If ‘domestic god-ism’ can be learnt, then the advice in this post might give us all hope yet!
Despite having a few special friends in my life who actively relax by cleaning and organising – I feel sure everyone else is like me, hanging on for dear life and hoping my home will get through another week with minimal attention.
A few things have happened of late that have greatly improved my chances of not flying off the hook when I know my mother or in-laws are dropping by in an hour. In particular, the advice I have received for this piece AND the addition of a new family member thanks to the partners of this post; iRobot.
Thats right folks, for the last month I have been putting a robot vacuum cleaner through its paces, and like you, secretly wanted it to be shit.
Sorry. It’s not.
“Wobbie the wobot” (Ech! I had to go there because there is something quite cute and earnest about the little ‘sucker’!) sits quietly plugged into his station, out of the way for most of the week. But come Thursday, the day I have booked him in to clean via his phone app, I hear a little trill and his engines fire up. At this I usually leap off my chair and run around the house, picking up floor debris (like lazily discarded clothing, shoes and coffee mugs) and shutting doors to funnel him into the areas I want done. Then I settle back at my desk, door shut and listen to someone else clean my house for an hour or so.
I’ve been asked (by haters) a few times if he is “really noisey”, followed by a narrowing of their eyes…
My response is always this – “the sound of my house being vacuumed WELL by someone that isn’t me is bloody music to my ears!”
“But does it actually do a good job?”
Yes guys. He actually really does. He’s slower than if you or I were doing it but he goes RIGHT under the sofa/chairs/beds/bath tub and occasionally I spot him zipping back down the hall to clean an area his GPS has worked out that he’s missed. If only vacuuming once a week (I have no pets or kids) I’ll need to empty him out once to twice during his session. If I am out while he’s cleaning, I’ll come home to find that he has returned to his station to charge and to wait for me to empty him before resuming his job. He changes pace (and suck) automatically between the hard and carpeted surfaces and I have just one particularly tufty, handwoven rug which I keep him off and shake out myself.
The honest truth is, the wooden floors are gleaming after his weekly marathon and there are no longer spiders webs and lost crumbs under the sofa. He is entirely employable as a cleaner!
(Apologies on the “he’s”….yes I have humanised this inanimate object because he’s like a diligent cleaning apprentice).
Its so damn crazy and futuristic sometimes I find myself standing in a door way, watching him blindly weave around a room, before blinking and realising I’m not needed AT ALL in this cleaning fiesta!
And that leads me to the next juicy part of this post.
What to do with that extra cleaning time up your sleeve and (regardless of robots) how to continue to be savvy with household jobs and organisation?
I reached out to some wise minds (that you might well recognise) and asked if they had any tips, tricks, inherited knowledge or left field ideas they would be happy to share with us. Turns out there’s a bit of everything!!!
Read on below !
Renee Boyd is one of my favourite NZ ceramic makers. She lives west of Auckland in the forest and sure knows a thing or two about MESS! She shares her way of creating calm amid the clay storm.
“In my home studio I have a dedicated area where I make all the mess and there is clay and buckets and tools everywhere on shelves under tables…. everywhere you look is a working mess!
BUT just along from that area I have set up my light filled clean area where I display my work and try and have no clutter. When I’m feeling stressed from the workshop/making part of my process, I love to look over to what I call my ‘serene area’ and that instantly calms me. It’s so pleasing to look at with its muted colours against the light flooded white walls.
With this in mind, I would always suggest having a space which you keep minimal with just a few pieces in YOUR colours that you find restful. For instance I can’t stand the colour red even the bright red fragile tape I use on my boxes has to be put away out of sight as it just detracts everything around it!
Whatever makes you feel calm put it in your clutter free space. Its always nice to move things around and take away and bring in new pieces to keep it fresh and you motivated. You can’t go wrong with a table with just one or two things in lovely light. Even if you have no time to clean just keep on top of that one area and it works a treat.
I prefer to live with muted colours against white mixed with black amongst lots of plants. I also hang dried flowers around the studio as they last for a long time and even in their decayed state they still have amazing texture and colour.”
**Photo by Rachel Shields
Jax Hamilton knows a thing or two about time saving strategies in the home. Her newly launched online series; “Jax Food Hax” is solely dedicated to cutting down kitchen time, making your money go further and getting down right creative with food.
Obviously I assumed her tricks didn’t stop at the sink…and boy was I right!
Things would get very, very messy!
** Photography by Daniela Aebli
Ali McIntosh is the talented curator behind beautiful Auckland store; Tessuti. I have received some terrific cooking advice from her over the years and had no doubt she had some home shortcuts to match.
The first one…..would work for me!
“Always do last things first!
For example – put fresh flowers into a vase. This has the effect of:
A. making the house instantly welcoming should guests unexpectedly arrive
“I use museum wax (or Quake Hold) from Te Papa to hold down all my vases, lamps and to keep my pictures straight on the wall. It does mean I never dust UNDER them but everything is always in it’s place and you can give a really good dust without knocking stuff off!
I’m all about the speed clean, and I detest cleaning and tidying but love to have a tidy home. My only real technique is shoving things in cupboards, if you’re suddenly sprung with a last minute guest – the dishwasher and oven make fine storage for dirty dishes etc – bet Martha Stewart wouldn’t share that one!
One of the benefits of being a maximalist is that there’s a lot to look at to detract from a bit of mess, but it’s also important to keep certain areas tidy to prove you’re not just a hoarder – so for that reason I always like my kitchen bench to be empty when guests come round! I believe a lot in first impressions so the hallway is always kept pretty tidy no matter what the state of the rest of the house.”
Emma Rutherford is the woman behind one of my favourite bedding brands; Fictional Objects. Her sheets have graced my washing line for years, which is why she was a go-to for uncovering a little bed linen related advice. Hey we all have it….
One shelf for kids sizes, one shelf for grown ups, a shelf for all the spare, collected and beloved pieces of fabric. We have size labels inside all our covers & sheets too, to help with this organisational aspect.
A quick win for a cleanish floor!
Also, those squirt mops. The ones that squirt cleaning liquid as you mop are brilliant for after meal goops.
My name is Gemma Patford and these are my stories.”
*Photo by Lillie Thompson
Isabella Pachter of Hydrangea Ranger is well known for her nostalgic, romantic art and precious decorative pieces to make any space appeal to the senses. I was interested to know the little things she did to balance out her home vs studio life.
And last but certainly not least we have some advice passed on to me from my Mum. I couldn’t really claim credit so I have popped her in here as the source (totally without her knowledge of course….)
“Mum passed on two things in particular that I have used my entire, independent living life.
1. A sure fire way to make your bathroom look REALLY clean is by polishing the taps.
2. Cut flowers on the kitchen table or bedside for visitors has the freshest, nicest, inviting effect. ”
Thats all folks BUT I would really love to invite you to leave your own advice in the comments below. Maybe we’ll need to do a volume 2 of this post using YOUR ideas!
and to support me in the effort I put into the content and stories I share with you.
It goes without saying, but all thoughts are totally my own.
partnerships I choose for Studio Home.