Some people are fanatical housekeepers. My grandmother was one. She actually ironed sheets before putting them on the bed. To me, this is absolutely insane. The sheets are underneath the bedspread AND you are going to sleep on them and instantly get them wrinkly. Why waste time ironing them? When I was younger, my parents actually sent me to my grandmother’s house for a week to learn how to keep house and cook my father’s favorite meals. It was not a huge success as my interests and aptitudes have never focused on homemaking (or cooking, for that matter).
But now I’m a homemaker/housewife/stay-at-home mom. So cleaning the house definitely falls into my domain of responsibility and I can no longer play the “I’m working full-time too” card with my husband. It is my job to keep the house clean (and take care of the kid, cook the meals, run the errands, mow the grass and so on … you know the drill).
So, if you are not one of those fanatical housekeepers and don’t want to spend inordinate amounts of time keeping your house clean, here is some advice.
- Never buy Mission style furniture. An example of Mission style furniture is shown to the right. Mission style furniture is a major pain in the ass to keep clean. You have to dust between all those little slats and it takes forever! Trust me, I know. I made the mistake of buying Mission style furniture for our bedroom and dining room. I regret that decision every time I have to clean it.
- Get rid of knickknacks. Knickknacks equal dust. Lots of knickknacks equals lots of dusting. The type of dusting where you have to dust the item and underneath it. This is very tedious dusting. So before buying any knickknacks, ask yourself “Do I really feel like dusting this for the rest of my life?” If you answer yes, then by all means buy the knickknack. But remember, the more knickknacks you have, the more time you’ll waste dusting them.
- As much as possible, cover as much of the baseboards in your house so you don’t have to clean them. So what if everything in a room is pushed up against the walls — no one will see your dusty, dirty baseboards.
- Buy heavy furniture so you’re not expected to move it when you vacuum.
- Pick a room/closet (depending on your needs) that you can easily close and lock. Use this room/closet as a dropping off point for all the stuff that you don’t feel like dealing with and is cluttering your house. Deal with the stuff in this room once or twice a year. So what if people think you are harboring a fugitive or cutting up body parts in the room? The truth of what is in there might be even more frightening.
- Follow the “One Thing A Week” rule. There are two parts to this rule. Part One: Each week, select one area that is bothering you the most and do something about it. You’ll feel a sense of accomplishment and remove something annoying. Part Two: Allow your significant other to pick one thing that you’ll do something about. By addressing one of their major concerns, you will get them off your back for everything else wrong with your housekeeping. For example, ridiculous things like dust in an air vent that is 6 feet off the ground bothers my husband. It doesn’t bother me; I am only 5’2″ so I never even look up there. But he can request that the air vent be cleaned if he wants and I’ll do it without complaint.
- Know how to quickly implement Desperate Measures. Sometimes, despite your best efforts, you’ll find that you’ve been “caught with your pants down.” Someone will drop by unannounced or with very short notice and your house will not be guest-ready. In this case, you’ll need to adopt Desperate Measures to distract your visitor from the mess that is your house. Here are some ideas for such an emergency situation:
- Dim the lights or light candles.
- Play extremely loud music.
- Surreptitiously set off a smoke detector.
- Secretly dial your home phone from your cell phone and feign an emergency that requires an immediate exit from the premises.
- Fake a contagious cold or disease.
- Put a fake booger under your nose.
- Set off a stink bomb.
- Demonstrate your new mace sprayer and “accidentally” spray it in their eyes.
- Recognize the signs when you really must thoroughly clean a room. I hate to tell you this but sometimes you really must thoroughly clean a room. And by thoroughly I mean you actually dust the ceiling fan, clean the baseboards, move the furniture and vacuum under it, lift up cushions and vacuum under them and so forth — all the stuff us lazy housekeepers don’t bother with on a regular basis. The four signs that a room requires a thorough cleaning are:
- You see actual cobwebs.
- You can write your name in dust.
- You can’t remember what color the carpet is.
- There is a strange smell that you can’t identify.
I hope you find these tips helpful. If you have additional tips you’d like to share with me, comment away!