How do you clean around “Lived-in”? WHAT? Your house doesn’t look like a Pinterest board?
If you have stuff everywhere and you need tidying up, you’re normal. But a lived-in home is just that – lived-in.
Clutter removal is part of daily DIY cleaning. And housekeeping wasn’t meant to be an hours-long event every day.
Listen: How Do You Clean Around “Lived-in”? Tidying Up Tips
Watch: How Do You Clean Around “Lived-in”? Tidying Up Tips
Hey there, I’m Angela Brown, and this is Ask a House Cleaner. This is a show where you get to ask a house cleaning question, and I get to help you find an answer. You can find this and 400 other answered questions in this series on our YouTube channel.
How Do You Clean Around Lived-in?
How do you clean around lived in, how does a regular person balance between a deep clean and regular clean? I don’t like homes with an empty feeling. How do you clean around lived in?
Everyone has a different level of what is good enough for us. Now you have to stop and ask yourself the question, “What is all the cleaning for?”
Are you cleaning so that your house will look like a Pinterest board? Or are you cleaning it so that you can function on day-to-day activities and you can get through the day?”
Some People Clean for Pinterest
So, if you are trying to go for the Pinterest look, then more power to you. But most Pinterest pictures do not reflect an entire house.
It reflects a particular area where somebody got really creative and they spent some money. It all matches and it’s all in one spot and wow, it looks amazing.
The rest of their house is what we call off-camera, it’s what you don’t see. It’s all this stuff they’ve pulled out of the closet so they could take the amazing picture, and as soon as they took the picture they put it all back.
What Does Lived-in Mean?
All right, so what is lived-in? Lived-in is a functional home where there’s a whole lot of stuff that’s happening inside the home. But you just want to get a clean, tidy space.
Now you want to keep a clean and tidy space for this reason. There are a lot of health issues established with a messy home.
There are reasons why you want to keep your home clean, but once you have all the bulk of that stuff cleaned. Then regular maintenance is good enough.
Lived-in Doesn’t Look Like a Pinterest Board
Okay, so what does that look like? It does not look like a Pinterest board. It looks like something that is functional to you.
Lived-in is not color-coded. It’s overcrowded but it’s good enough, right?
Keep your clothes separated by lights and darks when they are in the closet. They are ready to get washed and so that is good enough. That’s all you need.
How Lived-in Laundry Looks
All right. Another thing is that lots of people will fold the laundry. Let’s say on mom’s bed, and then they break it out into separate piles by person in the family.
And then it’s your own responsibility to go into mom’s bedroom and grab all the clothes that are yours. Then you go put them away yourself.
So if the kids are old enough to get their own stuff, just having them separated is usually good enough.
Use Clear, Functional Containers
Now you can use clear storage containers to keep your house clean and organized. One bin has socks in them, another bin has underwear and so on.
And so it’s not that things are even folded or that they’re in a tidy drawer looking like a Pinterest drawer. You can see through the container and you can say, “Oh yes, that’s where the socks are.” That is good enough.
If you open the container, the socks are folded together, but they’re all in a clear plastic bin. They’re not stacked, they’re not in rows, they’re thrown inside this clear plastic bin. And that is good enough.
Hang Things on the Back of the Door
Another solution would be things hanging on the back of doors. Maybe you don’t take a shower and take your towel, and then roll it up into a little origami towel monkey for example.
But what you might do is hang it up on the back of the door. That is perfectly good enough.
Instead of shoes lying about on the floor, you take the shoes and you hang them upright inside the garage door. This way you’re not wearing shoes inside the house, and they are waiting for you when you go out the door again. It’s functional. That’s good enough.
If You Live in a House It’s Going to be Lived in
So, instead of putting all the things in the dishwasher, the dishwasher drainer is on top of the counter. You can rinse a dish and put it inside the drainer, and that is good enough.
And so lived-in sometimes is much more possible than having something clean and tidy. Yes, everything’s clean, everything is tidy, but it’s not Pinterest-like. Everyone wants their house to be perfect.
Well, the reality is there is no perfect. If you live in a house, it’s going to be lived-in. So the object is to pick up the big things so that you’re not tripping and falling.
Don’t Think Your House Isn’t Clean Until It’s Perfect
So, what I’m encouraging you to do is not be mean on yourself, and not think that your house is not clean until it’s perfect.
Ask what is good enough for me? What is functional? What is going to help me get through the day?
And then when you come back in, of course, your bed is made, it’s nice, it’s tidy, whatever, it’s good enough. Now you’re ready to go about the rest of your day. That’s all you need, right?
Everyone Does Their Part to Make a House Lived-in
So, the whole purpose of having a lived-in house is a lot of people live in it and so it’s lived in, it’s clean, it’s tidy. The secret is everybody does their part, and that way, no one is spending hours a day cleaning.
Because even if you’re a professional house cleaner, you don’t want to go home and spend hours a day cleaning your own house.
And if you hire a professional house cleaner, you don’t want to spend hours a day maintaining it. Everybody wants a clean, tidy home, but it shouldn’t take hours a day to maintain.
There are Routines to Keep a Lived-in House Tidy
There are little routines and habits that become automatic as you go, and the secret is to follow the automatic routines every single time.
You take a shower, you get out, you squeegee the walls down. That’s it. They’re nice, they’re clean, they’re tidy, it’s good enough.
The rest of the shower may not be dry. It will drip dry but the glass is clean. It’s not going to get any soap scum build-up. It’s good enough, right?
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