So let’s just be straight up right now. Is my home always “Pinterest perfect”-ly clean? Hell no. I have 3 insane animals running around at all times and a hard-working bloke that works in the automotive industry for goodness sake. However, my home is normally about 15 minutes from guest-ready at any time. That’s not to say that if you peer down and run your finger on the skirting boards there won’t be dust. It just means that if someone was to rock up to my door at short notice, I wouldn’t be hiding behind the curtains, hoping they’ll give up and go away.
Now, I live in a 3 bedroom semi-detached Edwardian house. It’s not a huge palace but it’s not tiny either, especially in comparison to other properties in this country. It’s pretty average size I’d say. I also don’t have children which I realise can play a HUGE factor in just how realistically tidy your home can be if you have 3 under 5 running around your feet all day. However, I do employ a few tricks that really anyone can do – whether your home is much larger than my own or if you have a tiny brood who are adamant about leaving their toys underfoot at all times or you have a small flat where you’re the only one you have to pick up after.
So here are just a few tricks I employ on a daily or weekly basis that means my home stays relatively tidy at all times. Results – obviously depending upon your personal circumstances – may vary.
Make Your Bed
I know it seems a bit of a pain in the arse to make your bed but you have to think about how much real estate your bed takes up in your room. If you make it pretty much as soon as you get up, that’s like 1/3 of the room already done. It also makes me feel better at night to crawl into a bed where the sheets are tucked in and the duvet is straight. It’s the same sort of feeling when you’ve spent the day in a new city to come back to your hotel room, feet tired and the room has been tidied up in your absence. There’s just something very calming to me about a made bed. It literally takes about 3 minutes and it’s so worth it.
Keep your bathroom cleaning products in the bathroom
This may sound like an obvious one but I used to keep all my cleaning products together. When it came time to clean the bathroom, I’d have to lug all the products upstairs which meant it could potentially get pretty manky because it was inconvenient. Now, all my cleaning items along with cleaning cloths and sponges are kept out of sight under the sink. If something needs a quick wipe, I just reach into the cupboard and I can spray the sink and the toilet in one go, run the hot water, rinse it all off and have it sparkling in less than 5 minutes for a quick tidy.
Toss junk mail as soon as it comes in
I hate with a passion when our dining room table starts to pile up wth envelopes promising 0% credit card deals, takeaway menus stuffed through the door and flyers from local businesses. As soon as that kind of thing comes through the letterbox, it’s in the recycling. Don’t wait until it piles up, just deal with it immediately and it won’t be cluttering up your surfaces.
Do the dishes (or run the dishwasher) on a daily basis
There’s nothing worse than waking up in the morning to see a huge pile of dishes that have been left in the sink from the night before. Make a pact with yourself that the dishes will be done every evening. Because I work from home, I try to make sure the breakfast and lunch dishes are washed and put away before Wayne gets home from work in the evening and then Wayne normally washes the dinner dishes and I dry and put them away before we go to bed. If you get into the habit of doing them daily, it’s really not that big of a deal and they don’t pile up. Bonus tip: Always rinse your dishes under a hot tap straight after they are used. It’s makes doing them so much quicker and easier when you’re not having to scrape off dried food from 3 hours before.
Once the dishes are done, clean the worktops
Another habit we’ve gotten into is that as soon as the dishes are done, I take a clean cloth and spray the worktops and hob and wipe everything down. It literally takes a minute and keeps the worktops nice and clean, ready for the following day’s prep.
Have a quick tidy up before you turn in
Every evening, I do a really quick 5 minute tidy up before I’m off to bed. I do a quick sweep of the downstairs, fluff the cushions on the sofa, put any mugs in the sink, put any coasters back into place and grab anything that needs to be taken upstairs with me. When you do this on a daily basis, I promise nothing becomes so bad you don’t want to deal with it the next day. Plus, it’s quite nice to wake in the morning to things being relatively tidy before it all goes to hell in a handbasket (again).
Don’t zig zag
When you are putting things back in their rightful place, don’t bother doing the zig zag, taking one item at a time to its individual location. Make a small pile somewhere or get yourself a basket – one upstairs and one downstairs – and chuck everything in there that’s not been put away that doesn’t belong on that floor. Then in one sweep, put everything back in its place by room. Also, every time I go up or down the stairs, I grab the basket so I don’t make any wasted trips and things are being put away throughout the day.
Get yourself a portable vacuum
Okay my dog sheds MASSIVELY ALL THE TIME. The cats aren’t anywhere near as bad if you would believe but Shelties have quite long hair and if I don’t keep on top of it, I have little balls of fluff rolling around on my dark floors like tumbleweed. I do a ‘big vacuum’ once a week but every other day, I grab my Dyson handheld* and do a quick run around to get any stray fluff balls hiding in the corners. I also use a Swiffer at times but I find the handheld a bit easier and quicker. (It’s hidden behind the sofa near a plug socket so not only is it convenient to get to, it’s also always charged.)
So those are just a few things I do to keep a tidy house. Do you have any tricks you swear by? Or are you hiding behind the curtains when guests come around unannounced? Let me know in the comments!