*This post is in collaboration with Dyson, but all thoughts, advice and vacuum adoration is my own*
Boy Dom and I spend Monday morning doing the usual post-weekend cleaning blitz of the house. He’s a way faster tidier than I am. He’ll whizz through the house with determination and purpose whereas I meander bedroom to bedroom, carefully organising and tidying cupboards and drawers (usually making more mess than I started with). But, as a team we’re a cleaning force to be reckoned with and within an hour our house can be transformed from a grubby, messy, it-looks-like-a-tornado-hit-it wreck to a sparkling, fresh-smelling, clean home. We’ll then swear that we’ll strive to keep that tidiness up, that we’ll not let it fall into such disrepair again. Fast forward 24 hours; two photoshoots, two kids leaving for and returning from school, two dinner sittings, two breakfast sittings and two pets running riot later and it’s right back to where it was before. Sound familiar?
As a family, we’re a messy bunch. We’re an I’ll-do-it-later gang. A foursome of someone-else-will-pick-up-my-mess thinkers. We’re clean, but we’re messy. As I type this, I’m staring at tea stains that are still speckled up my white walls from when I accidentally spilt an entire cup over me, the table and consequently the walls. I’m looking at left-over homemade Marie Rose sauce that I haphazardly made for my lunch and then decided I was too busy to clean up. The mountain of washing that is balanced precariously high in the utility room is reaching dizzying heights, getting increasingly dangerous with each load (I don’t think we’d ever find Penny if she wandered into it just as a laundry avalanche occurred). And as I look down at my feet, there are remnants of ‘Penny’s cafe’ all over my floor – hot chocolate powder, flour, nuts (random) and baking powder. My sitting room is full of Amelia’s socks (or should I say sock; there’s only ever one of each pair), toys, pens, left-over snacks, half-drunk mugs of tea and half-eaten chew toys (thanks, Elvis).
Our house is far from tidy, and at times, when I scroll past, (what looks like) everyone else’s pristine Instagram homes, I fall into the trap of questioning why our sofa cushions are always scattered and never ‘arranged’. Why Penny’s toys are strewn throughout every room, and why we always have dirty dishes in the sink when there’s a dishwasher sitting waiting to be filled. Really, I should know better. I should know that their mess has most likely been pushed to one side, out of shot, just as ours is whenever we take photos. But when you’re working from home and creating farfetched photoshoots that require pulling every colour duvet cover and matching pieces of clothing from the wardrobes, it’s inevitable that your house gets turned upside down.
However, even though as a family we’re notoriously messy, there are still a few rules that I try to abide by in an attempt to keep my house manageable and almost tidy.
So this has been pretty life-changing for me, and my floors are rejoicing from all the attention they’ve been receiving lately. Before we welcomed this Dyson into our lives, the thought of heaving our old bulky hoover out of the cupboard – battling against mops, coats and shoved-in school bags – and then having to untangle the wire, was all the incentive I needed to “forget” to vacuum at the end of a hectic day. I get that vacuuming is a chore, but it shouldn’t be that hard. With the Dyson Cordless Vacuum, there is no bulkiness, no heavy heaving, no tangling of wires, and most importantly, it’s quick and easy – it’s no longer a chore. I can whip it out whenever the situation arises, combat the affected and crumby area and have it back on its dedicated holder without breaking a sweat. No wires, no fuss and no mess (literally). Also – and this is my favourite feature – the Dyson is extremely light-weight, so light that even the kids can use it with ease. This means that when Penny offers to vacuum (Amelia never offers, Amelia is only ever forced), she can use it without yanking at the wires and chipping our kitchen cupboards in her quest to be ‘helpful’.
Now that grabbing the vacuum is no longer a chore – dare I say it’s enjoyable – my floors are crumb-free, the cobwebs are no longer dangling from the ceiling, and even my car has been treated to a deep clean. So, if you’re busy, sometimes lazy, messy and want your home to be tidied with minimal effort, then my advice is to invest in a Dyson Cyclone V10 Cordless Vaccum.
Do things when they need to be done.
Okay, so I put my hands up here and say that I’m not the best at taking my own advice, but when I do stick to this rigidly, I see a huge difference in the state of my home. The washing mountain shrinks dramatically; no stray coats are blocking the stairs and Elvis doesn’t get the opportunity to chew any shoes – it all goes away when I take it off. No ‘I’ll do it later’, no ‘I’ll just put this here and finish that over there’; all jobs and tasks are done when I see them. See a sock on the stair, pick it up. Put mugs straight into the dishwasher instead of in the sink. Clear up the evidence of our late-night sugar binge before we go to bed and not the following morning (this helps with the mess but also prevents Penny from wailing that she wants chocolate with breakfast). When you do the jobs and chores as and when they need to be done, things get done more efficiently. Now I just need to implement my own advice for myself.
Don’t sit down.
The kids are in bed, dinner has been served, work is complete, pyjamas are on, and you sit down on the sofa ‘just’ for five minutes before you tackle the mess of the day. Two hours later, you’re still sitting there and the inevitability of waking up to a messy house in the morning is becoming increasingly likely. The only way to combat this is to resist sitting down until everything that you want and need finishing is done. If there’s a load of washing that needs putting in, go. Bins that need emptying, do it. Dishes in the sink, wash them. If you sit down, the only reason you’ll peel yourself up again is to either make a drink, grab snacks or to go to bed.
Music – you gotta dance while you clean.
It sounds so obvious, but listening to music while you blitz around the house makes the whole experience far more enjoyable. When everyone asked me what I did on Mother’s Day, I replied with a big cheesy grin on my face, ‘cleaned’. And that is exactly what I did, but I did it with *my* music blaring in the background (it was Mother’s Day, so for once, neither the kids or Boy Dom were allowed their choices). It was fun; I sang, danced and jumped around and almost forgot I was cleaning. This is also the moment when I realised that my 30s are here, and they’re happening. No, I don’t want to go clubbing on a Saturday night, thanks, but how about having a dance-off in the kitchen while I hoover Rice Krispies from the floor?
Put Your Phone Away.
You know how I mentioned that Boy Dom tidies faster than me? That probably has a lot to do with the fact that he scarcely picks up his phone. At times I wonder if he’s even human. He’s not interested in Instagram, Twitter, or Facebook, he rarely texts, and he’s not in the least bit distracted by the ‘breaking news’ alerts that he receives (unlike me who finds herself down a rabbit hole of news that I’m not even interested in). He just gets on with the job in hand while I scroll, pick something up, scroll, reply to a message, put that something away, scroll some more…you get the gist. My biggest distraction and cause of procrastination is my phone. So, to make sure my messy house is messy no more, I put my phone away, along with all of its distractions, and tackle it head-on. I give myself 30 minutes of phone-free time and go!
Give everything a home.
We’re busy working on this and have plans in place to build a walk in cupboard for all the toys, random pens, pencils, books, stickers and whatever else I continuously find around the house. The cupboard (I already know) will be a constant tip, but the rest of the house will (hopefully) be clear of any ‘stuff’. Once everything you own has a ‘home’ it makes a huge difference when it comes to keeping it tidy. Whether that means investing in more storage solutions or clearing out unwanted or unneeded clothing or household objects. If you don’t have space for something then how can you create that space? Give an object a home, and stop it from floating around your house like a lost nomad.
Make your bed.
There’s a video circulating of a Navy Seal Admiral who claims the way you can go about changing the world is by making your bed every morning. I’m not looking to change the world anytime soon, but I can understand the sentiment. If my bed isn’t made I lose hope of my bedroom ever being clean again; I give up on it. So, rather than putting my clothes away I’ll carelessly dump them on my bed. Instead of putting last night’s pyjamas in the washing basket, I step over and ignore them. If my bed isn’t made my bedroom already looks unkempt, so I’ll just continue to add to the mess. If my bed is made, however, my spirits are lifted, my bedroom has the appearance of being tidy (ignoring the collection of glasses half-filled with water on my bedside table and the dirty socks that lurk underneath my sheets), and so I strive to keep that up. And that can sometimes be contagious, inspiring tidiness all around the house.
Keep the visible places clear (forget about the rest).
I’ve never been one for keeping my kitchen cupboards or my wardrobe meticulously organised, but thanks to the door that hides my sins, everyone is completely unaware of what lies behind. So, if you want to give the impression that you have an uber tidy house or want to clean up quickly, concentrate on the areas that are within view – kitchen benches, dining room tables, the side of your bathroom sink. Shut the door on all other messes – out of sight, out of mind. Just be sure to keep all visitors away from the cupboards and don’t let anyone ‘grab themselves a drink’ – opening one of my bulging kitchen cupboards could end in disaster.
Happy house, happy home.
And, if all else fails and you can’t bring yourself to pick up on more piece of Lego or to clear away one more plate, relax in the knowledge that you have a happy, and very lived-in home.