“I’m sorry my place is such a mess.”
I’ve said it, you’ve said it, and it will continue to be said as it is the de facto introduction before allowing another human to enter your living quarters for the first time.
But what if I told you there was a way to shed your guilt and receive glowing compliments from family, friends, coworkers and border-line acquaintances at best. What if, when your in-laws come over unexpectedly, you gain their admiration and praise instead of an Ice Cube mean mug from Papa Bear. What if your plan to impress the person at the bar with an apple martini actually worked, and they’re ready to continue the night. Normally, you would have been caught red handed, remembering the erratic condition in which you’d left your homestead, like a warzone had been deposited in the middle of a celestial apocalypse.
But not today, because you adeptly followed these 7 essential steps to a tidy home:
1. Establish an Order of Importance
Before beginning, it is important align your tasks at hand with your available time to maximize your cleaning potential.
Clean areas where guests are more likely to congregate first, then work your way to that shoebox full of high school photos later, there’s always time to reminisce but you only get one chance to make a good first impression.
A general rule of thumb for order of importance:
+ Living room
Pro-Tip: If you are on crunch time do these three tasks to perform a “quick tidy up”: Dishes, Trash, Laundry
2. Declutter Your Space
Before doing any major cleaning, be sure to get rid of unnecessary items around the home. Do you have 25 variations of Rubik’s cubes sitting on your living room table? Is there a pile of unopen mail on your kitchen mantle?
Pick up the kid’s toys, gather the thirteen used cups from the basement, and dump all of your sink toiletries into a bucket for easy concealment under the sink.
Your objective here is to open up your home by allowing each piece to have its own space.
3. Wipe Down Surfaces (Clean)
This is what most people think of as cleaning. It’s wiping down the counters, faucets, toilet seats, handles, mopping the floor, vacuuming, and any other common household “chore”.
While this is where a bulk of your time will lie, remember to have fun with it. Jam out to some of your favorite tunes, listen to a podcast, or make it a challenge and time yourself on how fast you can get the cleaning done. I know this part isn’t the most pleasurable, but once you are finished, it will be the most rewarding.
4. Time to Organize
Now it’s time to put everything that I had you take away in your decluttering step, back. A bit contradictory isn’t it?
The mission here is to reassemble your home vision with more focus and purpose. Organizing doesn’t have to mean labels on jars or color-coded wardrobes, but it must flow seamlessly and organically, being reflective of your personality.
Organization can mean a lot of different things, but remember, it’s a matter of establishing a system that makes your life easier and more effective.
Those 25 Rubik’s cubes sitting on your living room table? Solve some of them and stack them into a pyramid so it becomes part of the home, rather than something lying within it.
5. Candles, Incense, Air Fresheners
You’ve done it! You’ve decluttered, cleaned, and organized your home! But we’re only on step 5, and after all that hard labor, you’re more than likely wondering ‘What more could there possibly be?’
But this, this is where the fun starts. See, a tidy home isn’t about the white fingered glove test or ensuring every pollen is collected and sentenced to a maximum sentence in the vacuum penitentiary, but rather, it’s an aesthetic, a vibe, if you will.
And what better way to set the mood by influencing people’s smellivision? Bring out the pumpkin spice candles in June, light your Jasmine and lavender incense, and create a journey into paradise.
Set air fresheners and deodorizers throughout your house for maximum effect. Even if for yourself, having a home that smells fresh and lively helps keep the mind rejuvenated and relaxed.
At first glance, this doesn’t seem like a category that would be included in an article about cleaning your home, but it’s a vital part of presentation, and that’s the other half of the home experience that many forget.
Decorations come in many forms, whether it be paintings, photos, flowers, sculptures, blown glass, that live laugh love sign, we can find so many ways to make our home unique to us.
Let your individuality come alive, don’t settle for traditional senses, this, beyond having a clean environment, will really make a home feel like its yours.
7. Front Yard, Back Yard
If you have completed all the above steps and have time for a bit of yard work, now is the time to do it! Having a tidy home counts as much on the outside as it does the inside. Remember earlier when I mentioned you only have one real chance to make a good first impression? Well this starts before anyone ever enters the home. Start on your porch, then move outward towards the street, throw a wreath on the door for some extra flair.
Bonus Tip: Simp for your Pets
If you have pets, make sure they are well groomed. Animals that shed can very quickly turn your clean home into a Cat in the Hat scenario. Plus, it gives you some bonding time with the precious fur babies.
Cleaning your home can be overwhelming, stressful, and downright unpleasant. Remember, your biggest goal is to make it more relaxing for yourself and your guests, so you don’t always have to do everything at once. Our living spaces are ever evolving and adapting to who we are as people, if you treat your place with care, you’re treating yourself with care.
Take a deep breath, smile, and remember:
A tidy coop is a happy home.