Today I'm sharing my secret of how to have a perfectly clean house.
If we can do it with four small kids under the age of five and in a house with 1200 square feet, you can do it too. If people followed these steps they would have a perfect house just like us.
What are you waiting for?! You won't believe how simple these seven tips are.
Here are the steps to have a perfectly clean house:
- Clean and organize a room in your house.
- If possible, ask a husband to occupy the kids in another room. Maybe put on a movie.
- Take pictures until you have a perfect room. (In extreme cases, shove stuff behind the camera.)
- Edit that picture.
- Post it on the internet.
- Share the post(s) multiple times when referencing your home. (Here, take our house tour)
- Repeat as needed for other rooms.
There you have it!
Do this often enough and when people will picture your home, those pictures will come to mind.
They will always think of your home in it's perfectly clean and organized state. They will swoon over your mad decorating skills, make themselves feel like crap over it, and maybe you might get someone who tells you that they are "#jealous!"
(Turning my sarcasm voice off.)
I don't have a perfectly clean home. It does get clean, but it does not stay clean for long.
This is my house not long after we had someone over, and honestly, I thought it was pretty darn clean.
Please don't ever let my pictures that I post fool you. When things are clean, I quick *snap* a picture! And then a few minutes later it is messy. This blog is my job and I want to show you our home in its pretty state. But it isn't like that 24/7.
I think having a clean house is a beautiful thing. I think it is important to raise our children to clean up after themselves, organize, and learn the importance of decluttering. If I have friends or family coming over, we are going to work our tails off so the place looks nice/presentable.
I take pride in my home, we've worked hard to remodel and finish projects and you better believe that I want to enjoy it that way!
But I think a perfect home, especially mid-day on a weekday with kids that just want to play, is sometimes impossible. Keeping the toys under control helps, but we still make messes here.
Messes can be good, so long as they are manageable. A good mess in our family room can take 10-15 minutes for the kids to clean up. A bad mess is a pile of crap I keep telling myself I'll sell but haven't sold in two years. A good mess is laundry. A bad mess is laundry that I let pile up, or clothes that I won't get rid of even though I know I need to.
Here are some non-sarcastic tips for keeping a perfect-ish home:
- Declutter your home, only keep the things you truly need or love.
- Go through your home spot by spot with our 40 bags in 40 days challenge.
- After you've done a deep clean, edit your home on a weekly basis.
- Avoid making unnecessary purchases.
- Don't be afraid to return or donate those unnecessary purchases.
- Let your kids see you clean. Help them, let them help you (even if they aren't as fast as you). You are teaching them how to keep a clean home.
- Don't let things pile up. It is easy to let laundry or dishes pile up (guilty), and sometimes it happens (guilty again), but try to avoid it and you won't be so stressed.
If you don't have to spend all of your time cleaning, decluttering, organizing, and catching up, you can enjoy your life more fully. Your home won't be a burden. Your home won't be a stressor or nag you with constant pleas of "clean me! clean me!"
If you don't think you can handle it, I'm going to tell you that you're wrong. Start somewhere. Stop making excuses and take your home back! Start small. Start today. Join the the thousands of us doing 40 Bags in 40 Days. Chip away bit by bit and don't give up. Stop the cycle and DO something about it.
And then when you have a clean home?
Get proud and take pictures like your home is a Kardashian and you are the paparazzi. Heck, even take a picture of kids eating pizza for breakfast in your beautiful home.
Yep. Nothing beats pizza for breakfast in a perfectly clean home. Except of course a perfectly healthy breakfast, but ehhh... I'm not perfect. 🙂
Love your home and you will be surprised at the love you will feel coming right back.
Coming soon: How to Have the Perfect Family 😉
Would you share what paint color you used on your walls (light blue)? I have been hunting for something like it. Thanks!
Ann Marie Heasley
Yes! This is Valspar "Stillness". In our home now, we have a color called "Brook Green" by Behr, it is a greenish grayish blue. I haven't shared it yet on here, but it's on my Instagram: http://instagram.com/whbsblog
Hope that helps! 🙂
Thanks for sharing! Will go check it out at Lowes!
I love your honesty. I'm slowly working my way through 40 bags in 40 days or so.
That is a nice magazine/book rack. I'd like to know about it too. I find your blog very helpful, interesting, and it makes me hopeful that after all the weeding out/paring down, decluttering/and then finally organizing I've been doing, that making things beautiful with thoughtful and useful decorating will be possible. Thanks!
Ann Marie Heasley
Hi Parsley! We bought it at a garage sale, but it is made by Pottery Barn Kids. A few years ago a reader mentioned that Walmart sold a similar one, but I since haven't been able to find it. I do know that Pottery Barn Kids still have theirs, but there might be more available online now. I would Google "white kids book rack" and see what comes up! 🙂
Thank you for the kind words! It is definitely a process. I've found that decorating is much more enjoyable when you've done some decluttering! Best of luck to you. 🙂
Loved reading this. I'm in the midst of enjoying what we have more, by getting rid of the junk filling every corner of our small home! I have to remember to take more pics of when the room is clean-but also 'before' pics so I can see the progress! Anyway this blog inspired me to live more fully where we are, to enjoy our indoor and outdoor spaces by simply clearing out the crap;)!
This. Is. Truly. Exceptional. Yessssssss!!
Ann Marie Heasley
WOOO HOOO!!! Haha, sorry. Your comment made me smile. Thanks, Angie! 🙂
You are funny. Great post!
Someone once asked me how they could keep a clean house. (For the life of me, I cannot figure out why. Mine is consistently a disaster.) I looked at her and said, "Don't have kids."
It's the only way I know of to maintain a sparkling living space, but if you ask me, I'll take a lot of mess and laughter over spic n' span any day!
Oh, my. I'm just sitting here at my computer this morning, sipping a cup of piping-hot chai tea, and I found your blog, quite by accident. It was a "click-here-click-there-oh-this-looks-interesting" sort of thing that led me to you. And the title on this post snagged me immediately, because we have two boys -- A TODDLER AND A TEENAGER, and that is why I always need salon appointments to cover my gray hairs! My Type A, firstborn, OCD-ish personality genuinely WANTS a clean house, every second of every day, but goodness! Our toddler is SO DADGUM BUSY, that he can empty a toybox and fourteen kitchen cabinets in the time it takes me to sneeze. We are ALWAYS picking up around here! Thanks for a genuine post... and I love your little blog here. I took your home tour, and your house is DARLING. CLEAN... and darling!! If I was in the market for a house outside of Chicago, I would come buy yours, and insist that you sell the rug in your living room with the house, because LOVE IT! Have a great weekend.
Ann Marie Heasley
I'm having a hard time deciding what to say here because I LOVE your comment. So so much. 🙂
I love this!! 🙂 My husband and I moved in to our new house a month ago and I have been loving the process of making it a happy organized place but totally know that with three small children it's going to be a little messy at times. 😉
Love your blog!
Christina @ Christina's Adventures
haha I love this, Ann Marie 🙂 You're the best! Sharing with my FB peeps
Stephanie @ Jornie.com
Such a perfect post! Thank you for sharing this! We have 4 under 5 also (what fun, haha!) and use a lot of these tips already, but it is so helpful to see them put in written form! Definitely pinning & sharing this. 🙂
I love it! I think of it as getting a room back to "start." After that, things will enter the room, homeschool work will be done, joy will be had. It is real effort for me to be mindful continually to get a room back to "start" every day. I'm not there yet, but I am de-cluttering and hope to meet that goal in the future. Thanks for your honesty!
OH, ANN MARIE! You have endeared yourself forever to me with this blog post. Thank you for your honesty. I appreciate this as much as when Oprah showed us what it takes to get her ready for the cover of her magazine! I appreciate your 40 Bags Challenge, and for being able to share with others my own experiences. My blog has had more traffic because of being able to share my experience decluttering, and stories that offer hope. Thank you for your inspiration.
Ann Marie Heasley
Denise!! I could hug you right now. Thank you for saying that and also for joining in. That's an inspiration to me!!
You're the best Ann Marie! Love this!
Ann Marie Heasley
Aww, you're the best! Thanks, Amber. 🙂
I love my home! I would love to love it more! I am working on my 40 bags in 40 days as well!
The worst thing I found was that paper craps up everything, even tho it is my bread and butter. But when I looked at the paper deluge, the clothes that are washed but never get put away, the dishes piling up, it was a source of despair and overwhelming-ness. I wither in front of it all.
I have read many things about clearing clutter, including The Fly Lady's blogs, and I gladly welcome information on clearing clutter, but until I found the 40 bags in 40 days, I had not been able to get past being overwhelmed with it all, because the cleaning was never-ending, and there went the voice that said, "You've got to get it all done today!"
No I don't. I don't even have to get one room done in a day like the Fly Lady does. One bag. One day. Any spot. My choice. I can do that.
Bags (and "bags") I've done include
sorting through papers (many bags!!)--I count the bags I fill as well as the bags I actually take to the recycle dumpster. There is a separate effort there, so they are each separate bags.
Running a load of dishes.
Washing a load of clothes
Putting away a load of clothes
Putting a large dresser mirror into storage (up steps and down a hall)
dumping the cat litter
shredding a bag of papers
Wiping down a counter in preparation for processing groceries (cutting, chopping, bagging, rewrapping, etc.) for storage.
I have never felt more empowered than I do with this 40 bags in 40 days! Especially when I can look around after the papers have been gathered and realize I have a floor there!
And so I will be giving my house several presents: a trash can and a recycle can for each room, so that wherever I am, I can process the paper in my hand wherever I am. And a shred can as well.
This is a great post! What a relief that your house doesn't always look like the picture perfect perfection!
I was wondering if you could share where you got the book/magazine wrack that is in your family/tv room? We have books and mags everywhere, which is great because my son is an awesome reader and loves to read and so do I!
Thanks so much!
Haha! I love it. You had me hooked with that post title. I am in the middle of a full kitchen gut/reno. I pick up pretty much everyday. We have plywood floors, holes in the ceiling where we took down soffits, but I don't concentrate on that. I concentrate on the 1/2 bath that we just updated and how stinking cute it is in there. (no pun intended). And I look at the trim that I have finished painting white as I conquer all that fruitwood stained poplar in my 1990 home. But mostly, I think about how beautiful it will be in about a month. I have spent 24 years in this house with the love of my life and two beautiful daughters. I am looking forward to the next 24 years with future son in laws and grandbabies and lots of Good Messes. Love being part of your 40 in 40 group. I was extremely successful last year with my basement, and I intend to use that mentality when it's time to move things back where they belong.
Yes! Live this post I have 3 boys (and another baby due in the fall) and watch 3 extras and clean up each day only takes 10 minutes. More clutter = bigger more time consuming messes.