Always be cleaning! After living in so many different places over the years I’ve found that this is SO important especially in small spaces. And when I say clean I mean both cleaning things that are actually dirty AND also tidying up. When your space is either messy or full-on-dirty it distracts the eye making it focus on the areas that aren’t in place which is exactly what you don’t want. And, it makes the space feel cluttered and disorganized. Usually, just tidying up and putting all those things scattered around the house in their place can make a huge difference. But, a good old-fashioned cleaning can be important too. Also, I should mention right up front that I by no means think you have to be the one cleaning. I know this topic can be a bit controversial, but if you’re in a position to hire someone to clean your house for you then I say do it! I don’t think there’s anything wrong with paying someone to do it for you, especially if that’s the only way it’ll get done. In fact, that’s something I hope to take off our plates at some point. With the move and the new house it’s just not in the cards at the moment, but as soon as it is I’ll definitely hire someone.
It’s helpful to start by figuring out exactly how often you need to clean. It’s not the same for every place or every person and it helps to figure out what works for your house. Is it every month or every week or something in between? Whatever it is figure your schedule out by paying extra attention after you clean to how long it takes to get dirty again. For instance, our studio apartment was always warm so we pretty much always had our windows open which meant way more dust and dirt got inside the house, plus it was the smallest. So, at that apartment we cleaned almost every single week. And if we went longer in-between cleanings it was SO OBVIOUS. But, our next apartment, the one bedroom, was much cooler and we almost never needed to open the windows. That seemed to make a huge difference in how dirty things got and there we could go two or three weeks before cleaning. And, now at our house it just doesn’t seem to get as dirty and we can go a month or so between cleanings. Which is awesome.
Next, I find it helpful to figure out what areas of the house need cleaning. We like to clean the whole house at once so everything gets dirty again around the same time and we don’t feel like we’re cleaning all the time. Have you listened to Episode #3 of Young House Love Has a Podcast where they talk about tidiers vs scrubbers? If not I totally recommend it! It was so enlightening for Xan and I. I’m 100% a tidier and he’s 100% a scrubber. So, he cleans the bathrooms and kitchen while I put everything away, straighten up all areas of the house, dust, go behind him and put everything back in it’s place (he moves everything out of the way to make cleaning even easier/faster). And whichever of us finishes first vacuums.
And then it’s a good idea to think about when things need to be cleaned. Back when we lived in our studio it was so small that we always cleaned the whole thing. But, in our one-bedroom apartment sometimes we would do a lighter clean and maybe every third time do a deep clean. That helps when you’re tight on time because you can be strategic and just focus on the parts that are the most important. What does everyone see? What bothers you the most when it’s dirty? Spend your time on those areas and hit the other things less frequently. We’re still figuring out when certain parts of the house need to be cleaned. For instance, our black stairs are like a magnet for dirt and dust and that’s something new we’ve never had to think about. Because it’s something you see right when you walk in the house and is such a focal point how frequently they need to be cleaned will probably dictate our cleaning schedule. We also have far more windows than we’ve ever had and we’ll have to figure out a cleaning schedule for those as well.
And then, overall, we like to abide by the “15 minutes to clean” rule. Which means our house is generally 15 minutes or less away from being clean. This is a huge help if entertaining in your house is a goal for you. Sometimes the perfect moment for a party is planned, but other times are completely spontaneous and those can be some of the very best memories. So, being prepared to jump on the opportunity when it comes along is important. We try and never let our house dirtier than we’d be comfortable with when guests come over so that if the moment strikes all we have to do is tidy up a bit.
Finding your own rhythm for when, what, and how you clean is just another step in being able to enjoy your house to the fullest!