The Messy Person’s Guide to a Tidy House: Part 3

As you battle the rising levels of mess in your house, you may, at some point – given a small miracle and some unexpected childminding – be able to give your house a good tidy-up. The Full Monty so to speak. A top-to-bottom vacuum, mop ALL the floors (and not just the bit where the puddle of disgusting was) and in a moment of sheer bravado, scrub the bathroom with industrial strength bleach. It’s the blue moon of domestic duties and over the course of about 8 years, you can expect maybe 3 of these (this number reduces proportionately the more children you have and the bigger the house).

The feeling you have when you know that every room in the house is tidy and clean can drive normally loving nurturing mothers to change the locks and turn off their phones so they can enjoy this exciting event – a quiet, empty, and tidy house – for as long as they possibly can.

But still – something is not right. Looking around you only see clean surfaces. Table tops. Floors. Benches. There is not an unfolded item of clothing anywhere. You are content in the knowledge that every book in every bookcase is neatly in its place. The beds are made. There are no mouldy towels on the bathroom floor. The sink is sparkling and the dishwasher is humming away quietly.

And then it wafts over you. A smell. Not an overwhelming smell like a dead rat or an incontinent dog but a low-lying understated odor that is infused into every corner of  the house. It is Eau de Family Beast. In the general chaos of day to day life it is so subtle that you don’t notice it. It blends into all the other smells – cooking, children, dirty washing and pets. But now that it’s isolated, it is quite distinct. Not especially unpleasant but somehow personal; not necessarily something you’d want to share with everyone.  Throwing open the windows, you hunt around for scented candles,  spray deodorant, a bottle of fish sauce. Something… anything.

The Messy Person’s Tidy-Smelling House – Cheat Sheet:

1) Essential Oils:

There are some scents that scream CLEAN! in the same way a damp bathroom just doesn’t. Lemon, Tea Tree, Lilac, Eucalyptus and Lavender. Mandarin even.

You will need:
1 bottle of your ‘signature’ scent as an essential oil
1 spray bottle with spray option (it’s worth investing in a good quality one so you can get a very fine spray)
1 soft cloth or rag
1 oil burner with tea light candles

There are three ways to use scent to make your house smell clean (and by weird subconscious association, appear tidy as well).

a) Use your oil burner. Place it in the largest room to get the best effect. You can also have a second one near the entrance of your house. Remember to add a drop or two of the oil at least twice a day.

b) Keep a spray bottle with a mixture of water and several drops of essential oil handy. Spritz a room anytime to give that fresh, just cleaned feeling. Different oils have different strengths so experiment – eucalyptus and tea tree can be very overwhelming if too strong – although if you have a house full of head-colds, this can be an advantage!

c) The ultimate cheat technique – the door bell rings, and you hear your mother-in-law outside – quickly grab a soft cloth, spray with your handy spray bottle and quickly wipe any available surface on the way to the front door, the door frame and the door. Hide the bottle and cloth behind the door and open the door with a big smile!

2: Fresh Flowers
A bunch of fresh scented flowers such as jonquils, daffodils or lilacs can infuse a room with fresh cleanliness faster than you can say “room deodorizer” and has the added benefit of drawing the eye away from the mess and to their vibrant beauty! Apply frequently.

3: Spice is Nice
Mulled Wine. Yes, you read that correctly. We cannot recommend this highly enough. It is best in winter but there is no reason not to use it year round.

You will need:
1 bottle of red whine wine
Juniper Berries
Cinnamon Sticks (about 2 per bottle)

Pop everything into a pot and place on the stove on the lowest setting possible. Leave to simmer. Your entire house will smell like heaven all day. Once the children are in bed and asleep, drink whatever is left over.

So even if you’ve just waved off 12 unwashed 9yr old boys and the house smells like a pirate ship that hit the rocks in a storm, by applying these tips, your house will appear clean and tidy!

The Messy Person’s Guide to a Tidy House: Part 1
The Messy Person’s Guide to a Tidy House: Part 2


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