When we think of French living, from the stunning architecture of a traditional Parisian apartment to the beautiful cooking and homely atmosphere of a Provencal farmhouse, we always imagine a chic homeowner behind each. The Look Française for us means cropped trousers, pumps and taking time to sip a café at the morning market. French ladies certainly know how to get what they want!
French Housekeeping vs British
Generally speaking, the French enjoy a larger living space per household than in the UK. Apart from in the cities where, like London, Paris has a lot of compact studio apartments. Keeping these spacious, chic spaces pristine might sound like a full time job but in fact, a survey by The Independent found that the French do less housework than any other nation! Mais oui, – clocking up less than 16 hours per week despite their reputation for all things parfait!
So, how do the French keep their homes looking good, without spending hours entombed in a pair of Marigolds – after all, elles sont chic, non? Read on…
- Little and Often
When your primary concern is achieving a good work life balance and a good helping of joie de vivre, you need a conducive environment without all the marathon cleaning sessions. It’s a well-known cultural fallacy that French women don’t get fat, but have you ever tried to picture a chic Madame scrubbing the stove? Perhaps not! The French I know seem to have some great quick fix cleaning regimes to carry out on a daily basis. Imagine the time you could save too by adopting this way of thinking – little and often – when it comes to your cleaning schedule. Sometimes there really is no need to drag the hoover around the house, particularly if you have hard or wooden floors. Sometimes a damp brush will do. The same applies for mopping with a bucket, a quick scoot round with a damp cloth on the end of your broom could buy you another day.
- Make The Distinction Between Clean and Tidy
Aside the crumbling façades you find in France profonde, you will rarely find the typical French home looking chaotic, and as a nation, the French don’t have an unnatural fixation with disinfecting every single surface the way other Western nations do. The French love a bit of streamlining – and adjust their priorities accordingly.
Don’t wait for the mess to pile up before you tackle it – adopt simple routines that keep each room looking good. Don’t let waste build up by getting rid of refuse and recycling on a daily basis. You could organise an additional waste collection if you have extra junk to get rid of by looking at same day rubbish removal services– take a look at the Woolahra page here. Or it could be as simple as always making the bed as a soon as you get out of it in the morning, or taking ten minutes before going to bed to plump cushions and re-fold throws in the living room. Hang your clothes up at the end of each day, and fold the laundry as it comes out of the dryer. Clean as you go, and the process will seem like far less effort.
- Ditch the Junk
The French embody the ethos of quality, from the capsule wardrobe to the delicate patisseries – each is designed to be savoured! Coco Chanel once said “Elegance is refusal”, and this principle is never truer than in the home. Keep your possessions to a minimum, and you’ll spend less time cleaning and organising them. If that isn’t a great excuse for a declutter, then what is!?
So, if there is an unmade bed, piles of books and papers, children’s toys and laundry everywhere, it’s perhaps time to assign everything it’s own home. And, there’s a medical reason to adopt a more organised home. Having clutter causes low-level anxiety that stops us from functioning well, even at a subconscious level. But a smidgen of dirt on the countertop? Ce n’est pas le fin du monde!
These cultural habits are straightforward, easy to implement and far less time consuming than you may think – and they’ll save you time in the long run to enjoy more fun things in life. Start off with just one of these secrets, work it into your daily routine, and you could be on your way to a chicer, cleaner home in un, deux trois x