I just recently found your blog and started following. I work as a lunch lady and the school kitchen is inspected by the health department a couple of times during the school year, so knowing how to clean and what to clean is really important. If you think about it, you wouldn’t want to eat in a place that had a low score, nor would you want to stay in a hotel that got a low review rating. I keep my home neat and clean all the time because I want to feel like I’m staying at a nice hotel that treats me like a VIP. Like you said, if you maintain it regularly, it’s no big deal, but some people think that if your home is too neat and clean or doesn’t look “lived in”, that somehow you couldn’t possibly be happy or have a happy family. I strongly disagree and I can tell you that if my home looked like theirs, I probably would not be happy living there. It’s okay if your home looks lived in, just not lived in by monkeys.
Hi Lorraine! I have to admit I laughed my head off at your last comment. So true and yes for me too, a house that looks lived in wouldn’t make me happy either. Thanks for stopping by!
I love reading your article:-) I read a lot of “how to keep your house clean” posts on pinterest and I’ll admit I do start to think they all say the same thing “put things in their homes, don’t let things pile up.blah, blah, blah (although I’d never leave a comment that it wasn’t helpful) I love your tips for the domestically challenged, like myself! I don’t love to clean but I love a clean and organized house lol Our slogan around here is sometimes it hot and sometimes it’s not:-) And with 3 little boys I have to remind myself that it will get easier as time goes on and there will come a day when I’ll miss the mess!
Glad you liked the article. Yes it will get easier as they boys get bigger. Until then just do the best you can. Thanks so much for stopping by! Maureen
First of all, wow. You, as a blogger, open yourself up to scrutiny and ridicule but it is up to me, the reader, to be polite and mannered. A judgie comment doesn’t help the conversation much… Unless the blogger turns it around as you did. Thanks.
Second, thanks for the practical tips and permission. Like Katie above, realizing the stage of life we’re in now will change and accepting that my house won’t look like Martha Stewart’s is OK. Realizing what I want my house to look like and being content is a good thing to accept too. However in both of those details there is not permission to accept filth.
When I read the first line I wasn’t sure where this was going. Thanks for the feedback. I strive to be honest with a dose of compassion. I think people respond better. I agree with Katie and you about the stage of life. I don’t have small children but I do have a grandson and my level of cleaning and orderliness has already taken a few steps down particularly on the days he’s here. I do what I suggest to others – the best I can! Thanks for stopping by!
I think for those of us who consider ourselves to be “domestically challanged” it is more of an issue of focus. At least it is for me. I struggle to keep my house clean. I prefer a clean house and it is by no means filthy but it seems to be physically immpossible to do a quick 10 minute this or 5 minute run through. Basically ADD kicks in and if I am dusting in the living room 30 minutes later I catch myself rearranging pots and pans or oragnizing my receipts. One day while cleaning I made a list of what ways I found myself geting distracted. I started by cleaning my bathroom, heard the dryer buzzer so headed that way. While passing fridge I decided to fix a drink. Remebered I left the hamper in my bathroom, went back to get it to take with me to laundry room. Apparently at some point I had been in the middle of putting clean sheets on the bed and got distracted from that to start the bathroom so I stopped to finish that task. From there went back to cleaning bathroom then it hit me I was supposed to be taking clothes out of the dryer. While walking back through the kitchen I see the freezer door standing wide open where I had started to get ice out for a drink, close the freezer head to the dryer. Realize I still forgot the hamper, went back to get it. Stopped to finish making my drink and finally made it to the laundry room with hamper and pulled clothes out of dryer. Folded clothes andput away then finally finished cleaning my bathroom. This is what I go through everytime I try to clean. It’s mentally exhausting. I have tried setting timers, I’ve made list of simple task I need to do and carry it around as I go so when I get distracted I have to go back to the previous task to finish then mark off the list. It just seems like this is how cleaning goes for me. On top of that I see every detail which also makes a quick run through hard. I start with intensions of just dusting and vacumming and end up pulling all the furniture away from the wall and cleaning all the bass boards. It may take me hours to clean my small house but you can eat off the floor when I’m done, haha. So all that to say, most of us who struggle to keep our houses clean it’s not always an issue of laziness or nor liking to clean, it’s just staying focused!!! The struggle real and it’s super annoying!
OH MY GOSH, Cindy!! You’ve described me to a “T”! Every time I try to clean, I, too, am distracted by the sixty other things that I could clean AND when I do clean, I clean to the max, it has to be SPOTLESS, not just to clean.
My husband, on the other hand, thinks cleaning is to put everything that is out of place in a box and then shelf that box (instead of actually putting it AWAY!!) When the place LOOKS clean, he stands back and admires the view.
Neither of us is very effective – so we’re the perfect match!! (Going on 40 years of marriage now!)
KK: It doesn’t have to be perfect, just doing something is going to make your house look better and you feel better. Thanks for stopping by! Maureen
Hi Cindy, You raise some really good points here about being domestically challenged and the problem with focus or ADHD. I’m going to do some research on this issue. Watch for more articles to help you and others. Thanks for stopping by.
Thank you I needed to hear that. What I am referring to is the comment that you made it says “you are domestically challenged because you want to be”.
The other one that of course is a very simple comment but makes total sense is the “house is not going to clean itself”
I think my two biggest problems right now are that I do not have a washer and dryer or do I have the money at the moment to go to the laundromat and also I do not have a vacuum cleaner and I have several pets.
HOWEVER: I realize I have used these excuses for too long and that if I want the situation to change I will have to find a way to make it happen.
Everything piles up and gets overwhelming to the point where I just am paralyzed and stuck and nothing gets done by myself or my daughter.
It is truly my biggest mental problem right now in trying to get my life organized. I realize that I have to start with having my home organized.
I have never had a problem keeping things clean that I have always had a problem with decluttering or becoming overwhelmed if I fall behind. I’m hoping the series of articles will help me to change my home and I realize that that will definitely change my life.. it really is that important.
I guess the one suggestion that comes to mind is do have a friend that would allow you to wash your clothes at their house if you were to say buy the detergent etc? Also can you borrow a vacuum even once a week from a friend or family member. You might be able to find a decent used vacuum by finding your local online chapter of wwww.freecycle.org You can ask the community if anyone has a vacuum they are willing to part with. You never know someone might have one for you. Other than those suggestion, do the best you can. Eventually things will change and I will be writing more pieces on helping those who suffer from these challenges. Good luck and come back and visit again!
This was one of best articles that I’ve read from many years! Finally, someone to say the hard truth. It’s not a shame to have a messy house sometimes! It’s not a shame to hire a cleaner to do the cleaning for you. People have different daily schedules and tasks. It’s hard when you have kids, pets and busy work times. Everybody needs to accept its home condition not to feel sorry for it.
Yes! No point in feeling bad. Do what you can, hire if you can, and just work at it day by day. Thanks for stopping by, Maureen
Oh, I really like your tip “Pick One Room and Tackle It,” especially about maintaining just that room going on, and adding more rooms later. I’ve been doing something similar with smaller habits for my 4 year old: we choose one habit a month and work on it all month, until it become much more second nature. It’s working really well, so I bet it would work for cleaning too!
I’m definitely domestically challenged on the clutter side of things; some of my reasons are legitimate (young kids, low sleep, other physical issues, etc) and some aren’t (I’d rather be doing something else). Right now we just got our bedroom back into shape, so for the rest of March (maybe April too!) that’ll be my habit-room. I’m excited to see if this works!
Let me know how it goes Diana! Maureen
I like what you said in tip number four on hiring a professional to do the first major cleaning. That way you can have a good, not overwhelming place to start with your cleaning. Doing that does seem like it would make it easier to keep it up for a long period of time.
An individual’s health can play a huge role in the cleanliness of their home. Their circumstances may not permit them to have professional help but they may really need it. What are they to do? Doing everything they can just isnt enough to keep things up. Helpful ideas please.
Depending on where you live, your age and condition, sometimes organizations like Elder Services will provide someone to clean your home on a regular basis. I’d check with people in your community to see if you could get some free help. Another avenue might be through your local church. I know we have women all the time than go and clean other’s homes that can’t do it on their own. Hope these suggestions help. Maureen
I recently read a comment on my article 12 Habits of People Who Always Have A Clean Home. Reader Heather wrote, ” I was hoping for an article with tips and tricks for someone like me who just isn’t domestically gifted. What I’m taking away from this is, “Just clean constantly and you’ll have a clean house.” Sorry to be negative. They’re good habits and all. I just have a hard time keeping these habits myself.”
Heather, do you think I clean constantly? I don’t. I’ve got lots of other things I need to get done in the course of a day, but I do use my time wisely. I do tasks as they need to be done, spread out over the entire day.
In this post, I’m going to share with Heather and all the other domestically challenged people out there some tips and strategies for getting and keeping your house clean.
I want first to encourage Heather and all the others out there to stop comparing yourself to me or anyone else who may keep a cleaner and neater home. This isn’t a competition. Some days my house looks great and other days it looks like a bomb went off. Why? Because other things take priority and I, fall behind. I’m not perfect, and I don’t always do everything on this list every day. I strive to do them, and most of the time I am successful, but not always.
For example, here’s a picture of my bed today (the day I’m writing this post). It’s 2:16 PM and I still haven’t put the clean sheets back on the bed and made the bed. Why? Because I had other things that needed to be done first. For one, I needed to help Sylvia, my mother’s aide, take care of my mom. Second, I had to finish this article, and third I’ve just procrastinated. The cat doesn’t seem to mind an unmade bed!
Some Things To Remember About Housekeeping
It’s influenced by skill
It’s influenced by your personal style
It’s influenced by available resources
It’s influenced by the size and needs of your family
It’s influenced by your level of commitment
It’s influenced by your life circumstances
My housekeeping results will look different from yours depending all the factors I’ve listed. Either way, be kind to yourself and just do the best you can.
It would be lovely to live like Martha Stewart with everything perfectly in place, but that’s not the reality for most of us. We are who we are, and although we can strive for a cleaner and more organized home, what we might end up with might be less than perfect.
Your home does not need to be perfect with everything in its place. True, that’s how I like my home, but you’re not living in my home, your living in yours.
Sit down and think about how you WANT to live. Some people don’t have a problem with clutter. Some people are fine with cleaning once a month or just doing a swipe and wipe. If you are disgusted by your home’s cleanliness or feel like something NEEDS to change, then you’ll want to decide on what changes must happen for you to be happy living in your home. Only you can determine the level of cleanliness that you wish your home to reflect.
If you’re constantly dissatisfied with the state of your home, then that’s a good indication something has to give.
If you’ve got the money and you hate a dirty house but either don’t want to clean it yourself or just don’t have the time, consider hiring a cleaning lady or service to keep your home clean and tidy. It really will be a good use of resources if you can afford it. You can take the stress and burden away from yourself and now have the additional time to focus on other more important things you want to be doing.
If you got the funds, or if you can budget it successfully into your monthly spending plan, go for it.
Heather, I hate to tell you this, but your house won’t clean itself. It will take effort on your part not only to clean it but maintain it. You don’t need to clean all day, but you will have to pick up a duster and run the vacuum every once in a while.
Here’s the thing: No one wants to clean all day, but if you ignore your house, it will take all day, maybe several days to get your house fully cleaned. It’s what you do going forward that makes the difference. That’s where the 12 Habits come into play.
If you take the time to make your bed in the morning (5 minutes), wipe down the counter, (30 seconds), load the dishwasher and wash pots and pans (I’ll give you 30 minutes for this one), put your coat away (15 seconds) – you get the picture here don’t you? None of these items take that long to accomplish if you’re maintaining your home. Of course, vacuuming will take the most amount of time, but if I vacuum my whole house without stopping it still only takes me 15 minutes. The whole list comes to less than an hour, spread out over the entire day.
And, just to be clear, I don’t advocate vacuuming every day unless you’ve got a reason, like multiple pets.
Heather, let’s face it – you’re domestically challenged because you want to be. You want to be doing something else – I get it. I understand, cleaning is not everyone’s favorite thing to do. But you have three choices: hire someone, start cleaning your home or continue to ignore it, which of course is an option.
It’s your choice, and that’s the great thing. You can choose to live any way you want. I want to live in a clean and orderly home. Some people want clean but don’t mind clutter, and others should be on the next episode of Hoarding: Buried Alive. No matter where you fall on the spectrum, it’s up to you.
If you want to ease into cleaning here’s a few tips to get you started:
1. Focus on Key Areas
People typically will be in two rooms when they visit: the kitchen and bathroom. If you can keep your kitchen tidy and wiped up, your house will look noticeably cleaner. Keep your kitchen table clean and clear of clutter too.
If you’ve got a clean toilet, it goes a long way it helping a home look presentable.
2. Pick One Room and Tackle It
Take one room and spend a few hours cleaning it top to bottom. Once that room is done, implement the 12 Habits that are applicable and make a commitment moving forward to keep the room clean and tidy. Once you have that room nailed down, move on to another room.
3. When All Else Fails: Shut the Door
If company shows up and a room is a mess, shut the door. It’s no one’s business what’s behind that closed-door, so go ahead and shut it.
4. Hire Someone To Do the First Major Clean
This will cost some money, but you can hire someone to come in and get your house up to speed, and then you maintain in going forward. I’ve done this for countless people in my cleaning business. Some have been successful, and some have not, but all have tried.
You can clean, you do have the skills, you just need to get into action and go.
If you keep telling yourself that you can’t clean, then you won’t. Turn your attitude around and you’ll be amazed at how much you’ll accomplish. You won’t be cleaning all day. Instead, you’ll be using the 12 Habits to guide you to accomplishing tasks when they need to happen.
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