February 24, 2016
How to Decorate So Cleaning Is Easy
If you have been cleaning your home for any length of time, you know that it’s much easier to clean if you aren’t cleaning around clutter. Have you heard the phrase, “cleaning for the cleaning lady”? Same principle, it’s easier to clean when you don’t have anything to clean around or move to clean. I decorate with a minimalist approach, but I love mixing in things that we love or just plain enjoy.
If you find that you are having to clean before you clean or that cleaning itself takes a ridiculous amount of time, I’d love to show you a couple decorating strategies and tips that really (really) work. When I say that it only takes about 15 minutes to dust our entire house, disbelief ensues. It really only takes me 15 minutes to dust and it’s because, a.) I hate clutter, and b.) I move fast and use the right tools. You can see my favorites here.
I have a fairly simple decorating strategy – if it’s useful (as in, we use it), and/or we love it, it stays out. Otherwise, it probably leaves the house or finds its way to a storage box in the basement. If the item is stored it’s because I know we’ll use it again or I’m saving it for some reason. For instance, when the kids were itty bitty, I put fragile items in storage. I’m starting to pull some of those items out again and if I still love it, it’s going out of the box and getting used OR it’s given away or sold.
Let’s talk about decorating for a minute, shall we? Decorating is personal. It reflects your style, your memories, your life. I’m not going to tell you what to use to decorate WITH, or what style to use, but I do have some tips to make cleaning and keeping your home clean in between cleanings easy.
HOW TO DECORATE SO CLEANING IS EASY
- KEEP SURFACES AS CLEAR AS POSSIBLE. Clear surfaces are always easier to clean than full surfaces. This is obvious, but hard to remember. Try this approach if you need a refresher course.
- DECORATE WITH WHAT YOU LOVE. If you don’t love it, don’t keep it around. If you notice something out isn’t working for you anymore or that you can’t remember why you have it out to begin with, put it away for a bit and see if you miss it.
- DECLUTTER OFTEN. I list ‘clutter’ every day on my cleaning routine, that’s because I know that if clutter isn’t dealt with daily, it becomes a problem. Get in the habit of putting things away after using them is huge.
- FEELING OVERWHELMED? Completely clear multiple surfaces in a room, clean them and let them ‘breathe’ for a bit. You might like having those surfaces less decorated moving forward. If you’re unsure of what to decorate a surface with, remove everything and add back little by little until you reach a look that you love.
- BE SMART ABOUT STORAGE. Most people and homes need some form of storage. When you buy furniture, look for pieces that serve multiple purposes. One of our coffee tables has small doors and we store games and puzzles in it. A dining room buffet can hold dishes, linens, and other dining room items.
- GET RID OF STUFF. If you are holding on to things that you no longer need, want, or love, it’s time to get rid of them. Set a goal or daily ritual of decluttering a spot, filling a bag, setting a timer for 5-10 minutes, whatever works for your situation.
Simplify your spaces so you aren’t moving items around to clean. Quickly dusting over a surface with one or two used and loved items is much easier than clearing a space, cleaning it, cleaning the items, and then returning them.
What’s your best tip for decorating to keep cleaning easy?
This post is part of a brand new series – HOME TOUR – go here to see a post about the colors in our home.
Have you seen Clean Mama Home? Wait until you see how cute cleaning can be!
Great post and loving the “Home Tour” series!!
Thank you so much for this. Now I need to get up and declutter. A lot! LOL
Thanks for the encouragement to declutter!! Love your space:) Wondering where you got the pussywillows (is that what they are?) that are on your mantle?? They’re great!
I think (if they are not real) any place like Hobby Lobby or Michael’s would have them in their floral department.
I believe that is cotton on the mantle
Becky SaysPost author
Yes,it’s cotton – I got it at Hobby Lobby 🙂
Crystal Barton Says
The series you have started is great! I am loving it. And, I agree with you Becky, putting things back after you use them is a must. And, makes cleaning up so much easier than waiting until you have a huge mess. I always love reading your posts!
Thank you for this post. I definitely need to declutter. I have lots of special little trinkets like crystals, rocks and shells that make it really difficult to dust. Any suggestions on how I might display or store them so that I can still enjoy seeing them but they aren’t in the way?? I love your minimalist approach. As you recommended I’m going to clear the surfaces, give them time to “breathe” and see if I can reduce what I put back. I noticed you have several crocks under your entry table. What do you use those for?
Becky SaysPost author
Thanks Praline – they’re just decoration 🙂
You could gather the crystals and shells all in one single glass vase or bowl. Or you could separate them seasonally and display them in a goblet or dish for a short time. For example, all the shells in a hurricane lamp for the summer. Or the crystals (depending on the color) in the autumn mixed with autumn leaves or in the spring mixed spring flowers or candles to make them sparkle.
What are the paint colors in your dining room? Also love the throw pillow “gather” on your couch. Where did that come from? TIA!
I’ve been following your instagram and Facebook posts for a while now. Finally just got on your website. I can’t wait to get more inspiration from your posts. I noticed that you have a cast stone fireplace, how do yo clean it? I thought it was pretty cool when we built our house 17 years ago, but it is so dingy on the floor in front of the fireplace. I’ve only tried water because I don’t know if any cleaners would ruin or discolor more.
Becky SaysPost author
Hi Valerie! I use castile soap, warm water, and a little baking soda if necessary 🙂
Minimalist idea is VERY KEY to make sure you can quickly dust and keep your home easy to clean. If anyone is having a problem getting started. 1 DECLUTTER, just donate, toss or store it away. Declutter every room.. Clear off surfaces and only put back one or two things.. When i started I did one floor at a time.. I decluttered every room on one floor, It took me a bout a week and about 30 garbage bags later (Trash and donated items) but the next week i went back and cleaned and OH BOY! How easy was it.. Of course I still did uncluttering and cleaning that first week but i let some things go because declutter was huge for me that first week. JUST DO IT.. Grab a garbage bag and go nuts! It changed my life! I also have a new rule in my home.. If you walk into a room you leave no trace that you were there and when we walk in our house, we put items away or they go on the floor. We never sit items on the table, counter etc.
I hate to vacuum…so to make things easier, I have purchased furniture that you can get the vacuum under and positioned furniture in the house that is spaced enough that the vacuum cleaner can get around every side. This makes the job much faster and prevents moving furniture when vacuuming or moping floors.
Could you share where you got your fireplace screen from? I have been looking for one that is compact and the one you have posted looks like it would be the time that would suit our decorating needs!
b r SaysPost author
It was from Pottery Barn years ago.
I only allow myself “clutter” in my bookcases. Bookcases are hard to clean anyway, so clutter doesn’t pose that much more of a problem there. I only allow myself a VERY minimal number of items (1 to 3) on all other flat surfaces, which makes them really easy to clean.