No one likes cleaning up after themselves or others. Most people when they really think about it are ambivalent about cleanliness itself, if the cost is having to clean.
Sometimes, however, cleaning is a necessity.
Maybe your mother is coming over to tell you off about your life, maybe your flat is featuring in a reality TV show that doesn’t attract its viewers by exploiting how filthy people’s homes are. You could be a contestant on a talent-based reality TV show and they could be filming the ‘behind the scenes’ or the ‘relaxing at home’ parts of the show.
You never can tell which of these two things it will be that will require you to clean up your house.
The thing is, no-one likes spending time doing things that are unpleasant and cleaning is no exception. If you have to clean your home, chances are it will be done under the duress of time. Your mother will be on her way, the police will be just outside, or the camera crew will be but five minutes up the road; there’s always going to be some time restriction and it will be a tight one.
Basically then, cleaning is always going to be a series of quick wins designed to maximise how clean your place looks with the least amount of effort and time consumed.
Here’s some tips from a seasoned professional which will help you spend less time wiping surfaces, and more time staring longingly into them wondering where it all went wrong.
The party test
To start off you need to focus on the things that are truly horrifying, disgusting or embarrassing. The best way to do this is to pretend you are stumbling hungover into the lounge after a big party. What are the first things that cause you to dry wretch? Whatever these things are, you clean up first.
Your cargo shorts (right) are a bit skew-whiff on the hanger. Annoying, untidy, but unlikely to make you be sick or cry.
However, your coffee table (pictured below) is covered with beer cans, an old ash-tray, an unused condom, some broken eggs, a book of your own tear-stained poetry, and other assorted nefarious detritus.
And you, the reader, can’t even smell the old beer, stale smoke or pitiable loneliness. You still threw up in your mouth a bit didn’t you.
Wiping thingsDust everywhere, while harmless and really not a big deal, seems to imply you are filthy. The thing is, it is easy to remove, and the removal of any dust at all markedly improves whatever was covered in dust looks like. Because you won’t have a cloth, use an old sock that you were going to throw away because it had a hole in it but never got round to. I bet you’re glad you were too lazy to put that sock in the Insinkerator
Arguably the most arduous task of all, but probably the most important. Even if you were to disinfect the whole scene, and really get rid of all the evidence, people would still judge how tidy your flat is by how many dirty dishes you have in the sink. It is political correctness gone mad, but that’s the game brother.
You’ve done the bits that are going to make people sick, horrified, or tut-tut, and now its time to guild the lily. Anything you straighten up will instantly look 43.67% tidier than if it was left un-straightened. I know, its mental. But its true. Take this assortment of old shoes to my right. Harmless despite being covered in some sort of weird powder, but a bit messy because they aren’t straightened up. The thing is, these shoes can be ship shape and Bristol fashion in under ten minutes, even if something funny or horrific is happening on Twitter.
Look (left). Amazing. Or ‘amazeballs’ as you might say in Spanish.
You’ve done the hard yards, you’ve carried the ball over the goal line and you’ve exhausted all your sports metaphors. House is tidy, and then some. Now it is time to get a bit strategic on it.
You want your cleanliness to look effortless; like this weird palace of pristine opulence is where you live twenty-four seven, three sixty-five. Maybe then, you throw a few things about that make it look like you’ve operated your life in it.
But you have created a fantasy with all the cleaning up of beer-cans and mopping up of dried sick, why not add to this fantasy. Dangle the baubles of the life you want people to believe you live around your newly cleaned home.
On the right is the same coffee table that minutes ago was covered in crap. It’s been tidied and the ash has been blown on the floor. Now you casually throw a neck-tie on to it so it looks like you’ve removed it after a hard day wearing a neck-tie. Add some paper-work you were too busy to complete in the office and two coffee cups. Yes, you aren’t a man who drank espresso alone this morning. If you have some lip-stick, smear some around the lip of one of the cups. If you get my drift.
If you don’t: the reason you are doing it is so it looks like someone who wears lip-stick drank from one of the cups, as often lip-stick will come off lips and get onto cups.