January 28, 2022

HOW TO KEEP YOUR MANCAVE TIDY502 The Quarter-zip Pullover (Photo: Dane Deaner)

Young men tend to have an indifferent relationship to squalor. They don’t notice the errant pizza boxes or the beer cans.

They may even be proud of it – as if being a slob makes them more manly. How could a man have time for such worldly matters when they could be playing five hours of Call of Duty: Warzone?

While you might be able to get away with this kind of behavior as a young bachelor, you’ll have a rude awakening eventually. Perhaps you’ll be bringing a lucky paramour over, only to not get a call back once they witness the bathroom situation.

But more seriously, your partner or roommate might not be verbalizing their unhappiness.

The good news is that the bar is fairly low, especially if you’re young. A guy who cleans his sheets twice a month is very impressive. That said, if you’re not the type to enjoy cleaning (and let’s be honest, most of us aren’t) it can be hard to get up the motivation, or even know where to begin. Read on for some tips!

Time and Habits

There are two types of people in the world: people who clean a little bit every day, and people who clean a whole lot in a frantic mad rush. We all know the former is easier, but we sometimes have a very odd and specific kind of blindness when it comes to a certain old coffee cup or a pair of boxers on the floor.

The only way to fight this is discipline... and taking a hard look at your habits.

The absolute key is regularity. Working a little cleaning into your daily routine will help keep it in check.

In this way, cleaning is exactly like going to the gym. If you never, ever work out, it’s hell to finally get in shape. If you have a base of fitness and a routine, it’s easy, or at least, easier. And, like the gym, it’s a mood booster to actually do it. It’s nice to live in a clean living place.

As for schedules, ideally you’ll be able to stick to one. Dusting on one day, kitchen on another, bedroom on another and so on. But some people just don’t think like this. If you’re not a schedule minded person, the key is just to do it as often as you can. Again, like going to the gym, you’re better off doing a sloppy, lazy, short job than not doing it at all. Even a fifteen minute session is infinitely better than nothing at all.

Working Around
your Habits

All this said, some habits are really hard to break – like tossing your keys and the stuff in your pockets onto the table. So, try working with yourself. Get a little bin or tray for your keys and pocket junk so when you toss it all in it already feels tidier.

Simply containing the mess goes a long way towards making things not feel chaotic.

Try making “cleaning mode” a bit more fun. Spool up a favorite podcast, TV show, playlist or something to distract you. Save something really good for it, and you’ll be laughing instead of moaning despondently.

The Tools

Cleaning is much, much easier and faster with the right tools, especially if those tools are easy to access. So, get good cleaning supplies – new sponges, brushes and dusters. Get a little bucket to hold it all in the same place. Purchase specialty cleaners, depending on your surfaces: glass cleaner for windows, tile cleaner for your shower, toilet cleaner, powdered bleach and so on. If you try cleaning grout without a grout pen, you’re going to have a miserable, painstaking time. But with one, it takes a minute or two.

Just don’t mix ammonia and bleach unless you like recreating World War One era chemical weapons in your living room.

Generally speaking, when you start cleaning a room, start at the top. Wipe down counters, walls, and do your shelf dusting and the like. That way you won’t have to vacuum twice. On that note, consider getting a cordless vacuum, and make it handy. It’s worth the expense if it means you clean more often. While a Roomba or similar robot can go a long way towards having regularly clean floors, you’re still going to need a proper vacuum or broom at times. Once you’re done sweeping and vacuuming, mop your floors. Doesn’t it look amazing already?

The Kitchen

The only kind of person more beloved than a man who cooks is a man who cooks in a clean kitchen. The bare minimum here is not having dirty dishes in the sink. Not only do dirty dishes attract insects and create bad smells, you’re creating more work for yourself.

Washing dishes right after you eat is easy. Waiting two days and scraping them clean of old food is not only gross, but it takes much longer.

You can’t even put them in the dishwasher.

Ideally, if you’re cooking, clean while you cook. This isn’t always possible, but it’s by far the biggest timesaver. A regular rub-down on your stove will mean you can put off the deep clean for longer.

As for making cleaning a little less awful, consider a filtering drain plug for your sink. Don’t overuse your garbage disposal and keep your sponges clean. You can microwave them for a minute to clean them (warning: they get very hot), but don’t be afraid to retire them. Finally, don’t forget to clean your sink itself. Sinks can become full of bacteria if you’re not diligent.

The Bedroom

Guys, you do have to wash your sheets more than every couple of months. Same goes with your pillowcases. As with many things on a microbiological level, you really, really don’t want to know what an old pillowcase has living in it. Aim to wash your sheets once a week. Don’t worry if you miss a week here and there.

Odors

You might not think your home smells because your nose is accustomed to it. As George Carlin once said, we find our own stinks “fairly decent”, but other people surely do not. We all knew that one guy who insisted he never smelled bad while in fact smelling very bad. Candles, incense and the like are your friend. If you’re feeling inspired, Google “simmer pot." And as much as we love that you have The Standard Tee in all eight colors, don't leave worn ones in a pile on the corner of your floor. Our anti-microbial technology can only go so far...

The Bathroom

Finally, the toilet situation. Let’s not make it a situation in the first place.

Again, have the tools handy – a toilet brush and toilet cleaner. The toilet tends to make a lasting impression on anyone’s experience in your home. Also, we hope we shouldn’t have to say this, but have hand soap by the sink. Put a little trashcan in the bathroom... with a lid.

Do not neglect the shower. Again, having the right tools goes a long way. There are cleaners that specifically clean up a shower door and tile. To fight mildew in cracks, you’ll need a decent scrub brush. That, or hire a cleaning service from time to time to get these details while you handle the daily cleanings.

Sparkle On!

Remember, nothing says “grown man” like a mancave that looks shining clean. Once you get in the habit of regular cleaning, you’ll find that you prefer it, too!