The Secret To a Clean House

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Dear Home Ec 101,
How do you keep a clean house?
N00b in Newford

how to keep a clean house

Heather says:

The short answer? You put crap away.

If every person in every home simply put things where they belonged, keeping a clean house would only be a matter of dealing with dirt. Unfortunately the universe tends toward entropy, a state of maximum disorder and minimum energy. Putting things away takes effort many of us feel could be better spent in other ways, like getting just one more level.

People with small children (and clean houses) tend to take a basket approach to organization. The baskets basically wrangle small bits of chaos in a somewhat attractive manner.

Start with that. Today start in one room (I like to start in the kitchen) and just start putting things away. Away for dirty dishes is a soapy sink or the dishwasher. Trash? It goes in the trash can which is then emptied. No one ever wins the I-can-stack-just-one-more-item-and-pretend-it-doesn’t-need-to-go-out game. I lost that game in a bad, bad way this summer. Not only did I give in and decide that yes, the trash simply must go out, the bottom of the compactor bag had enough of our foolishness, too. It did not end well.

home organizing tips
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If you have roommates, sometimes things get a little difficult. If they won’t put their crap away, set it somewhere they have to deal with it or a place that is out of sight.  The middle of their floor or bed might work. Of course, you risk being seen as a passive aggressive control freak, but as I mature I find I worry a little less about labels and a little more about my personal environment.

Once all the junk is out of the way, that’s when a clean house is possible. At that point click the yellow note up there and start developing a routine for yourself.

If you really need help with finding a place for everything, check out Stacey Crew or Organizing Junkie, the author of Clutter Rehab: 101 Tips and Tricks to Become an Organization Junkie and Love It!

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12 thoughts on “The Secret To a Clean House”

  1. When I accidently kick toy cars across my nice pine floors, my anxiety level rises a notch. We put our house on the market and that forced us to get organized. But we are always teetering on the edge of total chaos and destruction. The best thing we’ve done so far is purchase a shelf from Target that has about 9 bins to organize all my son’s toys. Baby steps baby steps!

  2. I find getting rid of stuff is also helpful, as in donating or garage selling (or throwing away) the things/clothing you no longer use. It’s a tough job but I did a big clean last year and the benefits have been lasting. Currently I’m in process of cleaning my kitchen of useless implements & I’m getting cupboard space back!

    I also think “chaos wrangler” is an excellent term for Home Ec practitioners.

  3. Humm.. adding up a healthy environment to a home is more important than adding beauty to the environment. Everything lies in the manner how you organize things and how you dispose unwanted junkies. If you can find out a way to solve this, then you are perfectly done in making your environment eco friendly..

    Angeline @ remedies for tinnitus

  4. Is this thing on? New things are scary….

    I am forever telling my family to put things where they go. If we lived in a normal house (i.e., one with closets and cupboards and such) and didn’t have DH’s business also living in the midst of everything, it would be easier. But that’s how it is, and it makes me even more insistent that the things that DO have a home GET PUT there. Especially if it’s MY STUFF. Cleaning is such a chore because of all the stuff that I really have no say about, so I just do what I can and try to smile 🙂

  5. Two years ago I made the resolution to clean and organize something everyday…..some days it was one
    drawer…..somedays…..a closet…..within 3 months I had organized….purged….givenway tons of
    stuff……it is so much easier now to clean and find things….my husband goes thru his closet and
    drawers twice a year and gives everything away that he doesn’t wear…..I bought to nice purses
    with great pockets inside… for winter….one for summer…..that’s it….simple….simple…

  6. That’s a great plan for dealing with too much stuff. I tend to go in spurts. Right now I need to go through my toddler’s clothing, in reality she only has a few things that fit, but neither the laundry nor her dresser support that idea.


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