taking place in society, I feel compelled to write such posts because there are clearly many folks who aren't aware that what they are doing is not acceptable behavior.

10 Ways to Clean up After Yourself

1. Tuck in your Chair-When dining anywhere whether it be someone else's home, your own home, a restaurant or fast food location, always tuck in your chair when you leave. Tuck in the chairs of anyone at the table that hasn't done so (I find myself doing this the odd time for hubby). Servers can easily trip over the chair leg and people can get a bag or sweater snagged on a chair back. It just helps create more space and keep a tidy area AND it's the way you found it upon sitting down.

2. Bathroom Paper Towels-Many times in public restrooms there will be the option for paper towels along with hand dryers but I find many just toss the paper towels on the floor, especially if they are handling the door on the way out and there is not a trash can nearby. If this is the case, hold onto the paper towel and toss it into the nearest garbage bin upon exiting. Sometimes if I'm in a washroom and it's relatively clean minus a few random wads of paper towel on the floor, I'll take a clean one to pick them up and toss them. It takes but a few moments to make a cleaner space for everyone.

3. Disposal of Chewing Gum-Many of us endured finding blobs of hard gum under our desk in school or having the unfortunate experience of stepping in hot, melted bubble gum in the summer sun. It's no fun. I see people wad up gum and toss it on the street, sidewalk and other areas all the time. The simple solution is to place it in a tissue and put it in the trash or use the wrapper of a new piece of gum you're going to chew (if it came in one). In a pinch, if I don't have a tissue, receipt or any paper and my gum foil package is near the end, I'll put it into the package until I'm near a trash bin. More on chewing gum etiquette {here}.

4. Clean up After Pets- Your pet is an extension of you. We discussed this topic in detail already here during a previous Manners Monday post on pets. Just a quick reminder that if you have a dog, not only should you have it leashed while going for a walk and carry a plastic bag to pick up any waste that it creates, equally important is to clean up the waste left in your backyard. I have a next-door-neighbor with three dogs that they do not walk. They simply allow the dogs to do their business in the backyard and I'm yet so see them clean it up although I don't see it lying around everywhere per se. All it takes is the first wave of hot weather to remind me it's there and it's not pleasant when we open up all of our windows. Not only is it the polite thing to do but it's one of the jobs that comes with choosing to be responsible for owning a pet.

5. Take Everything You Came With- About a year ago hubby and I had some free passes for Epcot so we decided to spend the day there. While on the monorail, a couple took their belongings and left a bag filled with garbage sitting on the seat. Whatever you choose to bring with you, pick up along the way or purchase, becomes yours. If you no longer want something, it is also your responsibility to take that item with you and dispose of it properly. I also see this happen a lot on subways, airplanes and particularly in church. Bulletins, candy wrappers and all kinds of things are left for the staff to clean up afterwards-completely unnecessary. I cringe when I see people picnic in a park or spend a day at the beach and leave their trash behind to end up in the ocean. It's comes down to laziness and disrespect.

6. Don't be a Slob in a Hotel- Since housekeepers come in just hours after a hotel room has been vacated, many think they can treat their room in a way that they never would at home. They throw trash on the floor instead of placing it in the waste bin, toilet paper gets left on the floor instead of making it into the toilet itself, tissues are left all over the counter along with soap wrappers, etc. Yes you are paying for a room which includes cleaning but the amount of effort it takes to put things where they truly belong is minimal and it shows respect for not only the hotel and housekeeping but for yourself as well. The same holds true for cruise cabins or any other accommodations you'll be staying in. Treat others as you would wish to be treated. If you were the one cleaning the room, how would you hope to find it?

7. Clean Up After Your Kids-Like pets, children of course are always an extension of you. We first discussed raising polite children {here}, which include tips on cleaning up. Sometimes I'll be shopping in a store and see a child spill soda or eat a snack the parent has brought along and pieces are falling out of the cart all over the floor. What's sad is when I see the parent recognize it and keep moving like it never happened. If a child pulls clothing off a store rack, removes items that they shouldn't be touching, it is the parent's responsibility to put the items back where they belong. The same is true in a restaurant where a quick tidy up before leaving is a must. Where I find this to be even more concerning is in the home of a family member of friend. I've watched kids track dirt into someone's home on a muddy day, leave their toys strewn all over a room while 'visiting' and even spill drinks or color where they shouldn't be coloring. It's so important to be respectful and value the property of others when in their home.

8. Properly Disposing of Cigarette Butts- One way to quickly make a beautiful place less attractive is to fill it with discarded, stepped on cigarette butts. Throwing lit cigarettes out the window of stepping on one outside of a storefront is not only unattractive but it litters our earth with trash. I would highly doubt that the person who does this also acts the same way at home. I find it particularly irritating to see stepped-on butts at the end of our driveway from those who walk by via the sidewalk. They are not different than any other kind of trash. If you smoke and must step on the lit part of the cigarette butt, be sure to dispose of it into a trash bin or the cigarette disposals filled with sand outside of an establishment. More on smoking etiquette {here}.

9. Recycle any Recyclables- As someone who has recycled as a young child, it pains me to think of tossing a glass bottle into a garbage bin because where I'm visiting doesn't have a recycling bin. I'll typically take home a glass or plastic bottle if there isn't one nearby. Our city provides us with a large rolling cart so it would be irresponsible to toss it and requires pretty little effort on my part. If we all chose to take home that one bottle or container and recycle it the way it was meant to be, our planet would be a much cleaner place and it's truly the proper way to clean up after yourself and it teaches children at an early age what goes where.

10. Dining as a Guest in Someone's Home- While many hosts will sometimes insist that you should sit because you are the guest. Try to be mindful of what it takes for a host to prepare their home and meal for you to be their guest. Offer to clean up when everyone is finished eating by clearing plates, silverware and discarding napkins, etc. It's a small gesture but every little bit helps your host out. Always offer to help with the dishes or tidying up wine glasses in a sitting room, etc. The host will have a lot to do after the event has ended and will be most grateful for anything that contributes to the clean up. It's also a sure way to get invited back as a guest in the future.




Remember, it's always best to leave an area that you've visited cleaner or at least as clean as you found it. You never know when you'll be the next person in line and besides it's the classy thing to do.

Do you have any you'd like to add to today's list? Is there one thing you see happen over and over that you wish others would be more mindful of? Leave a comment and share your thoughts! :)

Thanks for Reading!

XO




*image credit

17 comments :

  1. Great post!

    http://therealfoodrunner.blogspot.com

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  2. I would love to add to your list by reminding people that it also takes very little effort to clean up after yourself at a public campsite when camping. I often will take recyclables home with me in my vehicle rather than throwing them into the regular garbage. Sure, it's *slightly* more effort for me to take recyclables home, but since the campgrounds don't make it simple to recycle by having bins around the parks, I like to do my part by bringing them home with me. I find it appalling that in today's society, we seek to escape our everyday world by camping in nature, only to leave a terrible mess in our wake, or buy heavily packaged convenience items to make our camp stay that much easier. I try to by normal items I would make and eat at home and pack them into reusable containers to take camping. Convenience items are not only very pricey but our environment pays for the waste as well.
    ~S

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    1. Stacey,

      Thanks for stopping by to share your thoughts on the importance of cleaning up while camping. :) I haven't camped in a while (and miss it. I too used to find the mess other campers left behind rather disrespectful and frustrating also. I'm with you on buying regular food items and using reusable containers. There is so much plastic waste in the pre-packaged items.

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  3. Good advice Karla. I can only imagine the things that the cleaning staff at various hotels, restaurants and other public places have to deal with while doing their jobs.

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  4. I once worked at the Empire State Building. A very historic landmark in a relatively affluent part of the city, you might assume that the people working there would have better class. Unfortunately you would have assumed wrong. The building does have a cleaning staff much like a hotel and apparently this makes some of the corporate employees feel entitled to behave in ways that I hadn't seen since High School. Everything from plates, utensils, menus, and even ties, jackets and shoes, would be left on the tables and chairs of the eating areas for the cleaning staff to pick up. Absolutely shameless.

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    1. Wow, it is pretty unfortunate to see grown adults who lack such manners and common sense. Perhaps these folks have staff at home who tidy up after them so they behave the same way at work. Thanks for sharing this example! :)

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  5. Karla, great post! I agree with you completely. I am always shocked how people leave a movie theater with popcorn on the floor and seats, napkins, drink cups and other trash all over. I'd be ashamed! Same thing with any game. I went to see a hockey game yesterday and when leaving had to step over all kinds of trash, while carrying my own and disposing it to a garbage bin, which are btw on every corner. Not to mention restaurants (same as your experience), beaches, parking lots, etc. Don't even get me started! I too pick up the paper towels in bathrooms like you or pick up stray paper/trash on the lawn anywhere. I think if everyone did this, our world would be a much cleaner and more pleasant place to be.

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    1. I totally agree, Evelyn. If everyone just took an extra moment to be mindful of leaving a tidy space, it would make the world a much cleaner and pleasant place for sure! Thanks for taking the time to comment. :)

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  6. Good post! I would add that many people I know personally who are messy in public are often the same at their own homes. It is our tendency, as well-meaning human beings, to assume that the homes of most people are nice and livable inside, but I'd say the greater majority suffer in at least once way from messiness, mismanagement, clutter, dirt, or even filth. It's sad.

    ~Tabitha

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    1. You are so right, Tabitha. Generally a person's level of cleanliness follows them. Good point! :)

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  7. I get made fun of all the time at restaurants, because our table is practically spotless before I walk away! Sometimes I'll even scrape all uneaten food onto one plate so they can be stacked! Plus I worked in a restaurant when I was younger - you always want the people who handle your food to be happy! They will remember you the next time you visit!

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    1. I do too, Sylvie! I get made fun of for stacking the plates (cleanest on bottom with all the food on the top plate) and organizing everything close to the end of the table for the server to easily pick up. I tend to organize the salt/pepper shakers and make sure everything looks as neat as possible-it's a good habit! :) You are so right, having worked as a server I guess I just want to make their job a bit easier and it takes no effort for me to do so. Yes, they will remember people that make them happy! Thanks for sharing your story. :)

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  8. Oh my goodness, such a great and helpful post. My hubby always stacks the plates at restaurants before we leave the table and I always push all the food onto one plate. Great post, love. If you a get a sec, I'd love to hear your thoughts on my latest. xo

    www.fashboulevard.blogspot.com

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    1. It's so great to hear we aren't the only plate stackers. ;) I'm glad you enjoyed the post. I'll be sure to check yours out also!

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  9. Hi,

    I found your blog on pinterest a few weeks ago and I really enjoy reading it. Your post are interesting and the etiquette tips you give are very useful!
    I always try to be neat and at my best behavior, and I often think about how we can make life easier and more pleasent for each other.
    Unfortunately, everybody is not willing to make an effort to think about others and even less on strangers... I do not like telling people when I think their behaviour is wrong, I prefer to look the other way and smile and act like nothing happened. But sometimes you have to engage. And how do you do that in a classy way?

    I had an experience about this a few weeks ago, and I'm hoping to get your and maybe your readers thoughts!

    I was on the metro with a classmate from my university when she picks up her phone and starts to play loud music. I did not feel comfortable with her doing so since I found it disturbing and disrespectful to the other passengers. I lowered my voice and said in a kind way: "Hey, I like this song too, but I don't think the other passengers are enjoying it". She just shrugged, and I continued: "Maybe you could turn down the volume?". She looked at me as I was stupid and said with a amused voice: "I don't care what you or any other person thinks. I want to hear this song." (!)

    And what to you respond to that..? I do not know this girl, if a close friend had behaved like this (though, I'm happy to say that I find it unlikely) I think I would have done something more. In this situation I didn't know what to do or say, she clearly wasn't going to change her mind. So what is the classy thing to do when you find yourself in situations like this one?

    Love, K-M in Sweden

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    1. Thanks for your question, K-M! I'm so glad you're enjoying my blog. :) I think you handled the situation the best way that you could, in a very classy and matter of fact manner without offending her and still being polite.

      Based on her response, it sounds as though she is quite self-centered and clearly does not care how she affects those around her. In such cases, there really isn't anything more that you can do. Some people are just rude and very self-involved and we're not going to change them nor is it our place to do so.

      Had it have been a friend (which I'm sure would have been unlikely as you mentioned), the same holds true, you cannot make someone change their behavior or act differently. You can however, choose afterwards if it's the kind of person you want to associate with. When I find people embarrassing to be around and who clearly have no regard for others, I remove myself from the situation. Even if it involves walking further down the aisle and sitting elsewhere on the Metro to give you an example for your example. It will serve two purposes-it will remove you from the person you do not wish to be around at that moment and will hopefully let the other person subtly know that you don't care for nor will tolerate such behavior and lack of manners.

      I hope you find these suggestions helpful. To my readers: Please leave a comment if you have other recommendations to share with K-M! :)

      Warmly,
      Karla

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    2. Thank you so much for your response!

      I'm glad to read that you think I handled the situation well. I feel so too. In these things it is always nice to hear that your "inner-etiquette-voice" is telling you the right thing. :-)

      And that is a great advice, to remove yourself from the situation! Next time I'm in a akward situation I'll just excuse myself and leave. A perfect way to make your point and still maintain style and class! :-)

      Thanks again and have a great weekend!
      K-M

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Thanks for stopping by, your comments make my day! I read every single one and will answer any questions you have. I hope you'll visit again soon! :)

Warmly,
Karla

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