Monday, September 1, 2014

How to Fake an Always Clean House

We’ve all been there (well not me, but the rest of you)… dinner guests arrive at 6pm, so we spend the morning frantically shoving toys, books, and shoes in closets, stacking the magazines neatly, clearing off the dining room table (which usually serves as more of a work space), and finally, we vacuum 2 minutes before our guests arrive and sit the kids on the couch so they don’t get footprints in your fluffy, freshly vacuum-streaked carpet.

I’m here to tell you, there’s a better way! A far more convincing way! Let me share with you a few things you can do to convince everyone in your life that your house is always in a state of perfection!

The first step is the easiest one and requires no exertion on your part. Find a casual way to bring up in conversation that your house is “so messy” [by ridiculous standards]. Say something like, “I haven’t mopped the kitchen since Thursday! And I ran out of Windex last weekend so the water spots on my bathroom mirror are driving me nuts.” Mopping floors and cleaning glass are those detailed cleaning items that only the most anal retentive people do regularly – and that is exactly the type of person you want to come off as.

This next step is an easy one to overlook, but it is possibly the most important! Don’t ever, EVER, let a picture of your messy house show up on social media. I don’t care how adorable your kid is being in the foreground. It’s! So your baby boy is taking his first steps? Well you’d better gather those used, rolled up diapers from the floor and put those toys away, before you make a video of Junior walking for your family and friends on Facebook, or you can kiss your “always clean” reputation good-bye!

But seriously... Invest in some decorative storage ottomans. They make extra seating, and can hold a lot of junk out of sight. I have a chic padded storage bench in my son’s room at the foot of his bed where we stow his bigger toys out of sight. In our living room, we have a small ottoman that holds all of our movies and board games. We keep all of our DVDs in a binder (throw away the cases, they take up way too much space and you don’t need them). There’s no way to make a big book shelf with a library of DVDs pleasing to the eye. It looks too busy and cluttered, and when you have 200 DVDs on display, it makes it look like you do way too much sitting on your butt and watching movies. Someone who polishes their bathroom fixtures daily doesn’t have time for such pleasantries!

A true clean freak has sparkling floors, mirrors, and bathroom hardware. So if you really want to commit to appearing clean all the time, make sure those details are attended to before you welcome guests into your home.

Are there magazines in your bathroom? An amateur will stack them neatly before their guests arrive. But that will raise a major red flag and reveal just how non meticulous you are. Instead, throw away the magazines. They are gross, just sitting there warping from the moisture in your bathroom. And it creates a visual you don’t want your guests to have of you. (Truly classy people don’t poop.) Ask yourself “what would Martha’s bathroom look like?” – surely it does not have a stack of magazines in it, and yours shouldn’t either if you want to be a convincing clean freak. As far as the rest of the house goes, a magazine here or there is ok. But keeping old issues makes it look like you are a packrat who doesn’t know how to throw stuff away. This goes for old mail piles too.

Speaking of clutter – how does your refrigerator door look? For every one square inch of actual fridge door you can see, you get a point. Your goal is 1700 points. Meticulous people have maybe a calendar on their fridge and a magnet business card for the fridge repair guy.

Vacuum the floors very thoroughly the day BEFORE your guests arrive. If there are fresh “zen garden” vacuum streaks in your carpet when they walk through the door, it will be totally obvious you vacuumed just for them. By vacuuming the day before, it will look your house is just naturally clean because you keep it that way all the time!

Lastly, right before your guests arrive, leave one or two children’s books in the middle of the living room floor. As you greet your visitors, apologize for the “mess” and put them away. This small but important step should really drive the point home. This is a trick you can throw into social media as well. Take a picture of your darling child with the caption “Sorry about the messy house, but isn’t he cute?” People will see two books lying on your sparkling wood floor and instantly feel worse about themselves and the messy state of their abode. Your work here is done!

I leave you with this quick list of things that are dead giveaways of a rarely clean house!

Things hanging on the walls via tacks
Pictures of cats
Oak-framed paintings of floral arrangements
Animal hair
Ambiguous hairs on bathroom floor/sink
Carpet rug touching or near the toilet
Food or animal odors
An excess of figurines or knick knacks

Sheets as curtains

Any other tips for keeping up the pretense that your house is always in an immaculate condition? Sound off below!