We all have at least one – that friend who seems to have it all together. They have a full-time job, 2.5 kids, a family dog, and their home could dominate a three-page spread of Good Housekeeping.
You could eat a steak and salad right off their counter–no plate. And you just know the beds in their house are all made. It’s as if Mrs. Potts and her crew found a side hustle outside the castle after Belle moved in.
The truth is, these people don’t actually have it all together. And, sadly, Beauty and the Beast is, indeed, a fairy tale. The people with clean houses just know a thing or two about organization and planning ahead.
And with some motivation and the right supplies, even you can have a home Martha Stewart would approve of.
Clean as You Go
You might be thinking: Talk about obvious!
But think about it–how often do you actually do this?
People with immaculate homes clean up as they go. After they dirty dishes, they go straight into the dishwasher. When they gather the daily mail from the box, they toss the junk mail and file the rest. Imagine a typical day in your own life and think about all the cleaning opportunities you pass by because you’ll “do it later.”
Save yourself the time later and do it now.
Make a Schedule
Think of cleaning your house as a marathon, not a sprint. While you might have visions of cleaning your house from top to bottom Mrs. Doubtfire style, sweeping and mopping to the sounds of Dude (Looks Like a Lady), you’ll most likely get about an hour-long cleaning spree, max, before you run out of steam (literally and figuratively if you’re cleaning carpets).
With no game plan, you’re going to get overwhelmed. Those with clean homes have a cleaning schedule, and they stick to it–slow and steady for the win.
Remember: be the tortoise, not the hare.
Start by making a personalized schedule to suit your home and family’s needs. It could be as simple as assigning certain rooms to days of the week. Or, you could go ultra-organized and choose different tasks to tackle on different days of the week. Try compiling a comprehensive checklist with a list of all the projects you’d like to get done in a week or a month. (IHeart Organizing offers a variety of personalized cleaning task templates.) Make a plan, pin it up to your bulletin board, and get scrubbing, Swiffering, and sweeping.
A little cleaning each day will transform your home before you know it, minus the stress that comes with an all-day cleaning spree.
Hire a Cleaning Service
Do you know what is more valuable than money?
Time: it’s is a precious commodity that we can’t afford to waste, and hiring a cleaning company to do our dirty work for us is worth its weight in gold.
With all-inclusive cleaning services cropping up all over the U.S., it is now a viable option to bring in the professionals to clean your home. These companies offer the flexibility of visiting weekly, monthly, yearly, and anything in between. They will clean only the problem areas you despise (moldy bathroom grout, anyone?) or do a full sweep of your abode.
With competitive rates, these time-saving companies are not as expensive as you might think, and their services are worth every dollar.
Minimize the Clutter
Clean freaks understand that styling your space with a “less is more” approach automatically makes the area appear larger and cleaner.
Start with one living room shelf. Pick a focal point: This could be a medium-to-large sculpture or maybe a stack of favored books. Then choose a few accent pieces of variable heights and widths.
Try not to have multiple focal points and a few accent pieces per shelf. Use this styling advice all throughout your home, from bedroom to bathroom to den.
Pare it Down
How do we pare down a lifetime of memorabilia, collections, and all the gadgets we just had to buy on QVC?
For every item cluttering up your kitchen counters or stealing precious space on your shelves, first consider its importance and the amount of use it gets. If you would not be sad to see it go, and if you don’t use the item (or even notice it) more than a few times a month, why keep it?
Next, if you have more than one (whisk, blender, vase, etc.), re-home the duplicates by donating them to Goodwill or a women’s shelter. (Unless, of course, you have a precious collection of Swarovski crystal cat statues. By all means, keep them all.)
Think of your donation as a gift to our environment and your newly cleaned house.
Create a Cleaning Station
After you clear out your coat closet (which we all know is actually a glorified junk drawer, anyway), stock it up with cleaning essentials. Hang a Swiffer and a broom on the inner door. Reusable cleaning cloths are a great, cost-effective cleaning tool and are also better for the planet than disposables.
Throw together a cleaning caddy to have at your disposal:
- Start with a dollar store shower caddy.
- Toss in some sponges, a magic eraser, and some microfiber cloths.
- A spray bottle containing a 50% mix of distilled white vinegar and water works like a natural-cleaning charm on glass and other surfaces.
Now the kicker: Any time you have a spare five minutes to clean, grab that caddy and go to work. Having all of your cleaning supplies together will cut time and streamline your cleaning process.So, you see, even without the help of Lumiere and Cogsworth, this clean house thing is within your reach. With a little elbow grease, the right mindset, and a working plan, you can have the tidy home you’ve always dreamed of.
And that, says Martha, is a “good thing.”