Makeover Your Mess with the “Mount Vernon Method” of Cleaning

laundryAs you know, Garage Décor and More specializes in creating organized spaces that are not only functional, but also stylish. With a large selection of custom storage systems, we can design solutions to manage clutter in any room. But in addition to helping our clients utilize smart storage solutions, we also like to use this blog to offer tips on keeping your home clean and clutter free—because less mess equals less stress!

If you feel like the mess in your home is out of control and you do not know where to start, author Sandra Felton suggests a method based on the cleaning strategy of the housekeepers at George Washington’s historic estate.   In her book, The Messies Manual: A Procrastinator’s Guide to Good Housekeeping, Felton offers her practical (and sometimes humorous) perspective on taking control of a messy home.

Housekeeping at George Washington’s Home

During a tour of the Mount Vernon Estate, a visitor asked the head housekeeper how they managed to maintain the impeccable cleanliness of the huge home. The housekeeper explained that the cleaners were directed to start at the front door and work their way around the outside parameter of each room, cleaning top to bottom until the entire room was completely clean. Once one room was finished, they would move on to the next room and repeat the process until every room in the home had been tended.

Practical Application of the Mount Vernon Method

Felton explains that this strategy can simplify the process for any room (or an entire home for that matter) that may feel like it is overwhelmingly messy. To get started, set a schedule for cleaning each day or each week, and plan on sticking to it. Give yourself a time limit to work on your project. Stop when it is “quitting time” and pick up where you left off the next day or the next week.

Having realistic expectations about the amount of time it will take you to really deep clean a room will help keep you from becoming discouraged. Start slow. Pick one room in your home that needs attention and aim to have the entire room completely detailed within one month’s time. Felton suggests thinking of this process as a marathon, not a sprint. Even 20 minutes each day can help you make significant gains and keep you from becoming bored or overwhelmed with the whole process.

Top to Bottom, Inside and Outcloset

Begin by dusting all the corners and light fixtures on the ceiling. Work your way down to the window coverings. Wash drapes, dust blinds, and clean windows as you work around the room. Remove and clean any wall décor as you come to it. When you get to a piece of furniture, dust the outside surfaces, then clean out each of the drawers and cabinets in the piece. Take this opportunity to pull out any items that ought to be sold, donated, or thrown away; then deal with those items accordingly without delay. After you have cleaned every piece of furniture and washed all linens, thoroughly clean the floor of the room.

If there is a closet in the room, you may want to save that until last so that you can first build up your confidence and boost your sense of accomplishment. At this point, you may want to call in the professionals at Garage Décor and More to help you improve the storage situation in your room.

Keep Up the Good Work

After you have finished your first room, keep going! It may take some time and concentration, but eventually you will get through your whole home. Once a room is clean, devise a strategy for keeping it that way. Get your family involved and make a point of explaining WHY good housekeeping is so important.

For more tips on organizing your home and implementing smart storage solutions, check out other articles on our blog.   If you would like help tackling your mess and getting the clutter in your home under control once and for all, contact Garage Décor and More for a FREE consultation, or call 618-789-7969.