What if I told you that contentment and happiness with your home is possible with just a few simple steps? What if I told you a clean house is a happy house?
You’d think I was nuts, probably. Right? Because how are you supposed to be content and happy with this pile of junk that’s supposed to be your house? Nothing matches, the carpet looks like the apocalypse happened on it, and there are possibly crushed Cheerios in all the corners of all the rooms.
Plus, maybe something smells a wee bit horrific.
There’s no contentment to be found, you’d tell me. Look at this place.
Trust me, I have absolutely experienced what you’re experiencing now. We’ve lived in ugly apartments with avocado appliances and terrible wallpaper. We’ve had unspeakable carpet and no budget to replace it. We’ve had ugly bathrooms and floorpans that made no sense, and through it all we had friends and children running rampant. My very soul felt like it had been sucked out of me and crushed into the filthy carpet pretty much every day.
I had to fight my way out of my despair bit by bit, and now I am here to help you out of your despair. We can do it, I promise. You can find a new joy and contentment with your home, even if you have no extra money, no ability to replace anything, and no magic genie waiting in his bottle.
Our five-part series begins right now. And it begins with a clean house!
I can feel your un-enthusiasm from here. I can tell you’d rather have your dentist drill all your teeth out. Trust me. I’m not wrong. I believe there are a few people in the world who don’t mind grime, crumbs, or stickiness. But I don’t believe those people would actually read a blog post about home contentment, either. Their central nervous systems literally register contentment in any home situation as they crunch across crushed crackers all over the floor.
The rest of us will feel better, happier, and more content in a clean house. Let me help you get there.
First, the obvious things:
- Vacuum the carpets. (You may have to pick up and/or throw out a lot of things first, like magazines and toys.) ((May the Good Lord be with you.))
- Sweep the hard floors.
- Mop the floors that can take the water (vinyl and tile). Gently spot clean the floors that can’t get drenched (laminate and hardwoods).
- Open the windows to let in fresh air. Even if it’s winter. Especially if it’s winter. A clean house needs to smell clean, which means you might need a lot of old air to get sucked out.
- Start a few loads of laundry. Don’t forget the towels, the throw rugs, and the blankets you keep in the living room.
- Clean the toilets, bathtubs, showers, and bathroom sinks. Pay careful attention to the floor around the toilet. And use the wand on your vacuum to go around the perimeter of the room, where all the hair collects. Don’t forget to clean the bathroom mirror and counter around the sink.
- Attack the kitchen. Here’s a blog post with a lot of instructions if this is going to be an all day job.
- Dust. I know, it’s the worst chore ever. But maybe our homes would feel less like mausoleums if we dusted once in a while.
That should give you a good head start on feeling better about your home. But maybe you’re in need of an advanced cleaning suggestions because something still doesn’t feel right.
- Choose your favorite cleaner (Windex, Mrs. Meyers, or simple white vinegar), get a rag, and start scrubbing. I often miss things like my windows, the hand rail on the stairs, and all that grime that accumulates around the light switches and door handles. If you have short people living in your house, get down at their level and scrub those tiny handprints off.
- Use the wand on your vacuum (or just get really good at using your cleaning rag and solution) and pay close attention to all your baseboards. They’re probably dusty and sticky and covered in hair.
- Ditto for your ceiling fans and light fixtures. Get the dust and the spider webs.
- Vacuum under the furniture, behind the furniture, and under the cushions. (My friend Josie just did this and found her wedding ring! It had been missing for a year!)
- The windows should still be open to let in that fresh air.
Super-Advanced Ninja Cleaning Options: for when you’re really, really about to lose your mind:
These suggestions are not for everyone. They may be a little controversial. But I’ve found them to be helpful in my own home, so use them at your own discretion.
- Train your kids (and their friends) to eat in the kitchen. Also train them to wash their hands before leaving the kitchen. The end. Banish snacks and sippy cups from the rest of the house. (One day I’ll tell you the story of when my mom found a cup of Pepsi in my brother’s room. The pop was so old the liquid had fermented and we had a potent stench that nearly put me off soda for life.) Be kind, but be firm and consistent. Your furniture and carpet will thank you for it. You’ll have fewer sticky fingerprints, fewer crushed crackers, and less stinky milk soaking into your textiles.
- Consider your pet situation. I hesitate to bring this up because I know that pets are considered family in a lot of homes. However, we just had to move our cat out of the house and into the garage this very week, and I can’t believe the difference it’s made for us. The carpet is less hairy, there aren’t spots of litter all over the floor, the whole house smells better, and NOTHING HAS POOPED ON MY CARPET FOR SEVEN DAYS. I feel like I have a new house! The cat is furious, but he should have thought of that before he spent three years acting like a drunken frat boy around here.
Obviously you know your own situation better than I do, but those are two areas that might make a big difference.
Don’t despair if your house is clean but you still feel like it’s an awful pit. The next four parts of our series will get you closer, inch by inch, to loving your home without taking a bulldozer to it.