The new Netflix series, “Tidying Up with Marie Kondo,” has most of the internet debating over whether or not Marie Kondo wants Americans to throw out all of their possessions or if her show is making some kind of covert feminist statement. I, however, have a different question. What if all Marie really wants is for us to have more sex?
While binge watching the series, I noticed that as each episode progressed, the couples started getting real cuddly on the couch together. They implied that tidying up their homes had improved their lives in more ways than one. Wink, wink. And science confirms that couples who clean together spend more time getting, well, dirty together.
But what about if you’re single? According to these clean-home experts, you’ll definitely want to clean house before your next Netflix and chill night.
Your home is who you are.
When you first start dating someone, you’re walking that line between revealing too much, too soon or holding too much back and coming across as cold. According to Carrie Krawiec, LMFT, of Birmingham Maple Clinic in Troy, MI, how you keep your house is an important part of that equation. “While according to research men can look past a certain amount of clutter, women can experience clutter as depressing, anxiety inducing, and even [as] a lack of emotional safety,” she says. Yikes.
Basically, your home is an opportunity for your date to pick up clues about what you’re into and the sort of interests you both share. By editing down your belongings, you allow what’s most important to catch their eye first.
But Krawiec also advises against being too extreme in your cleanliness, “If you are so focused on the pristine condition of your place, you may come across as rigid, stubborn, or judgmental, and demonstrate a lack of [willingness to] compromise.”
Her last bit of advice is to put anything you aren’t ready to have a conversation about out of sight. For example, anything “like political humor, guns or weapons, pornography, drug or alcohol paraphernalia.” But these things don’t need to become deep, dark secrets, says Krawiec. “In a healthy relationship, this information will surely come out over time and should be openly shared, but maybe not all at once, or because you nonchalantly left it out in your home.”
Animals aren’t cute if your home ain’t clean.
Leah Fisch, a professional reorganizer and productivity consultant featured on “Hoarders Buried Alive,” spent several months talking long-distance with a man in NYC while she was living in London. When she finally arrived stateside, she was stunned by what she saw in his apartment. “He had this enormous bird and there was bird shit everywhere.”
I asked some of my friends about homes they’d visited on a date and were disgusted by. Can you guess what men complained about the most? Cat hair and unclean litter-box smells. Fisch agrees that cat hair is a next-level problem. “There’s a difference between stuff and cat hair,” she says. So, wipe down your surfaces, clean your floors, do your laundry, and de-hair the sofa before you have anyone over.
Fisch also recommends “opening the windows and getting fresh air into the apartment. A lot of apartments smell stank.” For older buildings where you can’t open the windows, she suggests turning on the fan in the bathroom or flicking on the vent over your stove to suck the stale air out of your space.
A helpful question you can ask yourself when deciding if your home is date-night ready is: Could I bring a newborn baby here? Fisch uses the bathroom sink as an example. If you’d be hesitant to sit your baby in the sink because it’s covered in grime, it’s time to get out the Lysol wipes.
Don’t blow it in the bedroom.
If you and your date end up heading to your bedroom, you don’t want them to be turned off at the last minute by what they find there. Nonnahs Driskill, an LA-area organizer with nearly 20 years of experience, has a spin on the Marie Kondo does-it-spark-joy question for your bedroom: Does the space align with your relationship goals?
“What feelings do you want to feel in there?” she asks. “Calm? Relaxed? Special? Sexy? Present? Think of your list and ask yourself if each object in your bedroom is contributing to those feelings. If an item doesn’t fit the bill, put it away or get rid of it.”
When you’re doing a final sweep of your bedroom, Driskill says these five things have got to go:
1. Pictures of your parents. “The same applies to photos of other authority figures in your life. Anyone you wouldn’t make out in front of should not be staring at you in the bedroom, even from behind a frame.”
2. Work stuff. “If there’s anything in the bedroom which reminds you of work, you are going to be thinking about work whether you mean to or not.”
3. Toys and kid gear. “This is where you do grown-up stuff and think grown-up thoughts. No Legos allowed!”
4. Bedside clutter. “Clear items from your bedside table that do not say sexy time — used tissues, meds, self-help books, etc.”
5. Odors. “Friends, I don’t even want to go in to what this category could contain. If it stinks or looks disgusting, handle it!”
For bonus points, Driskill suggests going beyond cleaning to actually setting the mood with candles and your sexiest Spotify playlists.
Keep it clean.
This advice can go a long way toward making guests in your home feel confident in their decision to come over and get naked with you. Not to mention, keeping a clean home means you won’t be more focused on the state of your sheets than on the person who’s between them with you.