Hacks To Make Your Messy Home Look Neater Than It Really Is

June 14, 2018  |  
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I’ll admit it: I’m a messy person. My boyfriend affectionately describes me as someone who lives “enthusiastically.” That’s his way of saying that I can’t seem to do one thing without spreading ten items around our apartment. He’s right—I look around after simply getting dressed and my, um, enthusiasm has managed to touch every corner of our apartment. I’ve always been that way. I’ve worked on it a lot, though, for my partner’s sanity and for the health of our relationship. I’ve accepted that I’ll never be one of those people whose homes is so clean that it’s always ready for a photo shoot but, I have picked up some tricks that at least keep my home ready for last-minute guests (and the critical eye of my mother). Here are hacks messy people can use to appear tidy.

Gettyimages.com/Close-up of the top of a blue colored recycling bin with text reading Recycling and a hole into which users can insert cans and bottles, November 3, 2017.

Be cutthroat about recycling

Unless it is truly a personal piece of mail (birthday card, thank you card), something from the government or local officials, or a bill that you can only receive in paper, recycle. Recycle that credit card offer, that coupon, that delivery menu, and that event flyer. Get your mail, and walk immediately to the recycling bin, only plucking out actually essential mail.

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Make accessories decorative

I used to have scarves, headbands, hats, sunglasses beaded clutches, and jewelry sprawled out over every surface in my home. So I bought a tall rack with tons of shelves and wires, put it in a corner, and draped all those accessories over it. It keeps them in one place, and they actually look decorative now. It’s like my tower of jewels and silks.

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Have a cubby by the front door

My boyfriend and I bought a large, mahogany set of cubbies that we keep by the front door. It looks like a sophisticated piece of furniture, but the bottom row is just filled with the things we used to pile around the front door like shoes, our dog’s leashes, dog toys, umbrellas, and sunscreen. Nobody notices that, though, because we put nice photos and paintings in the higher-up cubbies.

GEttyimages.com/Portrait of a young woman getting dressed at home in her closet

Get a rolling rack

Like the ones the wardrobe person pushes around the set of a photo shoot. If you struggle to just put your clothes inside your closet, then bring a piece of the closet outside the closet. It’s easier to put those last few dresses and coats on one of these exposed rolling racks. Plus, it showcases some of your clothes.

Gettyimages.com/A young African-American woman in her 20s standing at the kitchen sink helping her mother wash the dishes.

Keep wipes near sinks

Keep a canister of cleaning wipes by your kitchen sink, bathroom sinks, and stove. These make it easy to rapidly clean off these areas after you brush your teeth, clean dishes, use powdered makeup etc.

Gettyimages.com/woman in a nice bathroom getting in the shower in a robe

Get a cute shower curtain and close it

Your shower might be a disaster. I get it. You use your conditioner, shampoo, soap, razors, face wash, foot scrub, and other items every day. So lugging them in and out of the shower every day is a hassle—best to just leave them in there. That’s okay. Get a fabulously adorable shower curtain that is not see-through and just keep it closed. Your bathroom will look guest-ready.

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Maintain the front rooms; hide the back ones

Hey, you are not obligated to let guests into your bedrooms or more private bathroom. If you’re really pressed for time, just keep the front room—the one you see first when you enter your home—clean.

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Know where you procrastinate

Take a hard look at your problem areas—the things that always seem to pile up on furniture, the floor, and countertops. Those are your procrastination areas. If your area is, for example, leaving dishes for days. Make a rule for yourself that you need to clean every dish immediately after using it. This one simple rule can make a world of a difference.

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Storage, storage, storage

A big problem for me was simply a lack of storage. I hadn’t discovered the glorious world of shoe racks, stackable bins, and under the bed containers. The second you take a pile of things and put it in a drawer, it’s no longer a mess.

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Do not keep a chair by your closet

If you keep a chair by your closet you will just wind up throwing all of your clothes on that chair. So avoid temptation; keep nothing by the closet. Give yourself no choice but to put something in the closet.

Gettyimages.com/bras and underwear hanging over a door

Over-the-door hanging rods

Buy a few over-the-door rods with hooks. These are great for tossing robes, towels, handbags, hats, scarves, and just about anything else that can go on a hook. Put them on the inside of doors, so your hallways still look tidy.

Gettyimages.com/A beautiful young woman carrying a box in the hallway to storage, walking and smiling at the camera.

Never walk outside empty handed

Every time you leave your home, look around and see if there is trash or recycling that can go outside with you. You could even be more diligent and see if there is something you want to donate each time you leave.

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Never leave a room without looking back

Don’t even leave a room without looking back, and seeing if you left a trail. Sometimes we don’t pick up our messes simply because we don’t realize we made them.

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Assign a destination for items

Sometimes, things just wind up on the floor because you couldn’t think of a better place for them. So take a few minutes to assign each thing its place. When it’s time to put it away, you no longer have to waste time deciding where it should go.

Gettyimages.com/Shot of a young woman using a laptop while relaxing at home

Go electronic

Go electronic on absolutely every possible bill, statement, newsletter—you name it. If you can do it online rather than receive in in paper form, go electronic.

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