Design your home to be low maintenance

By Stephanie Curtis

Following are six suggestions from Happy Homes Maids in Boise, Idaho, to make your home easier to maintain. Every room in your home can be changed to cut some need for cleaning. This article is an effort to rescue the homemaker. Are you building or remodeling a home in Boise, Idaho? Read on to learn about how you can design your home to be easier to clean.

1. Use medium colors. Medium colors don't show dust and dirt as easily. Dust a black piece of furniture, and you can watch it fill up with dust again nearly immediately! Black sinks and black refrigerators start getting white build up on them from hard water. Use patterns with multi-colors in your flooring, carpet and countertops; they are great at camouflaging dust, dirt and fingerprints.

2. Install easy-to-clean materials. Install hard floors in your high traffic areas. Use smooth materials and paint that is easy to wash. Rough materials, such as rock, are tough to dust, and tougher to wash. Install carpets in your bedrooms, living rooms and family rooms. Carpets are easier to clean than hard floors, because they only require one step to clean them.

3. Build in fewer shelves. Have you ever tried to clean on top of kitchen or other cabinets that do not go to the ceiling? Happy Homes Maids does it all the time, and there is no easy way to do it. We have had to clean log homes before, and they are neat looking, but every single log has to be dusted because they are each like a shelf. The fewer shelves in your home the better for dusting. Short walls built for plant shelves are very difficult to clean, and are dust collectors. Cabinets should be built all the way to the ceiling so dust cannot collect on top. The bonus is more cabinet space for storage.

4. Use less grout. Grout is porous and hard-to-clean. Never put tile countertops in a kitchen! Tile in a shower is very difficult to keep clean from growing mold. The best product to use is a solid plastic shower/tub, or shower walls that are one solid piece cut from granite, quartz, or pro marble (never use real marble because you can't clean it...or use it...without it getting scratched and stained).

5. De-clutter. About half of housework is caused by junk, litter, and clutter - having things around that we don't need and never use. Design and decorate your home with simplicity in mind. The less you have to pick up and dust under or pick up and vacuum under, the faster it will be to clean your home. Keep your furnishings simple as well; excess furniture can turn your home into an obstacle course for vacuuming, and give you a lot of extra surfaces to dust. Be a minimalist - decorate with fewer items, and keep the clutter out.

6. Size & height. If you are building a new home, keep this tip in mind. Every square foot of your home has to be vacuumed, swept, dusted, painted, furnished, etc. For obvious reasons, smaller homes are easier to clean. Stairs are difficult to vacuum and bring cleaning supplies up and down, so building a single level home makes cleaning easier. Single level homes have fewer windows to wash and less siding to maintain. One story homes are far easier to clean.

Design with less in mind and have more time for living. The more you have to spend your time cleaning, the less you have to just sit down with a good book, or hang out with your family. Cut some need for cleaning by making a few small changes in every room, or by designing a new home with these suggestions.

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