7 habits to keep your home always clean

Bethan Jones – homify Bethan Jones – homify
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Marvellous hallway wooden floors. A living room couch to kill for. Fantastic bedroom window treatment. And an appalling stench floating from your kitchen. What a passion killer. 

Living (and being happy) in a house involves significantly more than owning beautiful décor and tasteful appliances. Keeping it neat and clean is part and parcel thereof. You are, of course, aware of this, just as you know that a dirty environment negatively affects your mood and your health. But time (and patience) is not always available. So, without turning into neat freaks, let’s see small and simple ways to improve the neatness and cleanliness levels of your house. All it takes is a few minutes of daily light work to save you from waking up in a pigsty—or, even worse, receiving unexpected company on the day that your home chose to look its worst. 

- Original ideabook by Johannes Van Graan for homify ZA

1. Cut that hoarding habit

Yesterday’s newspaper, the bills that need paying, that half-finished novel you’re still busy with… these, and more, seem to accumulate behind our backs, and they always seem to gravitate towards the most obvious spots where we can’t miss them – like the coffee table.

So, what can you do apart from shrugging? Take action! Acquire a piece that can serve as storage space for those weird yet temporary stuff (like your bills), but know that once placed there, you have limited time to take care of them. Something as simple as a little box or basket can be ideal. For other more permanent items, like your car keys or wallet/purse, opt for a drawer or wall hook instead of just flinging them over the nearest chair – and make it a habit of keeping them there. That is sure to save you from the panic of looking for your keys the next morning.

2. The living room

Vegging out in front of the TV is really a mysterious phenomenon. One minute you’re settling in and tuning to your desired channel, and 30 minutes later there’s an empty packet of sweets next to you and a dirty mug on the coffee table. What happened there? 

Regardless of those weird occurrences, leaving that mess right there and heading off to bed does seem like the easiest option. Don’t you dare do it. Throw out whatever’s empty, rinse what you can, stock in the dishwasher what needs washing, and take those socks you took off with you to your room. As the living room is used for, well, living, each family member does tend to leave his/her mark in there (an iPod here, an empty glass there). And of course it’s just more comfy leaving your stuff there and taking care of it later on. But nipping this lazy habit in the bud early on will do wonders for the state of both your living room and your mind.

3. The bathroom

Seeing as it is a place that everyone in the family makes use of quite a few times during the day, the bathroom can become rather messy quite quickly. But no need to break out the floor polish every day.

Rather opt for small maintenance acts with each visit instead of one gigantic cleaning frenzy every week. For example, after brushing your teeth, rinse out the sink properly to ensure it’s clean and fresh, wipe off that toothpaste you spilled on the cabinet, and dry up those water spills on the floor.   Then just leave the hardcore cleaning rituals (i.e. dusting the corners and mopping the floors) for your weekly cleaning schedule.

4. The bedroom

No judging from our side if you’re one of those people who drive to work barely awake – we know how hard it can be to enter that state of full alertness some mornings. So, with that problem, who has time or energy to focus on making the bed?

You might not want to hear this, but making your bed like your parents taught you is important. It saves you from having to do it when you come home in the evening, and you just know you’ll have even less desire to do it then, especially if your day at the office was pure murder.   Rather set that alarm for two minutes earlier, as that is all it takes to neatly straighten your bed before rushing off to work. And remember to open the window just a tad for some fresh air (yes, even in winter).

5. The kitchen

We've all been there: faced with a life-altering decision of tidying up the kitchen or watching the latest episode of Game of Thrones (or whatever TV series you consider a must-see). And although we understand that you also need to unwind and kick back every now and again, you need to know that your housework chores aren’t going to slip out the back door just because you’re ignoring them. 

Don’t put off what you can do now. If dinner is over and the dishes need washing, then don’t stack them in the sink until tomorrow. If something’s on TV that you want to watch, then work out a schedule where you eat a few minutes earlier to allow for sufficient cleaning up immediately afterwards.  Plus, leaving dirty dishes and cutlery to accumulate in the sink can result in both a cluttered look and unwanted odours.

6. Your dressing space

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Harrod's Court

Anna Casa

Whether you have a full-blown, glamorous walk-in closet or an ordinary wardrobe/dresser like regular humans, you are faced with the daily action of removing dirty clothing and putting on clean ones. And just what, exactly, do you do with the dirty clothes you take off? Throw them on the floor? Perhaps hang them over a chair until later on? Thought so.

Here is where a little laundry basket will come in handy. Of course we are not suggesting that you take to doing laundry every time you take off a shirt, but keeping all your dirty clothing together will make for a much easier (and faster) laundry day than having to explore under the bed and on top of coffee tables for every single clothing item you've worn the past week.  Plus, it’ll lessen the messy look considerably.

7. Two is better than one

Some of us employ cleaning services; others choose to do it themselves. And in this latter category, most prefer to single out one day a week to tackle the house and clean it top to bottom, which then leaves a very tired and agitated person.

May we suggest two cleaning days a week instead of one? But instead of doubling your cleaning work, we’re effectively halving it. For example, focus on the social areas of your house (kitchen, living room, dining area, etc.) on the one day, while cleaning up the private spaces (bedroom, bathroom, etc.) on the other. Dividing your workload up like this will definitely lessen your efforts, plus you won’t have to spend your entire Saturday cleaning your entire house. And, of course, since you’ll be following all of our tips mentioned in this article, cleaning your house from now on will be a light breeze compared to earlier days!

If you liked this article, check out: 11 ways to prepare your small home for guests