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Forced to clean the toilet with a toothbrush, I have mixed feelings about how I keep my home clean

Updated: Aug 28, 2021

As a child, I was chastised for carrying out menial tasks at home, whilst being brought up in a convent (boarding school run by nuns) where we were forced to clean toilets with toothbrushes and use Brasso on all the shiny bits in Chapel, I have mixed feelings about how I keep my home clean.

My mother grew up with maids and nannies in the Caribbean, so when she caught me, age six, using some kitchen towel and my bare feet to mop up some spilled chocolate milk, you can imagine the horror … no, me neither! I had no idea that the simple, might I even add thoughtful act, would produce my first memory of being severely chastised.

It was forbidden that I do anything as menial as clean up my own mess at home. My mother’s form of feminism had a meaning of it’s own.

Three years later, I was installed in a boarding school, run by French Catholic nuns, where they forced us to clean, iron and go to confession daily. I didn’t tell the ‘feminist’ because living there was fun.

I love a spotless home but have to confess, I’m not the best at carrying out the work. Any house cleaners we have, are considered part of the family. Even when cash poor, I’ll choose that family member over a good bottle of wine, any day.

As someone who makes people’s homes pretty for a living, I recognise the role of House Keeper/ Cleaner as equally important to that of the Stylist.

If you have to choose one, it goes without saying which one you must choose.

I think we’re all completely over reading that

“It’s been challenging year" but if you have had to go without help, I’m sorry I didn’t write this sooner.

Please find below, my suggestions on how to get by if you have to. Tips I’ve picked up and ones imparted to me. Please don’t tell my mother.

Keeping up with tidying DAILY is essential if you’re not great at cleaning. Get anyone willing involved in a deep cleaning party, then maintain, maintain, maintain.

  • Wash up and wipe surfaces every evening.

  • Wipe the cooker top after every meal/ when washing up

  • A combination of the 2-Minute Rule and Eisenhower Box, means you will get on with what needs to be done, for your eventual happiness and sanity … no space for procrastination here.

  • Invest in a few micro cloths and save old 100% cotton teeshirts for streak free cleaning.

  • Use natural products for cleaning where possible (always). They smell better, are good for the environment and look cute. We love these British brands Spruce, Kinfill and US brand Pur

  • Keep all cleaning products in their own small caddy/ bucket/ box. It makes for a more orderly experience and you can hand it over to anyone visiting, so inclined to help you.

  • Indoor shoes. We wore them at boarding school, I prefer no shoes at home but obviously many don’t want to reveal their toes or wholly socks, so, in order to avoid the outside dirt indoors, have indoor shoes available for guest, with the exception of formal dinner parties and events, where you'll have to simply suck it up; no one wants to swap their 6” Manolos for leather babouche, no matter how stylish.

  • Rubbish belongs in the bin ALWAYS. Have an efficient recycling system and always put trash in the bin immediately.

  • Use a squeegee after using the shower. Limescale buildup is no fun to remove ie takes WAY more effort than a daily squeegee session.

  • PUT THINGS BACK. In doing this, you know where things are, everything has a place and again, no unsightly buildup.

  • Let the sunshine and fresh air in. Open your windows daily, even if only for a short time.

  • Dance when you tidy/clean. Have an upbeat, cleaning playlist. Dancing makes anything feel better plus one of the keys to health and longevity is to get your sweat on, heck you may even start to enjoy it!


Your home is your sanctory, if you like your chosen space, you will take pride in keeping it organised and clean. Here are some items that will elevate the vibe.

  • CANDLES: Have a good assortment, of every size. Natural, (colour and wax) candles are elegant. Find a few personal favourites; friends will feel comfortable arriving with them when stuck for gift ideas. Be mindful of your choice. Better quality candles may cost more, but will last longer and not pollute your environment. Burning paraffin candles may be as harmful to your health as secondhand smoke. Choose wisely. We have a selection we're proud of, with a couple more on the way, at our i.d store.

  • VASES & FRUIT BOWLS: Always keep a few in your cupboard and on display. Here is another opportunity to let aroma set the tone. We often like to use sprigs of eucalyptus (dry or fresh) combined with a bowl of ripening pears. The simplicity of colour and aroma combined is pure bliss. Find your edible & visual aroma blends.

  • WINDOWS: Keep your widows clean, it’s probably worth calling in a pro for outside upper floors. To DIY, fill a spray bottle with warm water and white vinegar, liberally spray your windows; use a squeedgee to remove liquid, then dry with a micro-fibre cloth or a ball of newspaper.

  • BEDDING: In my eyes the most important. Blog post coming up soon. In the meantime, make a good effort to change your bedding weekly. Have them laundered if you don’t want to iron them yourself. Your bed is your happy place for your (possibly naked) body. It deserves the best.

A little tongue in cheek, but true all the same.

We’d love to hear your cleaning secrets

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