Like many things in life, I learned how to keep a clean home from Mr. Rogers. We take off our shoes, wash our hands, and change out of our street clothes right away, hanging coats and keys in the closet. I make the bed when we get up, and wipe the bathroom after a shower. If there's one thing I learned from Iron Chef, it's clean as you go- keeping up with chores prevents messes from getting out of control.
Our basic system for managing clutter is this:
- Learn not to purchase or keep useless things.
- Create a place for everything.
- Don't use organizing equipment.
For storage, we make do with things we already have. A few built-in cabinets and closets, shoeboxes, and old gift boxes store what can't be folded or stacked. Owning less means our home stays neat without fuss- items can fall out of place without making the home feel like a disaster zone. We don't have kids, but my stepfather's house and yard are flawlessly tidy, and he and my mom have six kids, four cats, and full-time jobs (their home is four times the size of ours). La Reine de l'Iode is a great example of busy parents with a neat apartment, and they have more stuff than us. Cleaning, like regular exercise, is one of those things people feel they should do more of but never have time for. If these families can do it, so can single, educated 30-somethings who somehow found time to read the Divergent trilogy.
Daily Dust furniture, books, and speaker with a lint-free flour sack towel. Brush fur off the couch.
Weekly Vacuum; wipe surfaces with water and vinegar.
Monthly Sprinkle baking soda on couch; vacuum after thirty minutes.
Daily Make the bed. Our bedding is simple: mattress pad, fitted sheet, duvet, pillows.
Weekly Vacuum, wash sheets, air out mattress and bedding, wipe TV, phone, cable box.
Monthly Wash mattress pad. Twice a year, I wash the comforter. Four times a year, I wash the pillows.
Bathroom Spray vinegar on sink, shower, tub, and toilet and wipe away- it takes minutes. Vacuum and scrub floors weekly. Since we're renting, we added stainless steel adhesive hooks by the shower. They hold the weight of wet towels, but unstick and re-stick easily.
Kitchen Do the dishes, dry the sink, and wipe range daily. Scrub the sink, vacuum, wash floor and wipe counters, table, and chairs weekly. Clean oven with baking soda and laundry machine with vinegar monthly. Click here for my kitchen inventory.
General Scoop litter box twice a day or more; scrub with baking soda and vinegar weekly. Sanitize computers, phones, and iPad weekly. Mop floors and wash windows and door handles with water and vinegar monthly. Clean cabinets, closets, and under appliances bimonthly. Wash ironing board cover and clean iron in a vinegar bath bimonthly.
Coat closet Umbrellas, hats, gloves, scarves, keys, and my purse go here. We keep shoes in their original boxes or an old wine glass box.
Linen closet Towels, cloth napkins, and cleaning cloths here. The top shelf is our makeshift liquor cabinet.
Office closet Small but important collection of books and necessary files, passports, etc. Old shoe boxes hold, from top: 1) vacuum cleaner bags, pens, paper tape, Polaroids 2) my husband's air ticket stubs and business cards in an old Ferrero Rocher case 3) Headphones, chargers, and adapters (rechargeable batteries stay in their items). Alaia boxes make the best storage because they're beautiful and buckle shut.
Entry closet Reusable bags go inside the shopping cart, and the ironing board in the recess next to it. Our cat carrier holds their passports and brush. There are extra wine glasses on the top shelf with a tool set underneath. Cat food, reusable bamboo utensils in a Pierre Herme box, and steamer/iron on bottom shelf.
Pantry Wine glasses, tea cups and saucers, and drinking glasses. I keep a limited selection of bulk ingredients in jars or repurposed whiskey bottles. Salts and spices I use often go in wire shelves above the sink.
Cabinet Cutting board, one of two small appliances, baking soda, extra jars, and swing-top bulk wine bottles. You can't see it very well, but repurposed amber glass bottles of vinegar and homemade laundry detergent are in there.
Kitchen Two pots, one pan, one baking tray, and two glass baking dishes go in the oven. With this minimal equipment, we've cooked for 25 or more (all plates, bowls, and jars are oven-safe). To save drawer space, we hang utensils using the same stainless steel hooks as the bathroom.
Bathroom Laundry goes on a shelf in the built-in hot water heater closet. My stuff is in a Ferrero Rocher box. The Dopp kit holds an electric razor and pharmacy items.
Our closet is impossible to photograph (there's a cat under the sweatshirt in these photos). We hang shirts, suits, dresses, my jeans and skirt on wooden hangers and fold everything else. I use this method for folding socks and this for underwear, lingerie, and t-shirts. Seasonal gear (swimsuits, ski pants) goes in the silver suitcase on the bottom. I rolled my husband's ties and stuck them in the box from our drinking glasses. It goes on the top shelf of our closet, behind the helmets. I don't know how to hide our ugly cable box and modem, but I shortened the cables with toilet paper rolls.
To see more photos of the apartment, click here or visit Apartment Therapy. For a detailed rundown of cost of living and moving expenses in Paris, click here.
Kartell Componibili, vintage from LeBonCoin
Ikea sofa from LeBonCoin, similar here
Habitat Ikebana bed from LeBonCoin, similar here
Linen sheet set, secondhand
Dining table from Leboncoin, similar here
Ikea chairs, LebonCoin
Kitchenaid mixer, gifted
Thrifted flatware, Arne Jacobsen for Georg Jensen
Copper mugs, gifted
Weck jars, secondhand
Steel spoon, similar here
Steel spatula, here
Paper lanterns, LeBonCoinNkuku wire shelves