The Secret to a Clean Home

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 in Farmville.

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, but the bottom of the compactor bag also had enough of our foolishness, too. It did not end well.

If you have roommates, sometimes things get a little difficult. If they don’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.

home organizing tips
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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 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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9 thoughts on “The Secret to a Clean Home”

  1. I have one child that lives at home and a teenager that moves in and moves out lol, and also another child that is with me everyother weekend. When I get my house clean, it stays that way for a couple of days then its dirty again. I am also a single say at home mom and I homeschool my youngest child. How can i organize the chaos? Sometimes I seem to have it together and there are times i wanta pull my hair out!!!!! I see so many moms that ALWAYS look like thier house is clean, and thier make up is fresh lol, but not me!!!! Im the one you see in the store with my hair just threw up, and if you come to my home i have to move something so that you can set down lol!!! ANY ADVICE ?????

  2. Something that FlyLady has mentioned, which bears repeating, is that if you can’t EVER seem to get your house/room picked up, then maybe there’s too much stuff and/or not enough organization.

    One lady wrote her a very telling letter, saying that she had been yelling at her son for ages to clean his room, but he never did. Finally she went in to clean it for him. She spent all day in it and barely made a dent. That’s when she realized there’s no use picking things up if they have no where to go. Sometimes (maybe even most of the time) things live on the floor because they’re homeless. (She ended up buying a shelving unit and storage boxes which gave all of his toys a home and she stopped having a problem with his room being a mess.)

    So, if you’re cleaning up a room or house for the first time in a while, the first thing you may need to do is analyze the room and see if everything has a home. If there is no shelf or table or box for an item, then create one for it, throw something else out and let it take over the space, or throw the item itself out.

    Picking things up from the floor does no good if they don’t go to their home.

  3. This is good information but I am 26 and have 4 children and a husband who well sometimes makes me think he is a child himself I can clean whipe down everything and. Within 2hrs or a day my house looks like a pig pin I get fed up tired and aggravated to the point iwant to cry but my point is ITS NEVER THIS EASY…

  4. As basic as it might sound, it does really touch a nerve! I'll start by that… once all things are in place, it might look less scary too
    Thanks for the advise!


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