Dear Housekeeping Diary,
It’s not a secret that I’m obsessed with life at home. I spend my days designing interiors, prepping “lifestyle” photoshoots (whatever that means), fantasizing about throwing dinner parties, and then actually throwing one every once in a while. As you can imagine, someone as obsessed with the (often failed) pursuit of home perfection as I am has concocted a lot of rules for proper living over the years. Many of these were passed down from my parents, but I’ve concocted some pretty insane ones all on my own. So today, I thought I’d share some of the rules I have about what is allowed and what is not allowed at Orcondo.
I’m lucky to live with a pretty fastidious and well-mannered gentleman, but in all honesty some of my OCD house rules drive even him crazy. It’s not until you move in with someone that you realize how truly insane your house habits are. So I try not to be too controlling with them. The following are a list of rules that exist in my head, and are sometimes implemented in my house when I can do so without starting an unnecessary argument.
1. Never Put Wine Glasses in the Dishwasher
This is one that I got from my mom. I always doubted about it until one day, as an adult I put a wine glass in the dishwasher. As I closed the dishwasher, the glass exploded and shards of glass went everywhere, nearly killing me instantly. So the logic of this rule is that not only do you risk breaking your wine glasses by putting them in a dishwasher, they also tend to dry spotty and disgusting. The best way to wash a wine glass is with a sponge, by hand (I’m not into bottle brushes because they don’t remove lipstick and chapstick stains very well). Then you hand dry them with a clean dish towel to prevent them from spotting. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been embarrassed in front of guests by spotty glasses I forgot to dy. Clearly, I choose really important things to get embarrassed about.
2. When Cleaning, Start at the Top
When I was about twelve, my mom got a book about cleaning that changed all of our lives forever. The book, by Clean Team founder Jeff Campbell, is basically a rallying cry for people who are psychotically obsessed with cleanliness. If you think I have a lot of house rules, they have millions more. One of the most important is that when you’re cleaning you should always start at the top. For example, in a kitchen, you would wipe off the cabinets first, then wipe down the countertops, and finish by cleaning the floor. That way anything that breaks loose while you’re cleaning will be picked up by your final floor sweep. This is one of the most logical tenets of housekeeping I’ve ever heard and if you don’t agree with it I’m going to have to ask you to leave. If you don’t know The Clean Team, I highly recommend their products. They’re a lot more environmentally friendly than most mainstream cleaning supplies these days.
3. No Paper Plates Unless You’re having a Party for 30 or More People
Paper plates are convenient, but unless your water is turned off or you have no kitchen, there’s no reason to use them unless you’re hosting a huge party and you don’t have enough regular dishes. Guests get a kick out of using real plates (and glassware for that matter), and you can get pretty decent table settings at pretty reasonable prices these days (restaurant supply stores are a great place to look for simple white dishes in higher quantities). And don’t even think about using a paper plate if you don’t have guests. That’s just insanity.
4. Never Put Wood or Fancy Knives in the Dishwasher
To me, the wood thing seems pretty self-explanatory. Getting wood wet ultimately damages it. And since dishwasher cycles last for up to a few hours, keeping them wet for extended periods of time will break them down and strip them of oils they need to stay young and attractive (like you). And don’t put your fancy Wustoff knives in the dishwasher either. I don’t know why I believe this, I just do. Hand wash your finer things and they will last longer.
5. Don’t Use Paper Towels Unless You Have To
When I was fresh out of college, I had a boyfriend who used paper towels FOR EVERYTHING. It drove me crazy, because it was so wasteful and unnecessary. It made me question his moral integrity. How could someone grow up to believe that it was okay to waste so much paper? Did he have something against trees? It’s on par with leaving the water running while you brush your teeth (which is basically terrorism as far as I’m concerned). Using too many paper towels says to the world “I don’t care that our planet is literally days from exploding in a global warming apocalypse, I’m gonna use a paper towel because I feel like it.” Also, paper towels don’t work as well as cloth for cleaning things up. My rule is that if it can spread deadly germs (like salmonella or e. coli) then you should use a paper towel. For everything else, just use a cloth like an actual human being. Keep a separate bin for them so they don’t contaminate your other laundry.
6. Always Close The Toilet Completely
Women and men are equal offenders in my book in terms of toilet-closing etiquette. Yes, men can be idiots and forget to put the seat down for women, which is completely unacceptable. But women often leave the lid of the toilet open after they use the toilet. Leaving the toilet open is not only unattractive, it’s also a hazard. THINK OF ALL THE BRAND NEW IPHONE 7S THAT COULD FALL IN THERE. A note to all women and men out there: LITERALLY ALL OF YOU ARE DOING IT WRONG. You should be closing the toilet completely (including the lid) before you leave the bathroom. It’s the only dignified thing to do.
7. Hide Your Bananas
This is where you’re going to start feeling really sorry for my boyfriend. My sweet, handsome boyfriend. He loves bananas, but I hate it when they start getting brown spots all over them so I always hide them in the cupboard. He’s always like “If I can’t see the bananas I won’t eat them because I won’t remember they’re there.” And I’m like “THESE ROTTING BANANAS REMIND ME OF MY OWN IMPENDING DEATH.” And then he lets me put them in the cupboard. I wish bananas didn’t get so gross, so fast, but looking at them just reminds me that we’re all gonna die and I can’t handle that first thing in the morning before I’ve had any coffee. This goes for other spotty fruits too. Regardless of how delicious they are, no one wants to see them. So hide them in a deep, dark place the same way you hide your true emotions.
8. Don’t Leave Shampoo Bottles in the Squeezed Position
Yes, this is also insane, but hear me out. Packaging designers have been working for decades to perfect the design of shampoo bottles. The way it’s supposed to work is you squeeze the bottle and shampoo comes out. But you have to let the bottle return to its original shape by letting air back in or you’ll lose squeezing power. So don’t leave the bottle in a squeezed position where it looks all skinny and cracked out, like Lindsay Lohan in 2007. The bottle was designed to be a certain shape. FOR THE LOVE OF GOD (and packaging designers everywhere) JUST LET IT BE THAT SHAPE!
9. Never Ever Squeeze Toothpaste from the Middle
This is another aesthetic thing. The sight of a lumpy tube of toothpaste sends me into a deep depression that can last for months, even years. So I always squeeze mine from the end. Luckily, I don’t share a tube with my boyfriend. I made him get his own so we could each squeeze how we please (he’s a middle squeezer).
10. You Don’t Have to Fold Underwear
Folding underwear is stupid and a complete waste of time. It’s too small to actually fold properly so folding it is pointless. There are so many other things you could be doing with your time. Like running around the house and making sure all your toilets are closed and then screaming things at the ceiling when you find one that has been left open.
11. No Christmas Before Thanksgiving
I don’t believe in allowing holidays to overlap, so you must be done with Thanksgiving before you put up a Christmas tree. It’s like, what if Santa showed up while you were wearing a Halloween costume? It would be like when you run into friends from disparate groups at the same time and you have to try to talk to them at the same time even though they hate each other. Drama. It is the natural order of things that we have to get through the harvest themed holidays to get to the winter holidays. ONE MUST NOT DEFY THE NATURAL ORDER OF THINGS.
12. If One is Open Already, Don’t Open Another One
If you want to see me completely lose my mind, open a jar of peanut butter when there is another of the same kind already open. Nothing makes me feel crazier than opening the refrigerator to find three cans of the same type of spaghetti sauce open, sitting there, laughing at how out of control my life has become. The rule goes like this: if something is low enough that you feel it merits opening another of the same, throw away the first one or condense the two bottles. WE CANNOT LIVE IN A WORLD WHERE THERE ARE MULTIPLES OF EVERYTHING OPEN ALL THE TIME. Just think of all the chaos, the medicine cabinets full of half-used tubes of toothpaste that would tumble out and hit you in the face every time you opened them. Just thinking about it makes me furious.
Alright, well I’ve exposed I am a literal insane person and likely very difficult/impossible to live with. But I’m sure you have your own little house rule quirks that drive you/your spouse and/or friends/family crazy. TELL ME WHAT THEY ARE! Leave your HOUSE RULES in the comments section. I’ll be adding my favorites to this list.