London Art de Vivre: modern Living room by Sophie Nguyen Architects Ltd

​12 bad habits making your house look dirty and messy

Johannes van Graan Johannes van Graan
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We all have those little not-so-great habits that we're trying to get rid of. But sometimes those nasty customs can affect not only our health and lifestyle, but also our homes! Now that would probably be okay if a clean and tidy house wasn’t the norm and we weren’t inviting friends over on a regular basis, but it is – and we do. 

Whether it’s you not caring about weeds overtaking your garden or simply “forgetting” (yet again) to do the dishes, bad habits can result in our homes flaunting a bad look, which sends a bad sign to anyone and everyone entering your house (do you see how the little things can snowball?).

So, before things get any worse and you become a social pariah, let’s take a look at the 12 worst habits that contribute to a messy house, and what you can do to stop them.

1. A cluttered kitchen

Of course a kitchen with lots of accessories, utensils and appliances will be so much more user-friendly and functional than an empty one, but there’s a trick to storing a myriad of elements: out of sight!

Opt for cabinets, drawers, pantries, shelves, and a range of other storage compartments to help keep your kitchen looking clean and neat. Of course the occasional décor piece or small appliance can be kept in the open on a countertop, but make sure these are surrounded by plenty of clean spaces.

2. A dirty bathroom sink

That bathroom sink gets lots of action throughout the day, so nobody can blame it for being a bit spotty – but you, on the other hand, can definitely take the blame for that!

Treat that sink (and mirror) to a wipe-down after every use (or at least every second use), as this will go a long way to keeping your bathroom looking clean and proper.

3. A neglected garden

Overgrown grass, tall weeds, dead flowers – does this sound like a pretty picture to you? 

A beautiful lawn goes hand in hand with dedicated maintenance, so if you’re not the gardening type, put an expert gardener in charge.

4. A messy living room

Just because you’re “living” in that living room doesn’t mean it has to look like a pigsty. 

Fold up that blanket or throw, ensure the magazines on the coffee table are neatly stacked, take those dirty mugs to the kitchen, and please ensure that your scatter cushions are arranged appropriately.

5. A dirty terrace

Of course an outdoor space that is exposed to the elements will mean a not-so-perfect look (especially after a nice strong wind or rainstorm), but that is no excuse to overlook your terrace, balcony, and porch.

Give it a decent sweep and wipe-down every two or three days – and yes, this counts for winter too!

6. Tangled cables

Not only are they a tripping hazard, but also make your room look messy. Hide them as effectively as possible (out of sight, preferably) to keep the cluttered look to a minimum.

7. A cluttered entryway

Shoes on the floor, smudges against the walls, a bunch of coats sharing a dingy old wall hook – not the best look for your entryway, is it? 

Like the rest of your house, effective storage is crucial here, whether in the form of a bench, cupboard or closet. And by all means add a wall hook or two (or hat stand) for coats, scarves, hats and jackets.

8. Chaotic décor

Good on you for wanting to show your travel keepsakes and photos of family and pets, but keep the clutter factor in mind. 

Make sure there’s adequate breathing space surrounding those décor pieces (including your wall art) – and if you absolutely must show off all those decorative items, rather store some of them out of sight and do a switch-around every other week or so. 

Besides, showing fewer pieces means less cleaning for you!

9. Not utilising space properly

If your living room, for example, is cluttered, yet there’s a nice empty spot underneath your staircase, don’t you think that will strike guests as odd?

Use whatever areas you can to help with storage, such as under-the-stairs storage compartments, wall niches, floating shelves, etc.

10. A desk stacked with papers

Clerkenwell House 01: eclectic Study/office by YAM Studios

True, most guests won’t venture into your home office, but that doesn’t mean you can close the door on a mess. Besides, a messy study will definitely not put you in the mood to do some work.

Tackle those heaps of papers and be stern about what needs to be kept (the latest tax certificates) and what can go (last year’s take-away menus).

11. Disorganised wardrobes

A closet with a myriad of fashions and accessories can flaunt a look of either “oh-so chic” or “oh no”. How you choose to store and show your shoes, jackets, jewellery and other items will make a big difference here.

And if that closet still presents a messy look after you’ve cleaned it out, then make sure you can at least hide the clutter behind closed doors so as not to disrupt the style of your entire bedroom.

12. Crumbs and smudges

Whether it’s the dining room, the kitchen breakfast bar, the coffee table in the living room, or your home office desk surface, any space that plays venue to dining needs to be cleaned afterwards.

Make sure not so much as a crumb remains, and check that you wipe down all surfaces where a spill occurred. 

Now you know what to do (or what not to do), but do you know what to say? Take a look at these: Questions to avoid when you visit someone’s home.

How else can we ensure a cleaner, better-looking home?
Whitton Drive:  Terrace house by GK Architects Ltd

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