There is no getting away with it: someday's the house looks and feels horrible and you have to consider packing your bags and declaring real- estate divorce.
The thing is this: your house will not love you if you will not love it back. And though some days loving it back seems almost impossible, we simply have to gird our loins and throw ourselves, heart, body and soul into showing it the kind of tidy, clean affection you know it's really craving...
And so my lovelies, I hereby present, The Little House Pick-Me-Up: the fast track, one day, 9 to 5 route to feeling better about your house, whether you are having company over, or simply cannot face another day living in chaos...
Get ready. It is hard work. ~But then nobody said it would be easy did they??
The Little House Pick Me Up
* Start with a bin bag or six and whizz around the house chucking out anything that looks remotely like rubbish.Throw away anything that looks past it's best because today is the day you have decided not to live with second best anymore. Better then to have empty space than a something that hurts your eyes. Now open every window in the house and that's an order!
* Tidy up as much as you usually do. Get it looking as straight as possibly be. You know exactly what you need to do and you should go ahead and do it for at least two hours. This is the grafting part. The lugging things about part. The making beds and making piles and bashing cushions bit. Don't stop to clean. Just tidy up as best as you know how.
* Now call time for elevenses and then spend an hour tidying up a bit more with fresh eyes. Really pull your guts out. All too often we tidy half-heartedly and that is why it seems as though we never get anywhere, so tidy up as though your life depended on it. As if there was a new Mother-In-Law on the way. As if the TV cameras were popping in tomorrow!
* Tidy up sprawling plants, get rid of dusty pop pourri and abandoned or sorry looking puttery treats and as much as is physically possible, strip the house back to its bare bones... I like to think of this part as un-Alisoning the house so I can "Alison" it all over again...
* If the laundry baskets are full, divide the washing into three bin bags, white's, coloreds and special attention required and put them out of sight until you have more time.
*...And break! Now walk around and remove at least three things from every single surface in the house. Move as much possible out of sight, so that the mind is calmed by visual quiet. If you can't put it away, at least pile and group as neatly as possible.
* Empty all bins and re-line except the kitchen bin which you should take outside and blast with a hose pipe. Do the same with litter trays. Leave outside to air dry.
* Set a pan of cinnamon, orange peel, apple slices and cloves to bubble slowly on the stove while you empty the dishwasher, do the dishes and scrub the kitchen sink.
* Now put disinfectant in every loo in the house and leave to get to work while you scrub the bathrooms. Put new pretty soap out and fluff clean towels up in the tumble dryer. Remember that much of our home heartache is related to a feeling of emotional or spiritual deprivation, so it helps to provide visual reminders of abundance...
* Throw some home-made shake and vac down on to all carpets in the house and leave for a while (instant fragrant lift!) while you go and change your own bedding.
* Break for a light lunch and a nice cup of tea...
*Go back and scrub the loos and drop four drops of eucalyptus oil into each for instant freshness.
* Whizz about with a feather duster concentrating on cobwebs, light fittings and picture frames.
* Now vacuum throughout the entire house. Vacuum till you drop! Then shut the doors on the rooms that don't belong to you so you can pretend they don't exist.
* Get the damp micro-fibre cloth out and wipe down all furniture and window-sills quickly. Spray traditional wax based polish only on real wood or else you will just be encouraging dust to settle.
* Now choose one area of focus in your main living room and create a little vignette that makes your heart sing. Pop your coat over your pinny and go out to buy a few little, cheap seasonal flowers and have them in all the main rooms of your house.
* Next close the windows and spritz home-made Febreze into every corner of the house before lighting as many candles as you own (in safe places) in the kitchen and living room...
* Finally get into the kitchen and bake something sweet and delicious. Nothing, oh but nothing at all, makes us feel as at one with our homes as the homely, delicious scent of a cake still warm from the oven.
There now, don't you feel a million times better now? Happy Little House Pick-Me-Up day Sweetheart!x