When new people visit my house, the first thing that they usually note is that it looks almost too neat and clean to live in. This didn’t make sense to me until I started visiting people and noticed that human beings like comfort and comfort and order aren’t the very best of friends. It is easy to assume that I meticulously scrub my place and arrange stuff daily but in reality I probably do so far less than even the messiest of individuals. My secret lies in methodology and I aim to share my method of order within this article in order to help you pack rats who want to shift to the orderly line of decorating.
Don’t be Offended It’s Probably Not Your Fault
Most of the times we reflect our parents in the way we handle our homes. A person who comes from a parent who drills them to “put stuff back where you got it” and makes them scrub the bathroom till it shines every Saturday will more than likely keep the habits going within their respective homes. A person who comes from a pack rat parent who stuffs everything into the corners and only cleans up when “company comes over” will reflect that behavior within their home also. With this heavy weight of behavioral pattern, it will be a chore at first to break out of it, but with my tips and tricks it may come natural to you after a time.
Tip #1 – Put things back where you find them
My mom had a saying she would bark at my brother being that he didn’t pick up her neat-freak gene “you better not be a thief because you will always get caught!” The reason for this was because my brother NEVER put things back where he got them. If he took a DVD from the case, you would find it a day later on the table or somewhere else. If he borrowed my comic book from it’s box, he would throw it on my bed afterwords. This courtesy is normally what breaks the back of the neat person in any relationship, nobody wants to clean up after someone else. It is very annoying. So commit this tip to memory and try your best to memorize where you grab an item from, especially in your own house. This cuts the time away from your “clean up” when company’s coming over and it also makes it easy to find things whenever you need them.
Tip #2 – If you haven’t used it in a week get rid of it
Not saying to throw it away, but if I have 3 things of lotion on my bathroom counter and I only use the cocoa butter, I put the rest in my cupboard because they don’t need to be in sight. If you have useless items strewn about, it appears cluttered and messy, even if you dusted the counter (which I doubt you did). Keep the things you use available, and keep the backup items and excess in storage.
This tip may fall on deaf ears when it comes to a certain type of individual I like to call “the collector”, below is a specific write-up for him/her:
Many of my male friends use this excuse to keep the most irrelevant and space consuming items from their childhood around. They have video game boxes, old cartridges and VHS tapes thrown about in their closet. The “collection” grows to the point where it’s starting to pour out of the closet and into their rooms. To them it is just their stuff, to people visiting it looks like a messy heap of garbage.
If you are a “collector” the first thing you need to invest in is reasonable storage for your toys. 9 times out of 10 if you aren’t showing it to someone (who probably doesn’t care anyway) you probably don’t need to have them on hand. If you own your home consider building shelves within your closet along with a cabinet or two with drawers to host the old tapes. Out of sight, out of mind, the thing you will aim for in storing these is to have them virtually invisible upon entering your area. Even Bruce Wayne’s mansion has compartments for his armor and weapon collections, they aren’t all over his living room and bedroom walls. Don’t be a slob, be like Bruce Wayne.
Tip #3 – Don’t Police Your Visitors
I keep a neat home but I am not asinine enough to believe that everyone who visits will snap into Greg mode upon entry. My visitors are only given one single solitary rule, no shoes in the house. Normally I don’t have to tell people this because I purposely keep my shoes on a rack at the entrance. Normally people see this, follow suit and out of the many visitors I have had, only one person had to be asked to oblige. So remember to keep a visual reminder of what your main rule is, have fun, even messy fun with your company, see them home and return your house back to order immediately after.
Tip #4 – When You’re Stressed Out – Clean Up!
My home is my temple. It is home base, the area of 100% release to be who I am, where I sleep, and the place I ache for at the end of a long night. A messy house to a person like me reflects my mind and when my mind is in chaos I feel less in control. When I feel less in control I start to worry, I want the control back, I demand order. To get back to normalcy, I revert to cleaning up my office and then the adjoining rooms. At the end I shower, return to work in an orderly, clean smelling office and my psyche is at ease because I feel in control.
One of the reasons for this is the way I tend to throw things about when I am rushed, overworked and pressed for time. It creates chaos and taking the time to right that chaos after it has been initiated does something to me that I find therapeutic.
Tip #5 – Your bathroom reflects you – KEEP YOUR HEAD CLEAN!
If you have an out of control messy house, at least keep your bathroom in gear. If you are a bachelor and you have a yellow hard water rim in the toilet bowl you need to research how to get rid of it and do so. The same goes for a nasty bathtub, get that black line caulked, apply some bleach and lime then scrub it back to white please. When a woman visits your home, they will pull the curtain back to observe whether you are as “together” as you seem, or whether you are the nasty little boy she assumes you are. Women will go through your cupboard, look into the toilet and look into the shower. The bathroom is where we feel the most vulnerable and nobody wants to go sitting on a piss-filled, germ-ridden toilet cover especially after pulling back a curtain to see caked up dirt in the bathtub. I’m getting sick writing this.
Here’s what you do. Saturday morning is normally the time that everyone is sleeping in, recovering from the Club, Bar or Lan party (one time for the nerds). Get some products, keep them on hand and clean the toilet, sink and counters in your bathroom. Remove your clothes, scrub the tub and then shower whilst finishing up the rinsing of the bath walls. Make this a weekly or a bi-monthly thing. If you are lazy on cleaning and you have company, the cleanest place should be your bathroom and not the living room.
Tip #6 – Pretend you need a quick exit when arranging furniture.
My home is very open, I keep things very simple, to the point where we can have a wrestling match in any room without fear of breaking anything. All windows are accessible and all doors are accessible. If I need to run, I can run, it keeps the flow of energy extremely strong in my house. When I open the blinds it illuminates the entire place, the energy makes it a power battery for me and that is how a home should feel. If you have obstructive furniture all over your home, you will feel it. The energy will feel confined, it will make you tired instead of empowered and simultaneously it will make your home seem cluttered. Give each room a theme, decorate accordingly and keep things open, accessible and simple. Less is more.
Tip #7 – Always tidy up before traveling
There is nothing more stressful than going on a long trip and returning to a mess that you know has to be cleaned. I do my most hardcore cleaning prior to traveling, even more hardcore than when company is coming over. When I hit the door coming home, the sight of a clean house releases the stress of having to do anything and I can fall face-first into bed or just go straight to the television to relax. I do the laundry, scrub the bathroom and even dust prior to a trip and when I return it makes it easier to hit the ground running, especially if there is work to be done elsewhere.
Tip #8 – Clean up while you cook
I love cooking but the one part I really hate is the caked up messy pots that accompany a good hour of it. What I have found helpful is to wash things as soon as I am done with them. A good meal usually takes some time in the oven or simmering on the stove, this buys you time to scrub the cutting board or the mixing bowl and spoon that you used to prepare it. Once the meal is cooked and you transfer it from pot to dish, run some cold water on the pot, let it sit for a few then immediately scrub it. This way when you are done cooking, you are done cooking and the stress off scrubbing caked up meat on the dried pots will not be there the next day.
So there you have it, I am sure I have more tips but this isn’t a book and I am already tired of “sharing”. I hope this can help some of you who find “cleaning up” to be a serious pain in the ass. But ask yourself this, would you rather do these small steps periodically or spend hours trying to do them when company comes over? Thanks for reading.See some words or phrases that you don't understand? Check out The Dragon's Lexicon.