As anyone who knows me will testify, I’m a little bit of a neat-freak: I can’t concentrate or relax in mess, and it actually makes me feel quite anxious, so I do my best to avoid that by keeping my house as neat as possible.
I don’t, however, spend a huge amount of time cleaning. People who visit our home often comment on how tidy it is, and they often do it in a way that implies they think I’m spending all day down on my hands and knees scrubbing my baseboards (confession: I don’t think I’ve ever scrubbed my baseboards…), but nope, ain’t nobody got time for that. It’s true that I do invest a bit of time in keeping the place clean and tidy, but for the most part I try to arrange things so I don’t actually HAVE to. Here are some ways to keep your house tidy, without feeling like you’re spending half your life cleaning…
01. HAVE LESS STUFF
“Where’s all your stuff?” people often ask when they come into our house, imagining that we have some amazing storage solutions, or shoeper tidying skills which allow us to hide all the clutter at a moment’s notice. The fact is, though, we don’t actually HAVE that much stuff: or not as much as you might think, anyway. Sure, I have a lot of clothes and shoes, and I’ll get to those in a second, but we moved from a tiny house into a much larger one, and the truth is, we actually don’t have enough “stuff” to fill it … yet. I mean, I’m sure we’ll get there in the end, but one thing I’ve learned from this experience is that it’s pretty easy to keep your house tidy when it isn’t crammed with possessions, so my first piece of advice is to get rid of everything you don’t need – and the sooner, the better.
Although we didn’t have a full house to start with, I still have regular clearouts, and the more I clear out, the more ruthless I get. I’ve basically reached a stage now where I’d rather have a tidy house to relax in than yet another item I won’t use to clutter it up with, so I try to only keep the things I know I’m going to use (or which I absolutely can’t bear the thought of getting rid of), and lose the rest.
02. MAKE STORAGE A PRIORITY
Once you’ve cleared everything out, the next step is to try to organise the things that are left. This can be easier said than done, obviously, especially if you’re working with a small space (this is why I recommend getting rid of as much as possible!), but there are so many storage solutions on the market now that it can be done. I personally love Ikea, which has no end up storage solutions, for every imaginable situation, but in both of our last two houses, I’ve had custom shelving built to hold my shoe collection (Luckily Shoeperman was able to do this himself), and it made a big difference to how tidy I was able to keep the place. Obviously everyone’s requirements are different here, but what worked for us was making storage for the things we knew might be tricky a priority: once you have the bulk of your “stuff” out of the way, it’s much easier to deal with whatever’s left!
03. HAVE A ZERO CLUTTER POLICY
I can’t stand clutter – it literally starts to make me feel claustrophobic after a while, so keeping it at bay is another way to keep the house tidy, and allow me to actually relax in it. The basic idea here is that nothing gets allowed to lie around for long, unless it actually belongs there. So, fliers and other junk mail go straight into the bin, rather than lying on the counter-top, dirty dishes go into the dishwasher as soon as we’ve finished using them, laundry gets put away as soon as it’s done, and so on. Of course, there will always be times when things start to pile up despite the best of intentions, but as long as you’re doing your best to stay on top of it, it shouldn’t take too long to deal with it when it does.
04. CLEAN AS YOU GO
Lots of people who know me assume that, because I like things tidy, I must also love cleaning. Yeah, not so much. I mean, don’t get me wrong: I don’t HATE cleaning (laundry, on the other hand…), but it definitely wouldn’t be my first choice of activity, let’s put it that way. In order to minimise the time I have to spend on housework, then, I try my best to clean as I go. My thinking here is that I’d rather spend a few minutes cleaning every day, than have to set aside a few HOURS for cleaning once a week (Because who wants to spend their spare time doing chores?), so I’ll try to do a little bit every day, whether it’s running a quick load of laundry (our machine has a super-fast cycle that allows you to do small loads of washing without wasting lots of water) or just wiping down the counters or quickly cleaning a bathroom. For me, this is much less boring than waiting until the laundry basket is overflowing, and then having to spend hours on it, so it works for me.
With that said, though…
05. SCHEDULE IN TIME FOR BIGGER TASKS
Although I prefer to clean as I go, I also do a “big clean” once a week (I like to spend a bit of time cleaning the house on Friday, so I can relax and enjoy the weekend): when I say “big clean”, it doesn’t take a huge amount of time, because as long as I’ve been cleaning as I go, there shouldn’t be too much to do, but it’s when I take care of more time-consuming tasks, like changing the bedlinen, etc. Because I set aside this time every week, it’s easy enough for me to schedule the rest of my day around it, and it doesn’t feel like it’s eating into my day too much, so I don’t resent it as much as I would if I got to the weekend, only to realise I’m going to have to spend it cleaning the house!
06. BUY THINGS THAT ARE EASY TO CLEAN
This should possibly have been closer to the top of the list, but it goes without saying that if you want to keep your house clean (without feeling like cleaning is taking over your life), it’s a good idea to buy things that are easy to clean. We made a LOT of mistakes with our first home in this respect: we bought matte black desks, which showed every speck of dust, cheap flooring that you only had to stand on to make it look instantly filthy… the list goes on. With this house, we’ve spent a lot of time thinking about how to keep the house as low-maintenance as possible: so we have textured flooring that doesn’t highlight every single thing that touches it, furniture that wipes clean in seconds, a garden that doesn’t require tons of mowing and weeding… This is a work in progress, and I’m sure we’ll make plenty more mistakes DURING that process, but we’re doing our best to think about how easy new furniture and fittings will be to maintain, rather than just how nice they look when they’re in pristine condition: it makes a big difference!
ANYONE GOT ANY OTHER HOUSE-CLEANING AND TIDYING TIPS?[image]