In Tucson, we’re known for naming our neighborhoods. Places like Palo Verde, Sam Hughes, and so forth. Many of these neighborhoods are older homes, especially so in Sam Hughes, built between the 1940’s and 1950’s, with a few even dating back to the 1930’s. A lot of these homes are even made of adobe. They’re often built on lots that give them, in essence, large yards. But we’re in a desert. Nearly all of us don’t have grass lawns and rightfully so. The water bill would be enormous and even then it might not last.


Sam Hughes: Classic Cleaning In Tucson


Housekeeping Tips for Sam Hughes and Older Neighborhoods

Living on these lots in Sam Hughes or Palo Verde creates some interesting cleaning quirks that ought to be addressed. If you’re new to Tucson, this will help you to understand the various things that can be tracked into your home.


1.) Goat Head Thorns

If you’ve stepped on one of these barefoot, then you know what these are—and haven’t forgotten it, either. These are tri-pointed thorns with long spines that look like a “goat head”. Thus, they always land on the ground with a torn facing up. Those of us here who ride bikes know these can even puncture a bike tire. So what happens is you step on these and the thorn then hitches a ride into your home. It falls off and guess when you’ll find it? Right, when you’re walking barefoot. So when you’re cleaning the house, you need to be especially on the lookout for these painful reminders of mindfulness in our daily walk. If a maid service like Maids by Trade does your housekeeping, then they’ll already be aware of these household hazards.


2.) Pea Gravel

Tucson has a city law that says weeds in the yard may not be higher than 6 inches. And code enforcement guys from the city have been known to prowl the neighborhoods of Sam Hughes and Palo Verde, as one of my neighbors discovered. Well, with winter rains or late summer monsoons, weeds pop up in the yard thickly because, well, they’ve adapted to grow here in our desert. To avoid visits from the city code enforcement guy, many people in places like Sam Hughes and Palo Verde have laid a layer of pea gravel on their yards to discourage the weeds and also keep down the dust. But guess what? Any shoe that is not smooth-soled will pick up this gravel and, once in the house, of course it will fall out of the ribs in the sole of the shoe. Of course it will, I say, because we all know this if we’ve lived in Tucson for any length of time. While it doesn’t usually draw blood like the goat head thorns, it is still painful to step on barefoot. Plus, the bigger pebbles will get sucked up into a vacuum and damage the vanes in the interior. So these must be searched out even before vacuuming. Of course, a professional house cleaning service like Maids by Trade will already be mindful of this.


3.) Black Widow Spiders

Look, this is an insect of the desert. They live here. And, if you don’t dust those corners regularly, one can enter the house and set up shop even in the most well-swept houses. Because they go for the corners above the floors and that’s where they spin their webs. In some house corners, you might not even see them during the day. They are nocturnal spiders. They come out at night. The key to avoiding this is keeping the walls dusted and clean at the corners. This is where a professional home cleaner really pays off in not just cleanliness, but safety. The thing about these spiders is you often cannot see the web. Unless your home has the corners cleaned regularly, yes, a Black Widow can come in and set up shop quickly.


Dust Bunnies: What creates these anyway? Well, many people in Tucson have dogs or cats.


4.) Dust

There’s no way around this—we’re in a desert obviously. The wind blows here, too, as we all know. Many of our older homes here in Tucson neighborhoods like Sam Hughes and Palo Verde have the older jalousie-style windows that never do truly seal when closed. Dust gets in that way. Dust also comes in from your evaporative cooler (“swamp cooler”) at times. Older swamp coolers will also blow in rust from the bottom of the cooler. You wondered what all that black dust is in the house? Those weird flakes? It’s rust from the cooler. Yes, sweeping is often a daily job. But a maid service/housekeeping service can get the places you might overlook. And with dust, there’s lots of them.


5.) Dust Bunnies

What creates these anyway? Well, many people in Tucson have dogs or cats. Dogs are especially popular in Sam Hughes and the older Tucson neighborhoods. These pets shed hair. You yourself shed hair. That hair falls to the floor where the fan or swamp cooler blows it around and it attaches itself to more hair, and then picks up dust along the way. Look under the couch and you’ll probably see a whole herd of them. It takes diligent effort to keep after them. But over time, they tend to accumulate in places you might not think of. A housekeeping service will know those places. That’s what they do.


These are just a few hints. Wait until the monsoons get here. Then we can add mud tracked into the house. But the key to it all is mindfulness in housekeeping. If our mind is present in cleaning the house, then we see the goat head thorns and pea gravel in our housekeeping. Then we see the almost-invisible spider web in the dim corner by the door. Because our mind is not distracted and thinking of other things, we can see the house. Our mind is in housekeeping, not distraction-keeping. But if our mind is on other things, we’re not really seeing the house. We’re seeing what is distracting us and overlooking the thorns, gravel, and spider webs. Mindfulness is key: Be cleaning the house.