When I was looking online for a rule on when to take down my Christmas tree, I found lots of rules for housekeeping. I read through them, hoping to find the Silver Bullet to Housekeeping, even though I don’t believe life’s challenges are ever simple enough to have a single solution. Apparently, the internet agrees with me. The secret to housekeeping can’t be summed up in a single rule. It requires ten.

The 10 Golden Rules of Housekeeping contains my least favorite suggestions because it insists that a clean room is not enough. Clearly, the author doesn’t understand that having a clean house is more than most of us can manage. Instead, she assumes that housekeeping is what we do after the cleaning is already done:

“Housekeeping is the day–to–day work that goes into tidying, reorganizing and detailing rooms in a home after it has been properly cleaned. Housekeeping is that extra touch that goes into good presentation. This includes fluffing pillows, positioning furniture correctly, organizing magazines and books, properly making a bed and so on.”

Good presentation? Are you kidding me? Who has time to worry about that?

She's ready to clean. But is she ready to keep house?
She’s ready to clean. But is she ready to keep house?

My favorite “golden rule” is #5: “Look at the room from the user’s perspective. What will someone in the room see while sitting down or lying in their bed?” My interpretation: You only have to clean it if the user can see it. Skip the rest. I’m also stumped by the photos included with this list. They show women cleaning, even though they insist that cleaning isn’t what housekeeping is about.

Homemaker Daily’s 10 Housekeeping Rules are much more my style. They include old favorites like: “If you get something out, put it away when you’re done.” and “Have a place for everything and put everything in its place.” They get a gold star from me, however, for not dismissing cleanliness as “not enough.” Rule 9: “A little bit of housecleaning is better than none at all. Do what you can; don’t wait until you can do it all.” That works for me.


The blue-ribbon winner of my unofficial 10 Housekeeping Rules Contest is 2coolbaby.com, where they explain why you shouldn’t bother to clean to begin with. Reasons not to clean range from not vacuuming to avoid damaging the carpet fibers to leaving the windows unwashed to block harmful UV rays. My favorite is #2: “Dust bunnies cannot evolve into dust rhinos when disturbed. Rename the area under the couch ‘The Galapagos Islands’ and claim an ecological exemption.”

If I'm going to get the house in order, I may have to change my priorities.
If I’m going to get the house in order, I may have to change my priorities.

I think these three lists cover the range of housekeeping approaches out there: Martha-Stewart-Wannabe, Doing-The-Best-She-Can, and Too-Busy-To-Bother. I think of myself as doing my best given my circumstances, although I must confess that my Christmas tree is still up. If I don’t get it down before February, I’ll have to look to 2coolbaby for a good excuse to leave it there.

Which type of housekeeper are you?

4 thoughts on “10 Rules To Cover Every Style of Housekeeping”

  1. I live in an apartment, and my main rule is that everything needs a place where it belongs. If I can’t find a place for something, I don’t keep it. The place still feels like it’s overflowing at times, but the rule definitely keeps a lot of the clutter at bay.

    The dishes are what always get me. I swear, I think dirty dishes multiply on their own!

    1. Dishes and laundry… those things that are never ever ever done. They definitely can weigh on you. I have a dishwasher, and once I figure out it literally takes only 2 minutes to unload it, the dishes seemed like less of a burden to me.

      Small spaces definitely require organization to stay comfortable. If I could just follow your main rule, our house would be a lot neater! Most of the stuff that’s lying around is lying around because it doesn’t have a home.

    1. Happy to include you. Practical suggestions seem the best to me (obviously). Looking forward to following your rules more.

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