For some very odd reason, multiple people (and by people I mean women) have been offended by my clean house. I have invited friends over to my home to spend time together, as people often do, for a visit, dinner, coffee, etc. After spending time together in my home, some of them turned against me and stopped being my friends. One woman called me to lash out a few days after coming over. She said that a clean house doesn't matter and my kids really don't care about it, nor will they ever remember how clean the house was growing up. She ended the rather long conversation (or should I say monologue, since I let her talk and didn't respond much) by asking, "How can your husband even stand you!?!" I have no idea why I didn't just hang up on her. I must've been too nice back then. My husband stands me just fine because he appreciates a clean house as much as I do. Another lady came for a visit shortly after we moved in and showed irritation at the state of my house. She asked multiple times how I can possibly do this. As she was preparing to leave, I told her we'll talk again soon and she responded, "Don't call me, I'll call you." You probably guessed it — she never called me ever again. These are just a couple of examples that come to mind for the purpose of this post.
There have also been a few ladies that were inspired by my clean home and wanted tips on how they can do the same. Since the purpose of my blog is always to inspire, I want to answer the question I often receive, which is, "How do you keep your house so clean?" I'm going to share what I do and what works for me. I realize everyone is different. We also have different standards for "clean," different priorities in life and different amounts of time to devote to these things. There is no right or wrong, and everyone should do what works best for them. The state of your house should make you happy, since you're the one living there. Do it for you and your family, not for others.
Since I spend most of my time at home, I like to have a clean, calm and relaxing environment. The state of my surroundings reflects the state of my mind. In order for me to think clearly and function properly, I need my home, which is my sanctuary and safe space, to be tidy and organized just how I like it. That's the way I am and the way I've always been.
So, to finally answer the question on how I keep my home clean, I have a very simple answer: I clean it! It does require some time and energy, but I enjoy doing it. Cleaning helps keep me active and moving. It also helps clear my head and fuels some of my most creative ideas. You'll never see me at the gym because it's just not me. I admire those who work out regularly, but the idea of working out in a closed space with sweaty, smelly strangers on shared equipment just doesn't appeal to me. You will, however, see me being active at home all day long, taking evening walks with my husband or hitting the bike trails in the forest preserve. In fact, I seldom sit and do nothing.
Few things stress me out more than a chaotic environment. In order to keep my environment from becoming this way, the first thing I do is keep clutter at bay. I regularly clean out closets, drawers and storage areas throughout the house. If we no longer use certain items or don't have a need for them, I let them go. I seldom keep things because I might need them again one day. Going through this process often, ensures that we won't accumulate clutter.
The next thing I do is a deeper cleaning of the whole house once a week. I clean top to bottom, every room in the house. That will involve thoroughly cleaning the bathrooms, dusting, vacuuming and washing all the floors. To maintain the house, I will do a lighter cleaning every morning. I do this first, before I get my day started. I like to get it out of the way so I am able to enjoy the rest of my day without this work hanging over my head. This lighter cleaning sometime involves light dusting, touching up the bathroom sinks and toilets, vacuuming, or whatever I feel is necessary on any given day. I clean the kitchen daily, after each meal. Instead of letting dirty dishes pile up, I take care of them immediately. If I got the stove dirty while cooking, I will wipe it down when I am finished with it. If the floors are dirty from spills or crumbs from food, I address that right away, as well. A quick wipe down of the counters and the kitchen is clean. Grime and dirt doesn't have time to accumulate and the kitchen always looks presentable.
The same is true for laundry. I do laundry every day. I prefer to do a load or two daily, rather than to allow large amounts of dirty clothes to accumulate and then spend an entire day doing only laundry. The house also stays clean because every person in the house does their share. I've taught my kids to clean up after themselves, put their belongings away when they're finished using them, etc. My husband does the same. No, we're not always perfect and neither is my house, but we have certain rules in our home that we try to follow. Taking care of messes when they happen and not letting them accumulate goes a long way to maintaining a clean home. So, the best way to keep a clean and tidy house is to do a little bit every day instead of getting overwhelmed with large amounts of work all at once. Bonus — if someone happens to stop by unexpectedly, you'll save yourself the embarrassment of a messy house!
If you’re ready to sift through your relationships and see who your real friends are, try maintaining a clean home. When you invite them over, you'll see their reaction and what happens next. I’m kind of kidding, but not really...
Is a clean house important to you? How often do you clean and what system works best for you?