The Secret to Faking a Clean House

the secret to faking a clean houseI used to clean my house because I didn’t want other people to think I’m a slob. Now I’m past the point of caring whether or not friends think my house is clean when they come over. It’s a gift of the thirties, I think.

However, I’ve learned that I breathe easier in a space that’s clean and uncluttered. I’m kinder to my family; I think more clearly, I do better work.

“Outer order contributes to inner calm,” says Gretchen Rubin. I don’t know if it’s true for everyone; it’s certainly true for me.

Also: I would care very much if a friend slipped on a Lego and broke her leg (which seems like a real possibility, some days). This little tip eliminates the risk.

A friend taught me how to fake a clean house (although she never called it that). Here’s the secret:

the secret to faking a clean house

A roomy, empty laundry basket (or a giant cardboard box, or Rubbermaid tote.

That’s it.

Now pick up all the stuff that isn’t where it belongs and dump it in the basket, then tuck the basket into a corner. (If you want to go all-out, put the basket in the closet.)

the secret to faking a clean house

 

Next, tidy up the surfaces. (This makes a huge difference in how a room feels. ) If you have too many piles to sort through just now, plop that stuff in the laundry basket.

the secret to faking a clean house

 

Straighten the pillows and blankets, push the ottoman back in place, put the books back on the shelf.

the secret to faking a clean house

When the basket is tucked away discreetly, you don’t notice the basket: you notice the clean, shiny floors and glorious empty surfaces.

And when the clutter is gone, our living room feels like a much better place to live (and work, and play, and dream, and chat, and anything else you can think of).

My home may not be on the next cover of House Beautiful, but when I walk into my uncluttered living room I feel calm, and content.  I don’t feel overwhelmed, and I definitely don’t feel depressed or inadequate.  And it doesn’t have to be perfect to work (which is good, because it’s never perfect at my house!), it just has to be decently tidy.

Do you breathe easier in an uncluttered space? What are your best tips for making it happen?

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