I have to manage a double housing whammy. The first being my house is very small. My husband and I downsized to a home that only has four rooms (1120 sq ft) on the first floor, where we reside. We never use the second floor which has 2 bedrooms and a full bathroom. That’s reserved for when my children and their respective families come to visit us once or twice a year.

The second whammy is that I am a neat freak. I can’t stand clutter of any kind. I know instantly if something in my home is out of order and I immediately jump to fix/correct it. I’m the type that’s always straightening out a mirror, a painting, a shelf, etc. I also can’t stand it when something in the house needs to be cleaned. Because of this, I’m constantly cleaning. I don’t clean the house on a set day, once per week. I clean every single day. I vacuum my house once per day. Sometimes twice. That’s because we have a shedding dog. I clean the kitchen every single day. That’s because, due to the pandemic, we’re eating three meals a day there (and countless snacks). My husband is constantly in the kitchen eating something thus making a mess. And there I am, right behind him, with a sponge in hand.

It’s exhausting.

I used to do ALL the cleaning by myself but now since we are BOTH home, I’ve split up some of the cleaning chores. Hubby is responsible for cleaning the kitchen/dining/hallway floor. I do the living room. Since these rooms have the same bamboo flooring but different usages, what used to be cleaned once per month, now needs to be cleaned every two weeks (or weekly, if possible). The dogs aren’t allowed in the living room, so that flooring cleaner is more of a polisher. The kitchen/dining area is under constant use (and I’ve got the massive scratched flooring to prove it) so a more powerful cleaning agent has to be used. Cleaning the kitchen takes brawn (which hubby has) while the living room takes finesse (which I have).

Before the pandemic, we rarely used our living room. Now? It’s a flop house and it shows!
Another view, showing the pristine bamboo flooring. NOT any more!!!

Since the pandemic, we’ve been forced to be home more. That put a huge strain on our four room living arrangement (living room, large kitchen with open dining area, master bedroom and an office, which I solely use). We very rarely used our living room. We mostly lived in our rather large master bedroom. We have a flat screen TV there, hidden in our armoire, a comfy recliner for him and a settee for me. After a while of constantly being home, it got to be too tight trying to live in 3 rooms when a perfectly roomier, more comfy living room was just sitting dormant. So, we started using our living room more, which has turned into a disaster. It’s become a flop house now. Coffee cups everywhere, hubby’s tools laying about, expensive accent pillows getting crunched and drooled on (don’t ask), remote controls left all over the place, garbage, clutter, papers…..the list can go on and on.

I am constantly, constantly picking up after my husband. It’s an all day thing. Also, since we recently got a Maltipoo puppy, who will never weigh more than 12 pounds and will never shed, said puppy wants to stay with us in the living room, on the couch, on the recliner, on the area rug, with her toys and her longish scratching nails. Once our big 60 pound dog saw puppy running about freely in the living room, she wants to join in with us but that is where I have drawn the line. Older dog positively NOT allowed in the living room. Period! Enough!

This is what my kitchen normally looks like every single day.
Now, with the pandemic and our constantly preparing 3 meals a day and countless snacks, there are always dishes in the sink, dirty dishes on the counter, dirty pots on the stove!
This is our dining area, adjacent to the kitchen

Since it is apparent that we are going to be living in our home more because of the long term effects of the pandemic, we decided to remodel our living room this upcoming spring. There is no doubt that our energy prices are going to soar. We’re already seen a 26% increase in propane heating costs so we have decided to put in a pellet stove. Pellets will remain cheap and is much cleaner and healthier than burning wood.

The pellet stove will be installed on the longer, outside, side wall which will change the interior of the living room. Believe it or not, our couch is 18 years old! That’s the first thing we will replace after the stove is installed. I have my eye on a blue couch, around 92 inches long and comes with two recliners built in to the couch. The couch will line up on the interior wall and face the smart, flat screen TV already hanging on the wall. The only other thing I think we will need to do in the room is re-paint it. I’d like to retain the same color since it goes well with the other interior rooms (and with all the other existing living room furniture!)

Our master bedroom however, since we are using it less and only for sleep (I do watch an occasional love/romantic comedy in there every once in a while) will remain as a sanctuary. This is probably how the home should have been originally set up. I always kept the living room pristine for when we had guests over. Now, since no one is coming (not even my kids) everything is different now.

Our master bedroom today, after it’s own remodel last year. It will now be a sanctuary.

Both the master bedroom and my office have newly installed laminate flooring. These are super easy to maintain, and since we have dogs, I swiffer wash them almost every week. Each morning I tidy clean my home. That means I pick up the clutter, put things away, straighten out the couch, make the bed, tidy up the papers in my office, clean up the kitchen after breakfast (I always clean the kitchen each and every night before I retire. I do NOT like coming in to the kitchen in the morning and finding a mess). I clean the bathroom almost every day. I found this great product, Kaboom, that is very easy to use in the bath. You just spray it on. It turns blue. When it turns white, everything underneath it is clean. I just lightly wipe it up. Hubby spruces up the jacuzzi tub once a week. And we’re done!

It’s been a chore keeping our home tidy and clean during this pandemic. It’s almost like a full time job. Currently, I’m seeking out easier and more streamlined techniques to utilize in the kitchen. I had purchased an air fryer two weeks ago (click here) to help keep down the cooking mess but the model I bought was just too big (5 qt) and took up too much counter space. I returned it and got this smaller model (1.5 qt) AND it also came in white (the original fryer came in black). (If you notice, I like white appliances and white decorative pieces in the kitchen). This Dash model is perfect for 2 people and works great. Plus it looks good on the kitchen counter. Win-win, all around.

This smaller air fryer matches my decor AND is perfect for clean cooking for two people. I love it!