Sunday, September 26, 2010

Neat vs. clean

Every few weeks, my husband and I give our condo a deep clean. While this certainly involves picking things up and putting them in their proper place, it primarily comprises scrubbing, dusting, vaccuuming, and laundering. In between these cleanings, we try to keep the house neat by putting things away where they belong, staying on top of dishes, and taking out the trash.

A wise friend once told me something very simple but poignant about keeping house: There is a big difference between neat and clean. For the most part, Simplified by Sarah focuses on the "neat," or how we can keep things organized and efficient.

However, I would argue that "neat" facilitates "clean." If you have a well-organized and clutter-free home, then it will be much easier to scrub, vaccuum and clean when needed. Simply, you'll have fewer objects in the way to contend with!

Consider both "neat" and "clean" as you continue on your organizing journey. Are you excellent at scrubbing but bad at sorting? Do you hate dusting but enjoy decluttering?  When you clean, try to figure out if there's anything in your way that you can quickly sort through or get rid of. When you tidy, think about what could use a good cleaning.

For example, today I consulted my husband about the big, decorative floor vases we have on either side of the TV stand. I like them just fine, but whenever we vaccuum we have to slide them out of the way--and the vases always need a good dusting. We decided to keep them where they are but it was great to take a minute and ponder whether they were still worth the real estate they take up in the living room.

Likewise, as I cleaned the bathroom today, I decided to go through a basket that we keep in there, which holds a few toiletries and hair brushes. I discovered really old cologne and hair spray, and tossed them. Sweet!

Would you categorize yourself as more "neat," more "clean," or a good combo of the two?

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