What makes a house easy to keep clean and neat??

ccintxJanuary 23, 2011

I live in a tiny home, and it is very difficult to keep this house tidy and clean. I am in the process of designing a new home, and wondered what it take to make a house easy to keep clean?

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I would say good storage! If everything has a place to belong (even better if it's in the same room you need to use it) then it's easy to put things away. Then it's a breeze to clean, since you're not working around stuff that has no place to go.

When your storage capacity is full, you either need to get rid of some things or find more storage. That's the tricky part :)

    Bookmark   January 23, 2011 at 11:32AM
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The easiest way to keep your home clean is to simply not have more stuff than you need and love. If you love it, there is no challenge in looking at it everyday. If you don't need something, or love it, then it is just taking up space that is needed for something you do.

I live in a home with about 1300 sq ft, with four children, and have been challenging myself to decide what I need and what I really use. I have gotten rid of some things in my kitchen that I really never used. I am sure they would have a use for someone else, but I didn't need them. I need less time in the kitchen for cleaning up because I have more room period. I also started stream lining my bathrooms. It has made a difference.

    Bookmark   January 23, 2011 at 11:59AM
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When we travel, we often rent a cabin somewhere- beach, mountains, whatever. I could never figure out why we were so comfortable despite the cabins being so small. Then it hit me- no extra stuff! A rental has what you need; nothing more. There might be 4 to 6 plates, bowls, mugs, and sets of silverware. No huge sets of china that belonged to long-dead relatives that no one remembers. No closets stuffed with clothes that went out of fashion with Eisenhower. It' s simple, really, and nearly impossible to achieve without a major paradigm shift. I'm (literally) praying that we'll have the wisdom to let go of so much stuff when we move.

    Bookmark   January 23, 2011 at 3:03PM
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Yep I agree with all posts above. I have been decluttering for about 13 years now. Kind of fun to go through my house albums and I can see the process happening in pictures. Layer after layer gone. Like peeling the layers of an onion. I look back at our houses even 8 years ago and kind of freak out with all I had to take care of all of the time. I was running my self ragged with house work trying to keep it all clean and in place.

Some times too much storage is not a good thing. I certainly have lots of stuff around.For me now it feels manageable.

    Bookmark   January 23, 2011 at 3:16PM
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No huge sets of china that belonged to long-dead relatives that no one remembers. No closets stuffed with clothes that went out of fashion with Eisenhower.

Love that - probably because it's something we can all identify with.

I went through a lot of stuff and clutter after my Mother died 3 years ago. I just reached the stage where it was time to do serious paring down and to make the home "mine". I'm blessed with lots of good storage, but it doesn't have to be filled to the gunwales simply because it's there.

The folks just forgot, as they aged, how to get rid of things that weren't obviously garbage or recyclable. Many of you have probably seen it too - the raggedy towels that just keep getting washed and reused; worn thin fitted sheets with the elastic gone back in the linen closet; tag ends of every set of dishes since they were married - complete with nicks, dings, cracks, crazing from not being microwave safe; half a roll of wallpaper from somewhere (Been repurposing some of that as drawer liners); old paint brushes that can't be soaked soft...

There seems to come an age where things come into life and never leave. It's the onion growing new layers.

I'm still working on it, but my mantra is one worthwhile accomplishment a day- even if it's only shredding all the paper for a 1980 tax return.

    Bookmark   January 23, 2011 at 3:56PM
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as posted above, having some good storage but also paring down and not keeping things that you don't need or use anymore. It gets much easier when you dont have lots of extra stuff to keep clean or store somewhere.

For me a dishwasher is also a must, it is my best friend in the kitchen and saves me so much time keeping the kitchen tidy.

    Bookmark   January 23, 2011 at 9:57PM
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Chemocurl zn5b/6a Indiana

I agree...having less stuff, and not having much 'stuff' out that has to be dusted. I've been working recently at getting rid of 'stuff' so I will have room for everything to have a place. In time I'd like to be able to sweep and dust a room in about 15 minutes, as there won't be any clutter that will need to be dealt with before actually cleaning.


    Bookmark   January 23, 2011 at 10:23PM
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'the raggedy towels that just keep getting washed and reused; worn thin fitted sheets with the elastic gone back in the linen closet'

yep. I got 'em! towels have become rags...and sheets have become plant covers during cold spells here. sadly, they still need a place to 'live'. happily tho, I'll more storage space in my new place. it's more than double here. AND with a 2nd bathroom, the linen closet in there will have a dog/plant shelf. lol!

having the right storage space is essential! bookcases with glass doors should be required. less dusting for sure then.
things behind glass doors!

if you have more things that you love/want to keep and not enough space to have them out and about, think about rotating them - maybe with the change of a season? or annually. That's what I hope to do - box some up and put on the closet shelf and change them around every 6-8 months.

and if you have things that are still useful and you have no real reason to continue to keep them - give them to someone who can use them. Someone somewhere will be very grateful. I have a number of things like that packed away somewhere and when I find those boxes that stuff is going out - to my sister's church for their annual 'church sale'. someone will get use from the items and the church will make a bit of money.

    Bookmark   January 24, 2011 at 5:47PM
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I was going to say no children definitely makes it easier to keep the house cleaner - no one to throw towels on the floor, get a new glass each time they need a drink.

However, if you're keeping the cherubs (or don't have them), I recommend looking at all of your "stuff." Things that you LOVE, you should keep; things that are just there, put in a box. After six months, if you've not needed anything that was in the box, DO NOT OPEN IT, just donate it to a thrift store or throw it away. DO NOT UNDER ANY CIRCUMSTANCE OPEN THE BOX. If you open the box, you'll "find" things that you "need" and defeat the purpose.

    Bookmark   January 24, 2011 at 11:24PM
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Easy care floors and a cleaning schedule. Wish I could keep to the schedule:-/

    Bookmark   January 25, 2011 at 1:33AM
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"I was going to say no children definitely makes it easier to keep the house cleaner"

LOL, and add to that no pets! :)

    Bookmark   January 25, 2011 at 2:44AM
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Definitely no pets - though I do love my dog. Right now she's blowing her coat (shiba inu), and I wish I could vacuum her instead of the floors. Of course, when my youngest child was home from college for Christmas, and she used two towels a day every day for three weeks, it makes me think I'll keep the dog. ;)

    Bookmark   January 25, 2011 at 3:01AM
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I have vacuumed my dogs!!

and yes, I think they can be almost as much work/mess as kids! at least, mine can. I have one that likes to rip up paper - this is just something she's 'found to be fun to do' in her elderly age... maybe she thinks paper is a rabbit?

    Bookmark   January 25, 2011 at 6:25PM
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I also vacuum my dogs.They love it.LOL

    Bookmark   January 25, 2011 at 6:45PM
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Steph, I keep my cold weather plant covers, AKA worn out linens, in a big Roughneck garbage tote. I have a LOT of them, some I dragged south from DH's house because he had a lot more heavy covers than I ever owned in my life. He also uses some of them as paint drop cloths which stiffens them up and they are better insulation to the plants then.

I have considered some of the SAVED stuff as donate to the local RESTORE. I took another swing by there today and brought home 8 really tall cabinet doors, solid wood frames and beadboard centers. But my intention is to take some good unused faucets, electrical plates, stainless kitchen sink, a roll of garden wire, and so on. I did not realize they would accept them. But wow, they had a gorgeous maple kitchen demo in there today, I wish it was something I could have used!

But I agree. STORAGE, and not just poked back out of sight. I think it has to do with ease of accessing your stored stuff too. And recognizing what has outlived its usefulness. Like MAGAZINES. Do you realize that if I had saved my money over the years, instead of buying home decor magazines, I'd have been able to pay for a very expensive renovation? Think about it. I see the pretty picture, and I put out $6 or sometimes more, look at it once or twice, and then it is in a stack on my side table. I've started snapping a picture of the ideas I like, and then throwing away the magazine. Do you guess RESTORE would accept them instead?

    Bookmark   January 25, 2011 at 8:55PM
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I have two little dogs that love to raid the waste paper bin in the office which turns into a tug of war over the piece of paper and ends up with it shredded all over the floor.

they also like to bring sticks in from the garden and chew them up, and things like pomegrante flowers that fall off the tree - dang those things hurt when you stand on them LOL. I'm always tidying up after the little rascals :)

    Bookmark   January 25, 2011 at 9:55PM
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I'd much rather clean up dog fur than teenage anything!Of course, my grandsons can make as much mess as they want, and we have fun cleaning together.

    Bookmark   January 26, 2011 at 12:35AM
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ae2ga that is so sweet. I guess we dont mind little ones and pets making a mess, it's just to be expected.

    Bookmark   January 26, 2011 at 3:56AM
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I'm adding a link below to help people make some order out of their what-nots, knickknacks, or other expendable displays.

This is on the HOUZZ blog, and gives instructions for cleaning and painting most everything to create a sweet vignette .....AFTER you decide something is worth the trouble.

I think it fits in with keeping the house clean, and cozy as well. Good morning, all.

Here is a link that might be useful: Keeping whatnots presentable

    Bookmark   January 26, 2011 at 10:38AM
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Trancegemini, the pomegranate flowers hurt to stand on? Oh, I did not know that. I've ordered two dwarf pom trees/bushes because my parrots LOVE the fruits. I hope they bear fruit quickly though.

    Bookmark   January 26, 2011 at 3:43PM
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That is a GREAT blog post! I think knick knacks should be used with serious restraint - just one more thing to dust.

    Bookmark   January 27, 2011 at 2:35AM
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Moccasin the flowers and fruit that fall off my tree prematurely, dry out on the ground and become really hard. It's not much of a problem, only when the dogs bring them in and leave them lying around for someone to stand on, it's a bit like standing on a rock LOL.

    Bookmark   January 27, 2011 at 7:57AM
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OMG, Trance. There is a couple of sweet gum trees in our neighbor's yard which drop the "original" gumballs. I have a picker-upper that I use to go around picking up these 1" spiny balls which are awful to walk on. Plus, they yield seedling trees inside my ornamental flower beds, a big no-no.

I've often wondered if I could dip them in paint and hang them by the short "cherry stems" that remain attached to many. It might look pretty good painted RED like cherries or WHITE like .....whatever. Anything but walking on them.

I know I've seen dried fruit arrangements using halved pomegranates which looked pretty good. And the full monty as well looked pretty good. Could you maybe put them in a big glass vase the way they show off apples or lemons?
I like the dull red skin of fresh poms, but don't recall what the dried ones look like.

    Bookmark   January 27, 2011 at 10:03AM
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They go very brown when they dry out like that so they're not very pretty but I wonder how they dry them for arrangements? hmm, it could worth looking into because they would look great in vase if I could get them to keep their colour

    Bookmark   January 28, 2011 at 1:35AM
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Trancegemini, I'm trying to remember what the dessicant is that they pack flowers with to dry them to retain their color.

Hmmmm, I'll look into it. Maybe cutting it in half so the unique interior becomes the major design element would have more color so the brownish exterior would not draw attention?

    Bookmark   January 28, 2011 at 2:13PM
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hi moccasin, we were expecting a storm last weekend so it seemed like a good time to pick some of the fruit to give it a try. These were'nt ripe yet but I think they'll still look ok if they dry properly. you gave me an idea though, if they do turn brown I can try painting them later. this is after 4 days of drying out and they are darkening already but it should be interesting to see how they end up and it's the smaller ones that are really going dark now.


    Bookmark   February 3, 2011 at 4:27AM
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For those who suggested getting rid of the teenagers in order to have a cleaner house:

My daughter was born with a cleaning gene from a mysterious source. When she went off to college on the other coast, I realized how much I missed that! I hadn't cleaned the bathroom she shared with her 2 brothers for a long time because she couldn't stand any mess. I hadn't cleaned the refrigerator since she was about 9 and I discovered that for $10 she'd make the thing pristine. I have a friend who still laughs at the lecture she delivered when she was 13 on the mess we were making on the kitchen counter. Our house was quieter, but not quite as tidy when she departed.

    Bookmark   February 6, 2011 at 4:19PM
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suzanne... how old is your dd now? would she like to vacation in sunny AZ this winter yet?

    Bookmark   February 7, 2011 at 6:34PM
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oh wait, wait - if she's going to be vacationing, I'm 3 blocks from the beach for a little while longer.

    Bookmark   February 8, 2011 at 2:16AM
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How wonderful that such a gene pops up now and then!
I think you have a jewel of great price in your DD.

Looks like she will be highly prized for her skills.

And BTW, another thing which helps make a house easy to keep clean, is PROPER FINISHES. Like high gloss paint is easier to clean than flat paint. It is harder and less likely to wear.

    Bookmark   February 8, 2011 at 9:50AM
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OK, you guys highjacked my post. Now get back to the original subject! LOL

    Bookmark   February 24, 2011 at 11:00PM
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hey, dogs and teenagers usually don't rate high on the clean and neat scale...I've had many of both.

a dd who looooves to clean does! lol!

    Bookmark   February 26, 2011 at 1:52PM
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Oops, so sorry CC!
I'd also like to add that having your surfaces seamless, sleek, impermeable to stains, maybe super hard surfaces. I'd go for stainless steel in some areas.

In fact, that is what the cooking side of my kitchen will have for countertops.

I also think that a super strong stove vent in the kitchen will help keep the particles of atomized cooking steam from making a gooey mess on your surfaces in there.

A good mudroom well placed to match the way your family and guests live and enter the house. If someone mud wrestles, I'd put an outdoor shower off the deck, or maybe just inside the family entry.

Having folks take off their shoes as they enter is another good habit to REQUIRE. I won't say ENCOURAGE. Flat REQUIRE it. If their clothing is equally soiled, have a place for them to strip in the mudroom, with the laundry right there.
If dirt doesn't get any further into the house, you'll manage to contain it.

Another thing I'd say is to bring your groceries through that door as well, and unbag them there, maybe have a way to sort them at a folding table in the laundry. If you buy in bulk, placing a freezer in this home service area would be great. I think our buddy Lavender Lass has designed her farmhouse redo to have the real home working area by the back entry.

Perhaps have your recycling area included here. Trash control is another item to work into your plan. I personally do not like a garbage disposal, because I compost my organic stuff. But having a garbage disposal at your prep sink (if you are planning one) would keep it out of the main kitchen sink area. I think they are dangerous, and complicate using the main sink. And I do not have nor plan to have a prep OR bar sink.

Other than training the folks who live in your house to pick up and put up, I've about exhausted my ideas on this.

Oh yes. And NO SMOKING in the house. You'd be surprised what nicotine does to even fabric, much less painted surfaces.

That's it. Maybe someone else can come up with other ideas.

    Bookmark   February 26, 2011 at 6:31PM
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