Cleaning Week Kickoff

Okay, so we will do a cleaning theme week.  I don’t claim to be any kind of expert or anything, but a couple of months ago, I was whining on Twitter about having house guests on the way and my house was so messy and blah blah blah.  Then I got off Twitter and cleaned the house up to company ready in eleven minutes.

So I stepped back and said, okay, maybe I am good at keeping the house clean.

First of all, there is a huge difference between neat and clean.  I am really good at neat.  I am moderately good at clean.  I tend to say clean even when I mean neat.  Clean is having everything scrubbed and vacuumed and dusted (I hate dusting).  Neat is having clear surfaces, everything put away, and knowing where things are.  It’s kind of a process.  In Florida, I had gotten good at neat and clean at the same time.  In this house, I have gotten good at neat, but clean is still eluding me a little.  I think it is partially that the house is almost twice as big, so there is more to clean.  And now we have two floors.  I vacuum the downstairs all the time (though not enough yet) but I rarely haul the vacuum cleaner upstairs to do the upstairs.  (Seriously, the last time I vacuumed the upstairs, I had to empty the canister FOUR times while I was vacuuming.)  I daydream about Dyson calling me up on the phone and offering me a free second vacuum to keep in the upstairs closet.  Because, yeah, it really is the act of carrying the vacuum up the stairs that makes me less likely to vacuum up there.

Anyway, here is my first cleaning (neat-ing?) secret.  You probably already do enough work to have a perfectly neat house every day.

No, really.  Unless your house is continually getting more and more disgusting to the point where they are about to make one of those hoarding documentaries about you, then you are already doing enough tidying up to keep the mess to a consistent level.  All you have to do is work on getting that consistent level to where you want it.  Once you have gotten there, you can do the same level of work to maintain the neat that you were doing to maintain the mess. You may have to rearrange your work so that it is more spread out (like if you clean a lot on the weekends and none on weekdays) to keep the house at a level that is comfortable for you.

*Cleaning week disclaimer: I am in no way any kind of expert.  I’ve just gotten better at cleaning and tidying since I grew up (if I am grown up, which I doubt), so I am describing what works for me.  It might work for you too.  Or it might not.  How should I know?  But I hope that it works for you too.