How much does mess bother you? It's a question worth asking, because there are so many pages of magazines and hours of TV shows dedicated to having a pristine home. No one really enjoys the process of getting it that way. Well, unless you're one of those people whose home is always sparkling and who loves the smell of bleach. But then, you don't need anyone's help.
Keeping your home looking fabulous is never easy. It's all the more difficult when you have kids. If there is only one of you and two or three of them, they can create mess faster than you can clean it.
An increasing number of people are coming round to the idea that a little mess is okay. They may have a point - but there's a difference between a little mess and a filthy home. So what are the acceptable boundaries of living in a non-pristine home?
Fine: Not Making The Bed Every Day
Some domestic goddesses and gods could lead you through their house showing you a total absence of mess and clutter. You'd be forgiven for thinking that no-one lives there. A detective could look at the beds and conclude they haven't been slept in. But at the end of the day, what happens with those beds?
Exhausted people slide into them and fall asleep right away. They don't need to be like a show home. Change the bedding every couple of days, fine. But don't stress over keeping them too neat.
Not Fine: Disposing Of Anything Just Wherever
There is a difference between tidiness and hygiene, and it's an important one. A few books or pens lying around won't hurt anyone (as long as they aren't on the floor), but letting waste accumulate cannot be allowed. Also, there are places to dispose of things. Gravy and sauces don't go down the sink, for example.
Your kids need to know that not just anything can be flushed, too. Wet wipes go in the garbage, not the toilet. But in case something like that happens anyway, one of these toilet plungers is a wise investment.
Fine: If It's Yellow, Let It Mellow
Okay, there is no escaping that this icks some people out, but stay with it, science is onside here. The more you flush the toilet, the more water you use and the worse it is for the environment. It's widely accepted that, as long as it's the correct number, you don't need to flush with every use. At the same time, if it's brown, flush it down.
Not Fine: Letting Spills Soak In
It's no big deal if you leave a coffee pot on the counter, or a cereal box on the kitchen table for a little while. But this principle can't be extended to spills. Time is of the essence with liquids and sitting dirt. If they are left, they become home to bacteria and other nasties. So if there is a spill, get it right away. This is, again, the difference between tidiness and hygiene.
An acceptable level of mess is no big deal in a family home. If you're having visitors who may not share those principles, then you'll need to devote some time to cleaning and tidying. Other than that, as long as you don't take it too far, don't sweat the small stuff.