Housekeeping for Dummies

This title really shouldn’t read “Housekeeping for Dummies.” Even if your place is a bit of a mess, it doesn’t mean that it’s because you don’t understand the concepts of clear-and-wipe, move-and-toss, pull-and-fluff. Instead, I think a more appropriate title would be “Housekeeping for Those Who Overcomplicate Housekeeping, and Therefore Don’t Do It,” but in the interest of space, I went with the former.

Seriously, I’ve met folks before who wonder how it is that I keep my home so clean, and I assure them that if they looked closely, they’d see that the place is nowhere near perfect. I’m a terrible duster: yes, it gets done but it’s usually after someone’s written their name or a left a handprint in the dust.

Yes, I’ll wash the floors {I heart my steam mop}, but I’m terrible about making folks take off their shoes, so it’s often only after half the neighborhood’s been tracked through my home. What’s a little asphalt in your kitchen, right?

And windows. Well, don’t even talk to me about windows.


As I said: soooo not perfect, but here’s the key: it’s uncluttered. When your space isn’t filled with clutter, it’s {a} much nicer to look at, {b} easy to see what’s out of place and return it to its proper location, and {c} very, very easy to convince folks that you’re the Queen of the Homemakers when it comes to keeping a spotless palace. They’re so stunned by the order of things that they miss the window smudges entirely.

So here are a few easy housekeeping tips for you. You’ll note this is not Rocket Science.

  • First, declutter! Give yourself a day {preferably the day before trash/recycling pickup} and go at it. Get rid of the old magazines, the catalogs, the knick-knacks that bring you no pleasure. And if you’re holding onto things for no other reason than sentiment, remember: memories never fade in your mind and heart, you don’t always need the physical “proof.” Need major help with this one? My girl Francesca of verri organized is the person you’ll want to meet.

Once you’ve created a more serene and manageable environment for yourself …

  • Never walk into your home with junk mail. Just don’t do it. We have our recycling bins right outside our “mudroom” door, and that’s where all the unnecessaries go.
  • Use products that inspire you. Mrs. Meyers, baby. Who wouldn’t want to clear off a counter top and give it a good swoosh if they could soon be smelling Geranium, Lemon Verbena, Basil, Snap Pea, or Lavender? Grab your bottle of Mrs. M and a rag, and get busy. Takes 10 minutes {sans clutter} to freshen up the surfaces of your living space.
  • Always make your bed. You don’t need to fuss over it—just make it! I still can’t get a hospital-corner right despite years of trying, so I just pull the sheet/pull the comforter/fluff the pillows and go.


  • Have stuff at the ready and convenient to use. I have an electric broom on every floor, so after The Boy has a meal I can grab it and pass it around my kitchen to get rid of the evidence he’s left behind {when do kids start sitting still and eating nicely over their plates?}. Takes me 5 minutes. If I need a quick clean-up in the bedrooms, there’s no need to lug something heavy upstairs {which means I’m more likely to do it!}
  • Never leave a floor empty-handed. In other words, if you’re heading upstairs to make the beds {yup, I’m reinforcing a point here}, grab a few things that have migrated down and bring ’em back up! Vice versa applies as well.
  • Finally, if you’re seriously low on time and can only focus on one room before you head out the door, make sure it’s the bathroom. Tidy the counter, put a clean towel on the vanity, and swish some Mrs. Meyers around THE bowl. A clean bathroom means your house is company-ready at any time.

So there are my secrets, folks. Hope they help you embrace your space a little more!

What are your best housekeeping secrets? {And no, shoving stuff in a closet doesn’t count.}

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  1. For the record, I have never spotted any dust in your house whatsoever. And yes, I had rolled around on the floors all over the house with The Boy 🙂 xoxo

  2. Anonymous says:

    Okay, so I totally love this. Could use your wisdom in my own home. Had an old friend, who is now a professional organizer, come into our home and stay with us a few days and helped me with about 4 awesome suggestions about how to use what she called “prime real estate” within the home….place to file all the school papers that come home, as one example. I employed her 4 suggestions and am already living less cluttered.

    The one thing I would add, however, is that the more people who live there, the more people there are depositing their clutter all over the house, so I would add that all people in the house need to be trained on these things. “Did you leave your sweatshirt on the step…then take it up to your room now that you are going up there? Are you library books strewn all over the house? Put them in the library book basket. Want to play more video games in the future? Where should the game controllers reside when you are done (video game basket).” Etc. This takes nonstop effort, but seriously, unless everyone is trained a bit, 4 other people’s clutter in my house will take me completely out if left on my own to deal with it.

  3. Thank you, Jeannie!

    B: You’re right: everyone needs to do their part. The olders can definitely make their own beds and not leave a floor empty-handed! Momma shouldn’t have to do everything!

  4. Anonymous says:

    I’ll remember to roll around on my own floor the next time to check its cleanliness, LOL!

  5. Mmm…you put me to shame. My husband is the clean freak of the family. I’m the slob. Yes, I admitted it. I leave socks on the couch (the cat might get cold), and put off doing the dishes until the next day because I’m so dang tired. There you have it…my dirty laundry out for everyone to see (no, thankfully, THAT always gets put in its proper place–in the hamper.).

    Actually, in retrospect, I’m a slob in recovery.

  6. Thanks for the mention my friend. Excellent tips and per usual an excellent post. 🙂

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