The Short Version: Studies show the way you keep your living space matters greatly to a date, and Apartment Therapy provides a solution to make cleaning, organizing, and decorating easier than swiping right. The site’s advice on homekeeping shortcuts, DIY projects, and design work, along with success stories from users who’ve employed that advice, will help you keep a tidy dwelling and never hesitate to bring a date over.
According to a recent survey by Wayfair, a dirty or untidy apartment can be a dating deal-breaker. Both sexes agreed on the biggest dating sins, in order of rank on the survey’s Top 10 list: a stinky home, followed by a grimy bathroom, and then bad plumbing. While several similar items existed on both lists, the ladies highlighted “ugly or inappropriate artwork,” while the gentlemen couldn’t stand for “chipped, stained, or dirty dishes.”
The survey tells us the state of your home can signal an immediate cease-and-desist from a date. No matter how magical your dinner date was, being confronted with a messy apartment could result in your date faking an illness as an excuse to catch a cab home.
Luckily, there’s a solution for the clean-challenged. Apartment Therapy connects people to resources that help them create and maintain beautiful, clutter-free living spaces that resonate with health and vibrancy.
With advice on topics, such as DIY projects, finding the right tools for the job, and storage solutions, Apartment Therapy can help make sure your home habits don’t make a dating deal-breaker Top 10 list. The site is easy to navigate and provides great user success stories that show homes before and after employing some of their tips.
Clean It Up — Don’t Let a Dirty Home Be a Deal-Breaker
Daters can start keeping their domiciles date-ready with a few ideas and techniques. An easy concept to remember is what Apartment Therapy likes to call “Follow the Wall.” Basically, the idea is to use walls as maps to navigate cleaning and tidying your home. You can even touch the wall as you walk from room to room so you’re sure to cover everything.
First, start by choosing a wall and surveying it from top to bottom. You will come into your furnishings and anything that needs to be put away and straightened. By using this as a guide, you are streamlining your inspection process.
Kitchens usually take the most effort to clean, so save it for last by choosing an initial wall that will land you there in the end. Next, use furnishings as mini or invisible walls when they are centrally located. Think of things like countertop edges and sofa arms, and be sure you don’t miss your coffee table and other attention-getters.
Look at large pieces of furniture, such as dressers, from the bottom up so you don’t miss anything. And finally, treat each room as its own little microcosm, meaning finish one room and then take a short break before moving to the next to keep energy levels and motivation high.
Some people employ strategies, like 20 minutes of maintenance each day or cleaning one room per day to keep chores manageable. Choosing the strategy that works best for your lifestyle will keep you from slacking on cleaning efforts and help you maintain cleanliness the next time a date comes over.
Stay in the Dating Game With Homekeeping Shortcuts
While it’s good to have a strategy, sometimes life gets in the way of even the best-laid plans. If you’re short on time, Apartment Therapy provides hacks to help you tidy your place fast before receiving a date.
A few quick cheats include having one (just one!) place, like a junk drawer, basket, or box, where you can stow stuff to sort later. Sometimes doing a quick sweep of the area in question and putting stuff in your junk basket will get you out of a temporary jam — just be sure to sort your basket the following weekend so you don’t get behind.
Mail clutter can give dates the impression you can’t take care of your business. Fix that issue with a simple system Apartment Therapy calls “Don’t Put It Down.” The idea is you and your mail do not get to sit down until you deal with it.
Step One: Get rid of the junk mail either by putting it in a shredder immediately or a shredding bin. Step Two: Open everything else. Recycle anything you don’t need that does not contain confidential information. Step Three: Sort by type. Put your statements in a file cabinet, put bills in your organizer or bulletin board, and throw any fun cards or pictures onto the fridge.
One way to keep the house fresh and smelling clean is investing in some plug-in air fresheners. Another quick and easy fix Apartment Therapy provides readers is to sprinkle baking soda on your carpets a few hours before vacuuming them to absorb any trapped odors. Want a free fix? Open your windows and air out your place at least once per week just to improve air quality and crispness.
Cut Through the Clutter With Creative Storage Ideas
One of the major issues of apartment living is storage. Look no further than some great IKEA storage ideas to reign in the stuff in a stylish way. Employ some hooks and low storage in your entryway to have a one-stop plop for all of your day-to-day things like shoes, bags, and hats. And add a little art to make a functional space fun.
One of the most difficult places to optimize space is your desk. Apartment Therapy advises to repurpose bed slats to create your own mission control space for magazines, pens, books, and supplies. Put a little fancy paint on a file cabinet to jazz it up. Invest in a few standout organization pieces that combine function and flair to make the space both work- and home-friendly. Be sure that your home reflects your personal style because dates are also scouting the place to get additional clues to your likes and loves.
The Right Tools Are Imperative to Maintain a Tidy Space
In order to do anything well, you need the right tools. Every home should have an arsenal of products to keep things clean, fresh, and tidy. Of course, the basics include a great range of cleaners for everything from kitchen to bathroom and all of the places in between.
With its compatible wet and dry cloths, a Swiffer is a necessity for everything except carpet. And Apartment Therapy suggests making your own green Swiffer cloths! They also recommend investing in a good vacuum and keeping an old-school broom and dustpan around for sweeping off the porch or any potential bigger messes like an upset flower pot. Microfiber clothes are an eco-friendly way to cut down on using paper towels. Not only does it help the environment, but your date will also be impressed that you’re so environmentally conscious.
DIY Projects to Improve Your Dwelling and Impress Your Date
Nothing says “I am creative and good with my hands” like DIY projects. A little out-of-the-box thinking can yield big space rewards and special bonus points from your date. Another bonus? You get the benefit of an organized home and intact wallet.
Apartment Therapy provides a wealth of information on the most effective DIY projects people can employ to tidy living spaces and impress dates.
The “How Tos” of Clean Living
Living clean is a delicate art. The first rule is to simply not keep clutter. Anything you don’t absolutely love or don’t use should be donated. Anything broken or incomplete should be tossed.
Next, build a space in which you can live easily. Once again, Apartment Therapy suggests using hooks where appropriate and building in smart storage like a well-placed coat rack. Make the space livable for your lifestyle and maintain your home daily by putting things away and employing the age-old philosophy of “A place for everything and everything in its place.”
Simple Solutions and Hacks Make Big Impacts
In apartments, there is rarely enough room no matter how high the ceilings are. A few hacks can go a long way in some of the major problem areas like kitchens and bathrooms. Apartment Therapy gives a simple rule of thumb: pretty stuff out to see and less attractive items within.
It is a long heard woe of the man who steps into a woman’s bathroom and gets greeted by every product under the sun in a small four-by-five space. Apartment Therapy’s solution: pull together those products in a repurposed set of spice racks.
Other simple ideas for the kitchen the site recommends include using space above the cabinets (if applicable) for rarely used items, adding a rug or runner when the floor is less than awesome, and fixing a small rolling work cart with a butcher’s block top for extra space, storage, and function.
Before and After — Readers Share Their Home Transformation Stories
Readers on Apartment Therapy who have taken the site’s advice give back by presenting successful projects.
A few good ideas can totally transform your space. Check out this kitchen makeover made possible by new flooring and paint. It’s brighter, more chic, and you will want to keep it clean.
Sometimes you don’t need to change an entire room, but just a focal point to uplift the entire space. If you are lucky enough to have a fireplace, some contact paper, and a little patience, you can elevate a room the way Tiffany did in no time flat!
Impress Your Date With Compelling Home Designs
A clean and tidy home can only result in some serious brownie points when you’re scouting your prospective future partner. If you need some help, Apartment Therapy is a great resource to spruce up your love nest.
Don’t let a stinky house, a scientific experiment of a kitchen, or a clutch of clutter get in the way of bringing your date home. Apartment Therapy will keep you off of that Top 10 list of dating deal-breakers.