Get cleaned up before you clean.

Clean before you clean

I know I have lost some of you already.

“But cleaning is best done in sweatpants from 1993, no bra and a face that could frighten children of all ages,” you may say. I used to feel this way too. But then I cleaned up my act a bit.

One of my favorite authors/bloggers and vloggers, Jennifer L. Scott of the Madame Chic collection of books and The Daily Connoisseur blog,, writes about the joys of “looking presentable always.” She does her housework (and I think she might even do some gardening) in her “good” clothes. If you have not read her books or her blog, I can’t recommend them enough. She has done a TEDx Talk on The 10 Item Wardrobe. She believes in loving what you have and wearing what you have. Really wearing the items you have because your wardrobe is small and only contains items that you love.

But what does this have to do with cleaning? Plenty! When I finally admitted to myself that I truly enjoy cleaning, I started to clean my home more often. I do a “big clean” once a week (2-4 hours) and a little bit of cleaning and organizing every day. On my big cleaning days, I find that if I have washed my face, put on some makeup, dressed in comfortable clothes that are presentable enough to go out to lunch in, I feel more energized and motivated.

Jennifer L. Scott is a huge fan of the apron and so am I. Aprons, my friends, are wonderful. Target has many pretty ones, Williams Sonoma has classic (but fairly pricey) choices and lots of craft fairs and farmers markets have fun retro aprons now. Clichés are clichés for a reason. A housewife wearing an apron over her nice clothes is a popular image for a reason-it works! Aprons protect your clothes when you are cleaning and cooking. If your apron has a pocket? So much the better. Cloths, gloves, and plenty more can be stashed in your apron pocket.

I had the real Influenza Type B this winter. It was, in a word, rotten. My house was a mess, I looked like I had been dipped in flour, rolled in grease (hair included) and then someone forgot to finish me in Panko crumbs. After 10 days in bed, I had a tiny bit of energy and knew that I wanted to clean the house. But first I cleaned myself up. I knew that if I didn’t feel somewhat human, I would never get the motivation going to clean for even 15 minutes. How do you know I am really sick? I don’t clean for 10 days. That’s how.

So I showered, washed and styled my hair, put on makeup, some Eileen Fisher crepe pants (that have been relegated from “nice” to “sort of nice,” because they were my travel pants), a Loft long-sleeved T-shirt and away I went: I vacuumed the bedroom, stripped the bed, washed everything that could be washed in hot water and my beloved Tide Free and Clear. I sprayed Lysol on everything in sight. Normally I am a big fan of my homemade or purchased natural cleaners but “real” flu calls for the big guns- Lysol Crisp Linen (the cleanest smelling non-natural deodorizer in my book). I changed the sheets, dusted all the furniture and then realized that I was hitting my limit.

But now the bedroom at least was fresh and clean and so was I. Does anything feel better when you have been sick for more than a week? Nope.

Now that I am back on my cleaning game, I am still finding that when I feel that I look nice, it really does make me dig in a little deeper into my cleaning and organizing.

Please visit The Daily Connoisseur, and learn more about Jennifer’s philosophy of looking presentable always and learn more about her wonderful Madame Chic books.


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