The summer hols are almost upon us! Whoop-dee-doo!
But with the breaks from work and school and a few weeks off from the normal everyday swing of things, it doesn’t mean that everything else just stops.
You still have to cook, clean and live your everyday life regardless of the holidays or not – and if you’re as lucky as I am, you’ll be doing it with three ever-growing and expanding kids (peskies) in tow, causing mayhem and making a mess everywhere.
And that’s what fired my brain up (just enough in this heat) to write this blog post.
First up, I have a confession to make: my house is more often than not, a war zone.
I have three children under the age of 12 and I often find myself avoiding inviting people round for a coffee (beer) and some cake (pizza) unless I’ve scrubbed the place down and disinfected everywhere – I can be something of a clean freak (when I’m not choosing to be the laziest man on earth), I have to admit.
But rather than stress myself out, I got to thinking that something can ‘look’ clean even though it isn’t and that giving my home a ‘feeling’ of a cleaner appearance shouldn’t really be that difficult – in fact, it shouldn’t really take more than a few minutes to achieve – so here’s my 10 ways of getting the job done.
1 – Have Both ‘Public’ & ‘Private’ Areas
This is a great way to hide away any clutter and keep the ‘messy’ areas out of the eye-line of any would-be visitors.
Make sure the hallway, sitting room and dining area are free from clutter, the rest of your rooms can be a mess, but cleaning the rooms that guests may see (when mums drop kids off for play-dates for example) will help to give the impression that the whole house is in order: just pray they don’t need the loo or ask to look under the stairs!
2 – K.I.S.S (Keep It Simple Stupid)
Doing the simple things and doing them often will help you to keep on top of things.
Instead of filling up the sink, put dishes in the dishwasher right away and be sure to take the rubbish out every night to avoid any unwelcome and lingering odours.
3 – You Probably Don’t Need That – “I Might Need This Someday” Item
A great way to give your home a less ‘filled-with-junk’ feeling is to do away with all the things you say you’re going to use one day.
That may be a jigsaw with a few missing pieces you are sure that one day you’ll find, clothes from 10 years ago that you’re sure you’ll wear again one day, or that kitchen appliance in the garage that you’ve only used once, shortly after your aunt Esmerelda gave it to you for Christmas back in 2003 – getting rid of this stuff is an instant cleaning pick-me-up.
4 – The Recycling Bin Is Your Best Friend
I have to confess, I throw tons of my kids’ school stuff away. They come home every Friday with a shed-load of art projects, homework sheets and stuff made out of paper that’s pretty much indefinable, alongside all the newsletters and stuff about upcoming school events.
I keep the nicest stuff that they’ve made and put all the important dates in my phone or diary before stuffing all the paper in the sack for recycling – doing this when they aren’t around is a good idea too, the last thing you need is tears before bedtime over some horrifying Paper-Mache gnome.
5 – Have A Family ‘Clean Up’ Time
It may not sound like the most exciting time you’ll spend as a family, but investing 10 minutes as a group to do some tidying has a few benefits and can pay off big-time if you make it a regular thing.
Get your kids and your partner to tidy up everywhere – you could even make a game out of it – you’d be impressed with how tidy things can look after you’ve all pitched in for 10 minutes or so.
And it’s not just a means to an end either – there’s a lot to be said for working as a team and pitching in as a family, both of which can build bonds and strengthen relationships – just don’t fall out about who does the messiest jobs!
6 – “See The Floor?” – It’s For Furniture!
If you want a more spacious and airy looking room, then toys, newspapers, magazines and anything else left lying on the floor (not the kids obvs) should be chucked out (or recycled where possible) every single day.
Ensuring that you have uncluttered and bare floor space will give any room a more open and airy look and feel, which should lead to a calmer and more peaceful space.
7 – A Usefully Uncluttered Kitchen
Kitchens can be the mother of all rooms to keep on top of, so it’s important to try and keep only the things you regularly use out on display.
That may mean the toaster, kettle and blender are always on show, but the slow cooker and deep fat fryer – if only used twice a year – should be out of sight altogether.
The old saying “tidy house, tidy mind” was founded on keeping our kitchens free from unwanted and unsightly clutter.
8 – Say “Welcome” More Than Once
They say that good things come in threes, but in this case two will work just as well.
Having two welcome mats – one inside and one outside – will mean debris and dirt have less of a chance to make a mess in throughout your home.
Most guests see the room from the front door first and believe it or not mats give the impression of a clean home – which is what we want everyone to think!
So just remember, two mats are better than one.
9 – Make Beds!
I’m a real stickler for this one and demand that my children make their beds every morning.
Of course, their bedrooms aren’t always going to be perfect, but having a bed that’s made will offer any visitors eye somewhere to settle and everyone notices a bed that’s not made – they always look awful!
10 – Clear Up Your Vanity Area
I can tell you, living with three girls means that the vanity area of my bathroom is often filled with brushes, make-up and eyelashes and all sorts of stuff I don’t fully comprehend.
But ladies, being sure to put all of that stuff away – in toiletry bags and boxes under the sink perhaps – not only keeps the clutter out of the way but also ensures that I don’t leave shaving stuff everywhere to repay the compliment!
And on the eleventh day I rested.
So there you have it, my attempt at giving my home a feeling of cleanliness, when in all honesty quite the reverse is true.
My favourite tip is to get the entire family on a cleaning trip, working together to get the job done and then rewarding yourselves by curling up together in front of the gogglebox with a movie and some munch.
Give it a try and let me know how you get on.
Does the place feel tidier?
Have you managed to trick your visitor into thinking that Kim and Aggie have been doing the rounds?
I hope so and thank you for taking the time to read through my tips.