A few weeks ago, I caught a repeat of the Martha Stewart show. Now, I like Martha. I subscribe to her magazine and I visit her website for the occasional crafty idea.
However, I’m not a fan of her talk show. Just because watching Martha interact with her guest is sometimes painful and embarrassing. Especially this episode, where the very candid, very Southern chef Paula Deen visited the set. I thought Martha’s head was going to spin when Paula said she let people wear shoes in her house. “Oh, we are very different” Martha said followed by one of her nervous, uncomfortable laughs.
Which brings me to another aspect of Martha that makes her different than most—her standards of clean. Martha started the show introducing her book, The Homekeeping Handbook: The Essential Guide to Caring for Everything in Your Home. “Homekeeping” is her term. Martha prefers calling it homekeeping rather than “cleaning” or “housework,” or as I call it, “doing crap around house.”
From the Homekeeping book, she revealed her list of Six Things to Do Every Day. These are supposed to be quick housekeeping tips that will help keep your home more tidy. Here’s the recap of the list, along with my added analysis for us moms.
1. Make the Bed—”Tidiness begets tidiness. A crisply made bed makes the whole room seem more orderly, which makes it less likely that you’ll let other things — such as clothes and papers—pile up around it.” I don’t mind making the bed every day. It’s dealing with the laundry on top of the bed that I’ve neglected to sort. I’ll move it to the floor at night. Then the next morning, make the bed and pile it back up again. There’s nothing orderly about it.
2. Manage Clutter—”Whenever you leave a room, take a quick look around for anything that isn’t where it should be. Pick it up and put it where it belongs. Insist that everyone in the household do the same.” This tip is just about impossible when you have two toddlers living with you. Everything is not where it should be. And just try to insist to your screaming 2-year-old that the mile-high pile of DVDs she pulled out needs to be put away.
3. Sort the Mail—”Take a few minutes to open, read, and sort mail as soon as you bring it inside. Keep a trash bin near your sorting area for junk mail. Drop other mail into one of four in-boxes: personal correspondence, bills, catalogs, and filing.” Sorting mail is the least of my problems. How about sorting sippy cups so that they don’t knock ya on the head when you open the cabinet… is there a tip for that?
4. Clean as You Cook—”Instead of filling the sink with pots and dishes, wash them or put them in the dishwasher as you prepare a meal.” This tip would be easier to accomplish, if I had two more arms. I could clean a pot in the sink, sauté chicken on the stove, and get milk out the fridge for the kid that’s wrapped around my legs—all at the same time.
5. Wipe Up Spills While They’re Fresh—”Whether it’s tomato sauce on the cooktop or makeup on the bathroom counter, almost anything is faster and easier to remove if you attend to it immediately.” Sure, if you know about the spill, it would be easy to wipe up. If only moms had Super-Sonar-Spill Skills, we’d know the exact time and location of all other spills. This would surely avoid stepping into mysterious sticky spots on the kitchen floor.
6. Sweep the Kitchen Floor—”Every evening once you’ve finished washing up after dinner, sweep the floor. This will keep tough-to-clean dirt and grime from building up, which will make the weekly mopping much quicker.” Weekly mopping? I’m lucky if there’s monthly mopping.
After learning Martha’s six things, I think back to what an old neighbor said to me once. She was coming over to visit and I apologized for the mess. My neighbor, a mother of six (yes—six!) grown boys told me not to worry, that “a house isn’t a home unless it looks lived in.” Take that advice, Martha.