This weekend finds Mr. S and I visiting my parents since Thanksgiving will be spent with other relatives. My parents' house is huge compared to our apartment, but it's also wonderfully warm and clean. And it always smells amazing (with the exception of the cat, sometimes). I don't have my camera here with me to take pictures, but have some ideas for my own home.
Breaking the cleaning into smaller chunks so it happens continuously over the course of the week. My mother has the system down pat. It helps that her job, for years, was raising my sister and myself, but today she's just as busy with other things and still manages to find time to get things done. So, I'm determined to try this myself and see how it works.
Less is best.
My parents' house is beautifully furnished and comfortable without feeling overdone. Nothing is overcrowded. This simplifies cleaning - less furniture to move while vacuuming or sweeping, less things to clutter space, less to find storage space for. Note taken.
A clean kitchen makes a place feel cleaner than it might actually be.
My mother would be the first to tell you she's not the tidiest person in the world, but there is one thing that is guaranteed to drive her bonkers: a dirty or messy kitchen. You can just see her start to itch all over when she enters my sister's abode (my sister is notorious for letting dishes pile up), and mine prior to marrying Mr. S. Anyway, a few weeks ago, Mom informed me that she had 'deep cleaned the kitchen.' She took everything out of the cabinets, getting rid of rarely-used or never-used items, and purged the counters of unnecessary nick-knacks (of which there were many). I didn't realize just how big a difference that would make until coming home and finding a beautiful kitchen with even more counter space than I remembered. (I haven't seriously checked out the cabinets yet, but will before I leave.) While this tip may not be most useful to me right at this moment, I can definitely see how a clean kitchen (which is where Mr. S and I, and our families, spend most of our time together) can do a lot to give off vibes of a clean home.
When a home smells good, it inspires cleaning.
I am not particularly fond of the smell of cleaning chemicals. Therefore, I do my best to avoid products that smell at all chemically. My dad - who is obsessed with vacuuming and vacuum cleaners - uses lovely scented powders on the carpets when he vacuums every Saturday. It sure makes the house smell amazingly clean. And my mother is a fabulous cook and baker. At the moment there's a pot roast that's nearly ready to be eaten and it smells wonderfully scrumptious! Their house always smells clean and delicious. Mr. S and I don't have any carpeted surfaces, but seasonally appropriate scented candles take the place of Dad's vacuuming powders; and Husband and I both enjoy *cooking and baking, which permeates our apartment in lovely ways.
*However, I would recommend not over-using garlic in an apartment, as Mr. S's recent garlic humus is potent enough to kill any living thing that crosses its path.