How NOT to clean your house

If you try your hand as a stay-at-home-parent, you may expect to become a domestic god(ess) overnight. Prepare for disappointment.

Obviously I’m a total pro now though…hmm, well anyway…in a bid to persuade myself I have actually learnt a thing or two – and maybe to save others from the savage snares and perilous pitfalls of domesticity, I’ve compiled this helpful list of things to avoid doing when cleaning.

Ten things NOT to do when cleaning your house:

All the gear, no idea? Read on...

All the gear, no idea? Read on…

1. Start at the bottom of the room/house/bookshelf. Sound obvious? Thanks for telling me. Oh hello dust on the surfaces I wiped ten minutes ago.

2. Take a congratulatory tea break after the first 10 minutes. You are guaranteed to find yourself chain-eating chocolate biscuits at your laptop two hours later…house un-cleaned.

Premature, self-congratulatory tea breaks = fail

Premature, self-congratulatory tea breaks = fail

3. Avoid your least favourite jobs. I know – this sounds totally preachy, but the gross bits will only get grosser. FACT.

4. Allow other people to be in the house. Watching the place get mucked up before you’ve even finished is a particularly soul-destroying form of torture. You might as well hang a chocolate bar just out of reach off the end of a treadmill and start running. And if the other person or people aren’t helping, you will want to beat them to death with a broom.

5. Ever think about what dust actually IS…This one is important. Similarly disastrous is the old ‘Huh? That’s not MY hair’ moment – particularly in shared/newly-rented homes

Trust me, it's better not to know...

Trust me, it’s better not to know…

6. Wash floors without a preliminary sweep. You think dust is disgusting? TRY WET DUST.

7. Expect to maintain dry socks. There’s just something about a freshly-washed floor that calls you to fetch something from the other side of the room.

8. Procrastinate. But reorganising the DVD collection thematically is waaay urgent! No it isn’t. Excavating the bedroom floor and cleaning the loo – that’s urgent.

9. Develop OCD. I know, I chortled too, at the sheer improbability of such a break from my natural tendencies. Yet once or twice the cleanliness of a post-blitz room has made me come over weirdly Kim and Aggie, hunting down minute crumbs of dirt in obscure places. If you catch yourself scrubbing door hinges with a nail brush, it’s gone too far. That’s all I’m saying.

Polishing your paperclips? Time to step back.

Polishing your paperclips? Time to take a step back.

10. Dwell on the fact you’ll be doing it all again soon. This path leads to that ugly place: never cleaning, ever. Give it ten years and you’ll be living in an intricate labyrinthine dwelling consisting of pizza boxes, cobwebs and carrier bags, afraid to venture away from your armchair in case it all collapses on top of you. Better just to crack on – and once you’re done, get out of the house to celebrate. Better than sitting around watching the dust re-settle.

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