Let’s face it – we’re not all Mrs. Hinch! The Essex sensation has made a living from her love of housecleaning – which she calls ‘hinching’ – and has millions of adoring fans and followers on social media. She takes great pleasure and solace in keeping her home spic and span, looking and smelling its best.
However, for most of us, spending the day scrubbing the loo isn’t our idea of a good time. Keeping up with our daily house cleaning can feel overwhelming, or like it just isn’t possible. With a busy work schedule, social engagements, hobbies, and looking after pets and kids – is there any hope for a tidy home?
The answer is a resounding yes! If you can build certain tidiness habits, you’ll start implementing them without even thinking. While you’ll have to focus on keeping them up at first, eventually they will become second nature. You might not be a Mrs. Hinch-level cleaning guru, but your home will be tidier, calmer, and nicer to spend time in.
Try starting with one or two of these tips, and work your way up to implementing all of them. How to keep house clean:
Why make your bed in the morning when you are just going to get back into it 12 or so hours later, messing it up again? For starters, it gets your day off on the right ‘tidy’ foot. Think of it like flipping a mental switch!
Making your bed, even just by quickly fluffing the pillows and straightening the duvet, makes the entire room look tidy. Skip the top sheets – they just end up balled up at your feet anyway – and use a washable duvet cover instead. You’re a lot less likely to mess up your bedroom if your bed is a calm and tidy beacon in the centre. Plus, it’s always nice to crawl into a nicely made bed at the end of a long day.
This is one of our favourite tidiness habits, as it really does make a huge difference. As you leave your lounge for the kitchen, do a quick scan around. Are there any errant glasses, dishes, or condiments that need to go back where they belong? The next time you exit the bathroom for your bedroom, take any dirty laundry with you, and then take your boots out of the bedroom and place them back in the hall closet. Don’t overwhelm yourself – just take what you can put away on that trip. When this becomes second nature, your house will ‘magically’ look and feel much tidier.
Have you ever put off a task because you don’t have enough time to do it to perfection? It can be tempting to do the same with your housekeeping goals and put it off until you have a weekend to do a deep clean, but this isn’t wise. If you want a clean and tidy house, you have to ditch some of your perfectionist leanings in favour of ‘good enough.’
Try to follow the 80/20 rule of housekeeping. That is, be happy if you get 80% of the cleaning done, and try not to stress too much about the remaining details. If you don’t have the time (or energy) to dust those hard to reach places, or wax the floors, that’s perfectly ok. Your home will still look much better than if you did no cleaning at all, and you can tackle those tasks on a less regular basis.
Before you get stuck into your house cleaning, pause for a moment and create a mental list of the most important tasks. For some people, it helps to actually write out a list. If you get started without prioritising your tasks, you can end up scattered, rushing from task to task without actually completing any.
Think about the time you have, and then choose 2, 3 or 4 tasks that you can realistically complete. When you complete a few things well, rather than many things poorly, you’ll feel a well-deserved sense of satisfaction.
Whether you are a singleton or the head of a large family, this is one of the most effective habits to get into. Every evening at roughly the same time, set a timer and start tidying for 15 minutes. Stick to the most pressing tasks – folding the washing, wiping down the bathroom surfaces, sweeping the floors, or going through the fridge.
The best time to do this will vary from family to family, but many people find that the 15 minutes before you begin prepping supper works well. Everyone is home, and everyone can pitch in.
Carrying on from the point above, it’s time to start getting your kids involved in all aspects of household tidying and maintenance. Sure, sometimes they can get in the way, but rather than thinking ‘oh, I’ll just do it myself,’ give them the instructions and demonstrate what you want done. Over time, they will get better at housekeeping, and they will be able to help you in a meaningful way.
Picking up after themselves, tidying away their toys, loading and unloading the dishwasher, cleaning the toilets – these are all chores that kids can tackle. Add more tasks as they get older, and soon you’ll have armed them with valuable skills for their life ahead.
Sometimes the best tips are the simplest. Instead of storing all of your cleaning supplies in one central cupboard, keep a few basic items where they will be needed. Stock each of your bathrooms with a spray cleaner, bleach, a toilet scrub brush, a few rags, and glass cleaner for the mirrors. That way, you can give the sink or the toilet a quick and easy clean when needed, without even having to leave the room to fetch supplies.
The world has gone mad for Marie Kondo – have you been bitten by the KonMari bug? You don’t need to go quite as far as the Japanese de-cluttering expert, but there are a lot of benefits to getting rid of your ‘junk’ and organising what remains. Fewer items on the counters and shelves results in less dust, and therefore less time spend dusting!
Another benefit of de-cluttering is that you are left only with the objects, furniture, and mementos that you truly love. Instead of a room loaded with knickknacks, your lounge will be all the more relaxing and chic with a simple, stylish chair, a selection of good books, a beautiful rug, and a few meaningful objects.
This list item will be different for each family, as you might not need to do a load of washing each day. However, most families go through at least one load of towels and flannels each week, as well as clothing and bedding. This can quickly add up! Unless you want to spend your entire weekend doing load after load of washing, it’s smart to do one each day. This prevents your laundry baskets from overflowing! Recruit your family to help you fold and put away all of the clean clothing and towels.
While this point might seem like the most obvious of all, it’s likely that you don’t always follow this sage advice. This is one of the biggest differences between a messy home and an ‘effortlessly’ tidy one.
Load the dishwasher as you prepare a meal, rather than putting pots and pan in the sink. Clear off your bathroom counters after you get ready, rather than leaving cosmetics scattered about. Hang your coat when you enter the house, and place your shoes in the closet. Fold or hang your clothes when you get undressed, or place them in the laundry basket. By nipping the mess in the bud, you’ll save yourself heaps of time tidying it later.
Maintaining a tidy home is good for your peace of mind. Walking into a calm, clean home allows you to relax and truly unwind at the end of a long day. By implementing some of the tips above, you can transform your living space into a sanctuary in just a few minutes per day.
Dodd, H. (2019). Mrs Hinch’s top cleaning tips that will have your home gleaming by Christmas. [online] mirror. Available at: https://www.mirror.co.uk/news/uk-news/mrs-hinchs-top-cleaning-tips-20975774 [Accessed 3 Dec. 2019].
Garrity, A. (2019). What Is the KonMari Method? Here’s How to Declutter the Marie Kondo Way. [online] Good Housekeeping. Available at: https://www.goodhousekeeping.com/home/organizing/a25846191/what-is-the-konmari-method/.
https://www.facebook.com/thespruceofficial (2019). 5 Surprising Benefits to Making Your Bed Every Morning. [online] The Spruce. Available at: https://www.thespruce.com/reasons-to-make-your-bed-every-day-350511.
Parenting, J. (2018). These are the ages your kids should have mastered essential skills by. [online] The Sun. Available at: https://www.thesun.co.uk/fabulous/6152773/kids-tell-time-and-other-life-skills/ [Accessed 3 Dec. 2019].
Office and marketing manager for Sloane & Sons Stylish Chairs, who sell a range of high-quality tub chairs, accent chairs and more.