7 years ago by

I’ve always had a kind of boyish side when it comes to household chores. You know, I’m the messiest, least organized person on the planet, and plus, I’m way too important of a person to pick up after myself.

And of course, I figured out pretty quickly that if I skipped buying a pair of shoes, I could pay for a house cleaner, and my life is forever changed. It’s such a luxury for me.

There’s nothing better.

But other than that miracle, everything about my domestic life has always been approximative at best, which makes my sister, mother (and even my father and neighbors) throw their hands in the air in disbelief because they’re true domestic angels and can’t stand a mess or even a speck of dust, while I can leave a pair of shoes in the middle of the stairs for a week and be fine going around them.

You might think I’m the type to be happy to just live in my messiness, but not at all.

I love fresh sheets, sparkling clean windows, and orderly homes just as much as anyone.

And just like everyone, having everything in place makes me feel like life is beautiful and organized, and it helps me think. But even so…

I’ve always justified my messiness as being due to exterior circumstances. The apartments in New York were too small, I didn’t have enough time. I had too many clothes because I work in fashion, not enough storage, etc. etc. I’d have an empty fridge, then good intentions to cook, only to end up with food going bad in the fridge. The freezer was too small!!! And I spent too much time in restaurants because New York life was too busy, too hard. Plus it was too complicated to get groceries in New York, anyway. Better just order something. It’s cheaper, easier.

Then the dirty laundry would pile up, then it would get left in the machine because “who has the time to think about the washing machine, seriously.”

My life was paved with excuses and justifications, but deep down I knew: I was just super messy. I don’t know where it comes from, since I’m from a family of neat freaks, but I’m going to try to do a brilliant psychoanalysis, just for you:

I was different from my family. I was an intellectual. Not attached to material things. I didn’t want to waste my time with common tasks. Plus, I hate the smell of bleach.

And then suddenly, I found myself with no more excuses.

Here I am in my big, light-filled house, unpacking boxes, and I have no more excuses. I open the door to my big fridge, and I have no more excuses. I have cabinets and storage everywhere, a house where it’s super easy to put things away, recycling bins, an oven and a stove of dreams. I’ve got an organic market four minutes away by bike. And I’m wondering which magical food processor I’m going to buy for myself. And Whole Foods can deliver groceries within an hour. No more excuses.

I’d go as far as saying, for the first time, I’m starting to enjoy being domestic.

And I’m not the only one. Just ask Chris what he’s making in the garage.

He’s building shelves. The two of us who were still partying in dimly lit clubs in New York a few months ago, now we’ve turned into Bree Van de Kamp. “Shall we go get groceries, my love?” “Yes, honey, just five more minutes while I finish hammering in these nails!”

Okay, maybe we’re not quite that bad yet.

But there are a few signs that can’t be ignored.

1. I’m picking out my future washing machine as if my life depends on it. I’m lucky to have a laundry room in my house and it gives me a pretty amazing feeling of being successful at life.

2. I’ve become very passionate about the rules of recycling. Without going into detail, it was a huge pain to recycle in New York, but now I have three big containers and everything is really clearly marked. So I finally feel like a model citizen, whereas before I was constantly feeling guilty about the recyclable things I wasn’t recycling because it was too complicated.

3. I put things away now. My clothes, my beauty products, my fridge, and it’s all categorized.

My goal is for everything to have its place. No more items left lying around just because there’s no place to put them. Like, we respect our things!!!

4. All of that has slowed me WAY down when it comes to buying new things. I seriously feel like having a rule where if I buy new clothes, I have to get rid of something else. OK, I’LL NEVER MANAGE TO DO THAT, but hey, I still haven’t read Marie Kondo, so who knows, anything could happen.

5. Aaaah my fridge. All you Bree Van de Kamps in the audience, you probably know the feeling of satisfaction that comes over you when your fridge is super organized and clean, filled with glass containers so you know exactly what’s in all of them, and carefully washed vegetables just waiting to be chopped up and prepared. It’s basically the same feeling you get when you go into The Row and suddenly life makes sense. Now, I GET IT.

6. Okay, so I decided to try something new, and it’s so great. As soon as I come home from the market, I wash everything, and hold on, because this level of domesticity is going to blow your mind: I prepare whatever is preparable right away. Rice, steamed veggies, hard boiled eggs…I spend a few hours in the kitchen and I get everything done all at once, which saves me SO much time the rest of the week, when I don’t have time to wait 45 minutes for my wild rice to cook.

7. Of course, I’ve replaced all my plastic Tupperware with glass Tupperware, OBVIOUSLY. Because all the self-respecting housewives (like me) say you should avoid plastic as much as possible, since it’s really bad for your health (it messes up your hormones) and it pollutes the oceans.

8. I take my own bags to the market, like a perfect woman, by the way. And to the supermarket.

No more plastic. Well, a minimum, at least.

9. I had a water filter installed, and it’s totally changed my life. Having good water at home (the water in LA really isn’t great) also means…no more plastic bottles.

10. So now, like a good girl (well, like everyone these days) I always have my own water bottle with me. Or sometimes I fill it with tea. Green tea. OBVIOUSLY.

11. I freeze my fruit as soon as they start looking tired. Eating organic is super important, and we’ll talk more about that, but it’s true you have to eat your fruit quickly before it goes bad. Or, if you’re Bree Van de Kamp like me, and you’re smart, you’ll wash them, cut them into chunks and put them into your beautifully clean freezer to eat later.

12. I planted some herbs, and that’s just the beginning. I want herbs for cooking and I also want to plant fruit trees. Having an avocado tree in your garden is a domestic dream that would make all the food bloggers on the west coast seethe with envy.

13. I try not to go to bed unless my kitchen is totally clean. As I said before, I’m the queen of doing things halfway. If there’s a bowl sitting out, I won’t even see it. I remember I had a boyfriend who seriously couldn’t even sleep if his apartment wasn’t perfectly clean. I doubt I have to tell you, Chris and I are not like that.

14. And as for YOU, PILE OF THINGS IN THAT SPOT WHERE YOU DROP YOUR KEYS WHEN YOU GET HOME. YOU, THAT CATCH-ALL TRANSFORMING INTO A MONSTROUS MESS OF USELESS THINGS (mail, keys, matches, business cards from people you don’t remember, unidentified objects, old iPhone you’re not using anymore, but don’t want to throw away). YEAH, YOU. I promise I’ll get you one day. I don’t know how, but I will.

Anyway, I’m slowly discovering this new way of life, and learning to behave, a little tiny bit, like an adult…

And for the first time in my life, I appreciate it. I’m saving time, I’m eating better, my mind feels clear, I’m discovering the benefits of being organized. And sure, there’s still a looooong way to go before I’ll be as organized as my sister or my mother (especially my sister who has an art of living that would make BVDK shudder, and she still manages to be cool & well-dressed, making it all look effortless and chic). And there’s still a looooooong way to go before I don’t get that weird twinge in my stomach when I think I’ve given in and become domestic and boring, and ready to get married haha. Bleh!!!

Do you have any housekeeping tips to give me? ;)

Translated by Andrea Perdue


Add yours
  • Ooooh tu me fais peur !
    Mais quel vent souffle là-bas pour que tu deviennes parfaite comme ça !?

    Bravo ! Sans aucun doute c’est toi qui es dans le juste ! Et ranger vaut largement une séance de méditation , c’est très apaisant !

  • Caroline May, 23 2017, 10:02 / Reply

    Salut Garance,

    Je ne veux pas te décourager, mais… ça te passera. Tu es dans la joie et l’excitation de la nouveauté mais, crois-moi, d’ici quelques mois ou années, tu redeviendras bordélique. Et pourquoi pas? Quand on voit le temps que les gens organisés prennent à gérer leur intérieur, on se dit tout de même qu’on pourrait mieux utiliser ce temps ailleurs, non?

  • Et si on laissait un peu les gens faire ce qu’ils ont envie de faire plutôt que de passer notre temps à déblatérer nos jugements de valeurs ?
    Autant je partage l’avis de certaines lectrices mal à l’aise vis à vis de l’angle un peu trop genré de l’article autant je trouve votre remarque un peu puérile et ras des paquerettes. C’est quand même dingue qu’en 2017 on en soit encore à se coller des étiquettes comme ça. Donc un bordélique est un créatif, un “artiste” un peu inconséquent et éloigné des responsabilités de la vie d’adulte et une personne qui range son intérieur est un control freak qui ne fait rien d’autre que traquer la moindre poussière et remettre le tapis en place (probablement un comptable tant qu’on y est, non ?). Je fais un métier créatif, je fais du sport, je bois des verres en terrasse, je glande devant netflix, je déteste organiser le moindre voyage, je ne m’occupe jamais des papiers administratifs, j’ignore le solde de mon compte en banque et pourtant figurez vous que ma maison (que je partage avec mon mec prof, lunaire, bordélique et extrêmement bon en organisation et gestion administrative) est super propre et ordonnée. Et pour finir, bien que je ne sois pas un échantillon suffisamment représentatif, j’ai longtemps été très très bordélique, avec le même genre d’excuses que Garance. Comme quoi les gens changent, c’est fou, non ? Mais bon, que voulez-vous, les clichés ont la peau dure… surtout quand ils nous servent d’alibi, n’est-ce pas ;) ?

  • Evidemment que j’ai lu Marie Kondo et tu me fais penser à elle là. Elle est un peu fofolle par moment mais son truc marche – chez moi.

  • Gaëlle Dubar May, 23 2017, 10:15 / Reply

    Garance, ce que tu ressens est parfaitement décrit dans le livre “Le cœur à l’ouvrage” du sociologue Jean Claude Kaufmann. Ce qui nous pousse à faire le ménage, le sentiment de bien être qui en découle, la ronde des objets dans la maison, la peur d’être jugé, la difficulté de déléguer (pour certaines !)

  • Alexandra May, 23 2017, 10:28 / Reply

    Petites pistes à étudier …

    1) Dès que l’on prend quelque chose, on le range de suite après son utilisation.
    2) Que la vaisselle et le lit soient faits le matin avant de partir au boulot. De suite ça donne l’aspect “maison rangée”.
    3) Un truc acheté = un truc donné à une association.
    4) Si un objet n’a pas été utilisé depuis un an, il y a peu de chance qu’il serve la suivante. Alors on le donne.
    5) la plus importante : ne jamais oooooooooh grand jamais se lancer dans un samedi “nettoyage complet de la maison”. Plutôt nettoyer un petit coin de la maison chaque jour (par exemple, ranger le bureau en bordel le lundi, changer les draps du lit le mardi).

  • Janette May, 23 2017, 10:28 / Reply

    Thank you for being so real about organization! I wish I had tips to give you, but I am behind and will be using your tips just to break even, haha. The illustration is beautiful (any chance you can add it to the Store?)

  • So loving Garance in California! You should look at Marie Kondo. She’s the opposite of the scolding, get it all perfect type of organizer. Everything she does comes from a place of pleasure and usefulness–very much like your post today.

  • I am no domestic goddess myself. I would love to delegate all the cleaning as I don’t enjoy it at all! :)

    That said, I do think that everything at home is better and easier if you have a certain place for everything and if you always (well, mostly) put things in their right place.

    I think that the biggest and most difficult part of cleaning is putting things to their right places or finding places for them.

  • Sunny Side May, 23 2017, 10:41 / Reply

    Garde une pièce bordélique, ton atelier par exemple. Indispensable comme de respirer. C’est pas possible de devenir aussi parfaita ! Ou alors un coin bordélique ds ton atelier. Comme ds les jardins anglais qui s’éclatent et brrr jardin à la française joli et presque ennuyeux. Pense surtout au feng shui, pas d’arête, ne tourne pas le dos à la porte dans l’endroit où tu travailles etc … et lâche tes cheveux, tu refais la queue de rat !

  • Salut Garance,

    moi ça me faisait ça quand je vivais seule, je faisais mes courses régulièrement, j’avais toujours du linge propre, et depuis que je vis avec mon mec qui est un vrai bordélique mais un mec génial c’est la catha, linge pas propre (j’ai lavé une paire de socket fine ce matin en speed que j’ai ensuite séché au sèche cheveux) il a déteint sur moi ou alors jai pas la force de ranger pour deux. Toi tas la vie de Brie Van de Camp moi j’ai la vie de Mcgyver, c’est pas pareil mais bon la tienne a l’air plus fraiche et sympa :) Bonne journée c’est toujours un plaisir de te lire <3

  • I was the same way! It was only when we bought a home that I truly became domestic. I think it’s because when you own something beautiful, you want to take good care of it. Which I think goes for a lot of things in life.

  • It’s true that investing a bit of time can have big payoffs, whether it’s prepping food for later or exercising. But I sometimes feel like Instagram and blogs and Pinterest have created this pressure/expectation of Domestic Perfection that is way more work than I am willing to put in. I know people who do it and who enjoy it. But I am far more interested in my work and in keeping up with my kid. I don’t have time for everything to be perfect. It’s pretty, it’s mostly neat and hygienic. But it isn’t styled for Instagram. And I don’t care.

  • Tip: Clean as you go. Constant little cleans go a long way.

    Also, reconsider washing all your veg right away. They will go bad faster that way. After lots of trial and error, I’ve discovered the best way to store greens–and probably many other things–is to press out as much air as you can and seal it, sort of mimicking the way it comes packaged in the store before you open it. Herbs too. I cook a lot and we live far from a grocery store, so I’ve learned this over the years.

    Make your bed every day.

    Even if you do dishes in the morning, prep them at night: set cutlery and whatever else needs it to soak overnight, and organize the dishes on the counter. Easy to wash in the morning.

  • Merci! Je suis bordelique et j’ai toujours l’impression que c’est quelque chose qu’on devrait combattre et dont on devrait avoir honte. Bon j’avoue que j’aimerai avoir une femme de menage (pas possible en ce moment) et que j’aime pas quand des amis passent a l’improviste les jours ou vraiment il est temps de ranger… Notre maison n’est pas “sale” ou si en bordel que ca mais c’est vrai que BVDK ne s’y sentirai pas chez elle.
    Ca ne m’empeche pas de manger sain, d’avoir un potager et d’aimer faire de menage de temps en temps. Je suis juste incapable d’etre esclave de mon interieur.
    Et puis j’ai lu quelque part que savoir laisser les choses un peu en bordel, et savoir faire la part des choses et ne pas stresser au moindre grain de poussiere etait un signe d’intelligence et de creativite.
    J’espere pour toi que ce durera, mais ici une fois l’aspect “nouvelle maison” passe la nature est revenue au galot

  • You sound so happy, it’s delightful to hear. I dream of having a house with enough storage and open space. I have read Kondo’s book and she has some wonderful insights, my favorite is how to decide if you should get rid of something. You must hold it and if you feel a spark of joy it’s a keeper, if not it goes out the door. My only tip is to enjoy being present and if you don’t feel like cleaning, just enjoy the beautiful mess : )

  • Thenaisy May, 23 2017, 11:38 / Reply

    Coucou votre news vie vous a transformée super vous devez vous sentir tte légère ! Le désordre encombre la esprit et les espaces ! Moi je suis très organisée et une maison tjs nickel et que ce agréable de rentrer après une journée de w et de retrouver cet espace propre cela a un côté très apaisant ! Le fait de vivre dans un endroit où le soleil brille tt les jours l océan à perte de vue donne envie de respecter tt cela et permet de avoir une vie agréable ! Bonne continuation Kiss

  • I just cleared out some very sad items from my fridge before reading this and I laugh because I am in the same boat. I absolutely love a sparse space with shiny surfaces, floors and where there is a place for everything. However, you can often see that my priorities are elsewhere (hi dishes, things to sort and half folded laundry…). Our busy and rushed lives can leave a trail or explosion of things left out around us. I think you’re on the right track by making more time for yourself when you can and taking care of things that your future self will thank you for it. Respecting what you bring into the home is respecting the environment and your enjoyment of them. Life should not be a blur with a constant list of things to remember to do. We need to find that balance where time allows us to responsibly taken care of things while giving us the freedom to drop everything and head out to enjoy the beach on a beautiful day or the sudden but welcome rainfall… To taking care of things when we can rather than “later” so that we can really enjoy the “right nows”! :)

  • Ce post me rappelle une reflexion de ma belle-mere, peu de temps apres mon marriage, car a son grand desarroi, elle a constate que je n’etais pas la femme parfaite qu’elle desirait pour son fils. Elle m’a dit :”tu n’es pas une femme d’interieur….”, ce a quoi j’ai repondu:”non, je suis une femme d’exterieur….”Au fil des annees, j’ai “lache prise”, c’est a dire, pas d’acharnement inutile, la maison est rangee, la vaisselle ne traine pas dans l’evier et le lit est fait tous les jours, mais les coins………. :-)))

  • Uh, dont wash the veg or fruits until just before you use them.

  • chloé May, 23 2017, 12:12 / Reply

    bonjour Garance, lire ton témoignage me mets mal à l’aise. J’ai l’impression que tu parles de la maison bien rangée comme le but, l’aboutissement de la vie d’une femme, ce vers quoi on devrait toutes aller. J’imagine bien que ce n’est pas là le fond de ta pensée mais ton texte est vraiment très genré. Dés les premières lignes, tu dis que tu es “garçon manqué”, comme si l’ordre était réservé aux filles et que les garçons étaient tous bien plus détachés. Je trouve cela dommage d’entretenir des images figées. Si ta nature est bordélique, qu’il en soit ainsi, sauf si ça gêne les personnes autour de toi qui demandent quelques compromis. Si en ce moment tu as envie de tout ranger, et bien qu’il en soit ainsi également. Si ça retombe, ça ne sera pas “un échec”, et si ça continue, pas non plus “une réussite”. Lire dans les commentaires tous les “bravo !!!” de femmes, je trouve cela d’un autre temps. Peut-on, spécialement nous les filles, être libres de s’occuper ou pas de la vie domestique sans qu’on en fasse l’un de nos devoirs ?

  • Fracol May, 24 2017, 8:58

    Oh !!!! Enfin !!! Je suis tellement d’accord. merci Chloé !

  • Florence May, 24 2017, 5:27

    Je lis régulièrement tes posts avec grand plaisir, mais là je m’interroge…ça frise l’édito de “Femme Actuelle” un petit peu… non? – c’est dit avec tendresse :)… Je suis une vraie fille – pas un garçon manquée – et dans ma famille aucune femme n’aime ni faire le ménage ni vivre dans le bazar, ni n’a jamais été intéressé par le sujet …Certainement le fond de ta pensée est de partager avec nous la joie de vivre dans un nouveau lieu qui te parle, mais comme d’autres le sujet me met mal à l’aise car je le sens décalé :)

  • Marie Kondo, Marie Kondo , Marie Kondo ! Dixit le bouquin, si tu le trouve pas … les vidéos suffisent … et puis OUI elle a changer ma vie … je suis une grande bordélique qui maintenant range même les armoires de tout le monde ( enfin presque… ) :D

  • CeeBee May, 23 2017, 12:21 / Reply

    You sound happy and that’s the most important thing. A couple of tips from a working girl who does love to eat well and not waste time. Do NOT wash veggies and fruits in advance or they’ll go bad much faster. Get a dehydrator and your domestic life will thank you. Especially when you find something you love at the farmers market: wash it, cut it, lay it out on the racks and let the dehydrator do its job while you’re doing something else. Dehydrated tomatoes are incredible!

  • Tu es trop parfaite, ça me flippe!
    Non, tant pis, je ne serai jamais comme ça, et le vide poche continuera à se remplir…
    Allez, si, je fait un qui rentre = un qui sort pour les vêtements, ou presque, enfin, j’essaie quoi, et c’est un vrai soulagement, parce que je réfléchis davantage avant d’acheter. Des fois, je craque, mais moins.
    En revanche, j’ai toujours aimé cuisiner et mes parents ont toujours eu un jardin, donc j’achète tout au marché de producteurs locaux. Et depuis que j’ai un thermomix, je cuisine même les trucs que je jetais avant (fanes de radis par exemple, ou cosses des petits pois)!
    Si j’avais un jardin, j’aurais un lombricompost aussi. C’est le truc ultime pour recycler encore plus!

  • Georgiana Alavanja May, 23 2017, 12:42 / Reply

    White vinegar! A little in the hot water bucket to wash your floors, a little in your wash where the fabric softener goes (black clothes stay black longer, colors stay vibrant), soak veggies and fruit in 1/2 vinegar and water (they last longer!)(but rinse with plain water after!), and spray in your hair before shampooing in case of dandruff (but before you shave your legs! I’ve made that mistake and it’s painful!).

    It’s magical.

    Have fun picking out new laundry machines!

  • How is Miss Loulou …love seeing her pics too…

  • Juliette May, 23 2017, 2:06 / Reply

    Je suis moi-même bordélique, et j’aspire à ce genre de perfectitude, MAIS… Pourquoi être bordélique est pour toi synonyme de garçon ?? Les filles ont le rangement et le ménage dans le sang peut-être ? ou alors une fille qui ne range pas est une fille mal éduquée ? Je m’interroge…

  • Hello Garance,

    I can relate to all of this, as I realized years ago my shopping had to do with a kind of lack of balance where “value” and meaning should be developed. This realization that cleaning my own environment(but this does not imply professional help is both required and essential to figure out effectivity,) was a big part of my therapy. A throw back, I realize having less and taking care is very helpful to me. It was a weird thing to change—even if you think its for the better, their is some fear of ego that holds you together could crumble before your life! I am no minimalist. It is positive to realize that other people’s ways may not fit for you. I shop and collect and find I need the flow of in and out, variety is my spice of life; however maintenance was a KEY into digesting my life and memory. With awareness came guilt, and weirdly; I am learning to take a moment to ask how I am—-and I may not know the answer, but its worth asking. I hear in you in the odd feeeling of changing and if its possible or positive—-its super surreal to change—-Good Luck, this post is interesting, its also okay to be messy. I had a roommate say to me once that the “look” of organization means nothing is used, embraced or shared; and that order goes together with “asshole.” This can be true! Being messy can be generous and we all have to change for the better! Cheers to changes and awareness towards betterment!

  • Mmmm yes an Avocado Tree in the backyard would be a dream come tru!

  • Et dire que je rêverais d’être plus bordélique… que j’apparente à une grande capacité de lâcher-prise/d’adaptation et une bonne souplesse d’esprit.

    Autant la poussière je m’en bats le coquelicot, autant la serpillière est une priorité dans ma vie :)

    Bon, sinon, conseils de BVDK:
    1) Partir au marché avec ses tupperware (alors oui, avec ceux en verre qui pèsent plus lourd, tu peux revenir avec du fromage zéro déchet ET un lumbago) et demander au marchand qu’il tare ta nourriture avec tes tup”.

    2) J’ai découvert ça, c’est absolument génial: le wrap en cire d’abeille. Hyper simple à faire (planifier une heure devant soi pour découpe du tissu et cuisson au four). Et surtout mille fois plus écolo et pratique que du cellophane pour emballer tout: légumes entamés, restes de plat, sandwichs pour pique-nique. Et en prime, mmmh, ça sent bon la cire d’abeille.

    3) Le compost! Quoi?!? Tu n’y as pas pensé??? A L.A? C’est trop branché d’avoir son compost! C’est pas Bree qui te dira le contraire.

    4) Pour les conseils organisation, j’en ai pas, je fais comme toi, cuisiner mes petits plats de la semaine en avance et quand j’ai un créneau et quand j’en ai envie. Et pas de prise de tête les soirs de semaine…

    5) Avoir tous les bocaux en verre à portée de main: épices, farines différentes (très bien pour découvrir de nouvelles saveurs), céréales (sarrasin, riz, quinoa..).

    6) Kiffer sa maison, et y mettre plein de plantes

    Bon rangement Garance (dans ta maison et dans la vie hinhin ;-)

  • Best tip for a starting domestic Godess- don’t scare your man away with perfect house & never vacume clean when he is at home?

  • This me, seriously, this me the was, is, wants to be me. And that pile by the door is the absolute worst. I have kids and so there often bits of cracker or a lone sock there too. But honestly I cannot blame the children, I have always been like this and am always striving to be better house trained.
    And I’m getting there…slooooowly!
    So I’m watching the tips with curiosity.
    But I know this – since I stopped buying as much stuff the problem decreased :)

  • It’s funny because here in Paris I feel like nobody ever uses their apartments. It seems like they are hiding something from the rest of the world and everyone just meets at cafés to hide the fact that they aren’t domestic. I love both. I can’t wait to have people over my place. I feel like our friendship is not official until I cook for them.

  • “If a cluttered desk is a sign of a cluttered mind, of what, then, is an empty desk a sign?”
    Rock n roll!

  • Murielle May, 23 2017, 7:02 / Reply

    Je crois que c’est parce que tu as enfin trouvé une maison où tu te sens bien et heureuse.
    Tu pourrais nous faire un article avec les bons conseils de ta soeur pour être au top dans le ménage.

  • Garance thank you. I love your work. I notice that much of your posts are ‘translated by…’ please consider also publishing the french version behind a link. There are squillions of anglophones who are studying the french language. And we would love to be able to click through to the french and read the English to see what we missed.
    Our Francophile audience would love this. Any chance?

  • Natalie May, 24 2017, 9:56

    Hi Judy, all of our posts, including Garance’s diary’s, are published in both English and French! In the top right corner of our site, you can toggle between the two languages. Hope this helps clarify! x Natalie

  • Jorge Alexandre Teixeira May, 24 2017, 2:56 / Reply

    Women these days tsss tsss tsss… *_*!!!
    And it might seem ridiculous but i use baby wipes to clean everything , Kitchen Countertop, floor, bathroom …as for the windows , newspaper pages ,instead of the usual cleaning cloth, nothing can tops that , guaranteed!!!

  • Ai-Ch'ng May, 24 2017, 3:12 / Reply

    My sisiter-in-law once told me, “Everything has a home”, as she very kindly sorted out the dreadful pigsty of cosmetics and cleansers and myriad knick-knacks shoved into my bathroom drawers and under-basin cupboards and mirrored cabinets.

    When we finally moved into our own place (I think that’s the trick – you move out, and you suddenly get exhausted by all the baggage that you’ve hoarded over the months/years (in my case), that you throw it all out, just so you can have a clear physical space to help maintain our clarity of thought), I keep strictly to the, “one thing in, one thing out” rule I learnt from you, Garance, in one of your very early posts.

    I like everything out of sight – it makes for much easier cleaning (I’m not a freak for cleaning, but I am a clean freak). I used to also be notoriously late for everything, because I would misplace my keys/wallet/mobile/jewellery/entire handbag in my strewn-about mess. So, now, the only things on display in our home are some beautiful bronze statues we bought on our travels, and about three large, detailed Chinese and Vietnamese porcelain items we bought whilst away. The study/library is where we have the most items on display – a few family photos , some artwork my son made, and our hundreds of books (I am not into online reading fro books) on the full-height, open (so we can see everything we have) shelves.

    Storage wise, we have a few antique Chinese and sideboards that we bought, instead of doing built-in storage in the living areas and in our bedrooms (save for the actual built-in cupboards for our clothes) and laundry and kitchen. Our keys and wallets and winter gloves all go in that first drawer of the sideboard closest to the door we use most (I once read you should keep that kind of thing there, and not in your bedroom, so thieves just take your wallet and leave, hopefully without ransacking the rest of the place since you’ve not kept anything else of monetary value near you). We have more drawers than shelf space (except for all the books we have), because it’s easier on my back in the kitchen and laundry than cupboards that you must reach into.

    And, in the bathroom, no below-sink cabinets: everything fits into very shallow shelves (because deep shelves mean you double stack and then lose track of what you have – well, I do, anyway!) that stretch across the bathroom across the top of the basin, and one full-length, shallow mirrored cabinet that houses all the communal essentials (toilet paper, tissue boxes, girl-red-flag things, shampoo). There is nothing loose in our bathrooms, except for the towels and two glasses for drinking water at night. Everything is hidden away from moisture and dust collection, making cleaning for me so much faster and easier.

    My sister-in-law also taught me the value of having lots of identical, clear/see through, smaller boxes/pots to hold my things in – particularly for inside the bathroom. Wire containers form pencil holders, into which you can easily stand loose items, and also categories and see them super-easily, works well for me. Same sub-compartmentalisation for the drawers in my cupboards – large silk scarves in one clear plastic container, small silk squares in another, sports socks in another identical container, my belts (separated into chunky and thin) in another identical clear box.

    These are the other things that helped me become neater:

    1) Finding out where we tended to leave things, guided me as to where we should have our storage areas… so no dining room sideboard, since we never leave anything there, and instead, a large sideboard where we keep our incense, candles, Christmas tree felt decorations (they take next to no space, they store so flat), and our CD collection.

    2) Find what method of storage works best for you (we had tried a few options in our previous residence, so knew what worked for us by the time we shifted): open shelves; closed, free-standing sideboards; built-in only; clear containers; drawers only; no drawers; no under-sink cabinets; only under-sink cabinets; furniture that doubles as storage (those giant ottomans that have pull out drawers beneath!).

    3) For me, neatness was about creating the habit I hadn’t had for forty two years. Once you make it habitual to return things to the same place immediately (for me, immediacy is key: I am otherwise a terrible procrastinator of tidying), your place starts to remain neat. Remaining neat is – for me – a great feeling because it helps my mind remain focussed on what is important, makes cleaning so much faster, and I save time – Life, my father likes to remind me – locating my keys.

    I’ve never really thought about how to “be neat”… as a lifelong, untidy, “arty, imaginative” (my relatives used to kindly say) person for many years, it took me almost a year before I noticed I would put things away without it feeling forced. I’ve now been the neatest I’ve ever been, for six years now… but it took that first step six years ago of deciding, “Enough mess: I am forty two, I will be neat from now on”, then simply sticking to it.

    Neatness is definitely a habit anyone can acquire. For me, the time I save for being neat – the Life I save and can devote to actually living – is the greatest reward.

    Good luck with your new-found neatness: it’s a wonderful thing!

  • Jane with the noisy terrier May, 24 2017, 9:27 / Reply

    After a post-hurricane marsh rat invasion of my laundry room, I have stored everything from laundry pods to dog treats (even poop bags!) in large glass mason jars that I found at HomeGoods. (Have you been to HomeGoods yet? Ours here is fantastic – snagged some Jonathan Adler candles last trip — it’s become my drug of choice, especially for huge ceramic pots for my lemon and lime trees on the patio.) My pantry is lined with big square wicker baskets (with cute twine-tied labels) for pasta, crackers, snacks, light bulbs, etc. Finally, I keep a basket near the front door with Petey’s leash, extra bags, and a microfiber towel to wipe him down if it’s rainy or if he just walked through a puddle. Lifesaver!

  • Photos please! Of the categorized make-up, refrigerator and clothes. Inspire us! xoxo

  • I think small cleaning habits are the most useful for keeping a house clean — and having a realistic idea of how much time you will really invest per day or per week cleaning! Make something a cue for a certain action (this advice is a mash up of Marie Kondo and “The Power of Habit, btw). For example, when I come home (the cue) I put away everything I have with me, be it my purse, my lunch tupperware, shopping, etc. If I wait to put things away, it may not happen because I get sucked into other things.

    And for bigger cleaning things (besides tidying), I have an alternating schedule of what to clean when, to make it manageable (for me this is about 60-90 minutes of cleaning on the weekend–though I can’t wait till the day I can afford to pay someone to do this!). I try to stick to it, but don’t beat myself up too much if it can’t be done one week.

    Oh, also, last thing that you already mentioned: I am VERY picky about what I let in my home. I had to learn how to resist shiny new things that I won’t really use or will quit noticing in a month, and how to politely say no when people want to give you their old stuff! I can usually talk myself out of home or knickknack purchases by asking myself if I have a place for it, or if it is worth it to me to make a place for it. And if I haven’t used something in a couple of years (unless it is something truly special-purpose, like ski equipment), I probably won’t use it for the next couple of years, in which case it is not worth the real estate I’m giving it in my (teeny-tiny, with no storage space) home.

  • Sophie May, 24 2017, 11:36 / Reply

    Bon emménagement!
    Et simplement, j’ai tiqué à “J’ai toujours eu un côté un peu garçon avec les tâches ménagères.”
    Parce que c’est fille ou garçon, les tâches ménagères?

  • mariateresa May, 24 2017, 6:52 / Reply

    L’ho persa da un anno e tre mesi, la mia Mamma adorata, perfetta, che sapeva fare tutto, tenere la casa una meraviglia, cucinare benissimo, affrontare la vita con sapiente legggerezza, j’aimerai toujours ma grande très grande Maman!!!!!Et sans d’elle…c’est très très douloureuse, la vie!

  • Omg that is my life! But it is easier to be organized in a house than in an NYC apartment even one with storage.

    Enjoy your light and laundry room and freezer!

    I love the sweet home website for reviews of all things appliances and home related. I buy everything they recommend and have been v happy except when I want something super luxe- their picks tend to be in the inexpensive to reasonable investment category of $$.

  • I find it so weird you correlate being married to being domestic and organized. Lot of married people are unorganized and messy! A formal marriage doesn’t always organize everything in your life and make you boring! Sometimes your home mirrors what’s happening in your mind – and vs. versa!

    I too need some organization help – maybe you can write more with an expert to give tips and tricks?

    Having a place for everything, shredding paper regularly and e-scannning, as well as regularly decluttering clothes (1 in – 1 out) is helpful. Muji storage is also good! Good luck!

  • HappyLilly May, 25 2017, 4:33 / Reply

    Je lis cela et je me dis “mais tellement! Mais exactement!”. Nous avons quitté Paname pour la French Cali (Pays Basque) et “tout” à changé. Nous faisons même pousser des tomates, des fraises et des citronniers (mojitos et autres ti-punch!). Notre principal souci actuel est la lutte contre les limaces! C’est te dire notre bonheur. Nous avons même acheté une cabane “au fond du jardin” pour y ranger le bazar inesthétique; ça me fait le même effet que ta buanderie je dirais!
    Nous avons gagné en qualité de vie, en domesticité et c’est un bonheur! IL dit “on a pris un coup de vieux”! Je réponds “on s’est un peu embourgeoisés tu crois?”.
    Je ne sais pas si quelqu’un lira cela mais “par chez moi”, cette petite résurgence bordélique contre laquelle il ne faut pas lutter s’appelle “la drigaille”. J’adore ce mot! “Le tiroir à drigaille”, cet endroit constellé de clefs dont on a oublié quelle serrure elles ouvraient, de stylos qui n’écrivent plus, de pinces à cheveux et autres cartes de fidélité….” est un endroit qui doit absolument rester hors de portée de Marie Kondo. Sous peine d’ouvrir une immense faille dans l’Univers! ;)

  • When I became more organized I scared my guy, what happened to you, he asked, so I get it. Very funny read, and well you are in LA. You exchanged debauchery for clean and sunny and I think it is a great swap.

  • Really enjoyed this Garance! It really makes a huge difference when everything has got a designated space/spot. Saying that, I am working on my habits too…
    Quite interested to hear more about your sister’s organising habits, I seem to remember you mentioned this before in the past. If she lets you reveal :)

  • Hmm. I am currently still trying to tweak being more organized and here are some things that help:
    1) Before I buy something I ask myself if this thing is going to bring enough pleasure or value into my life that it is worth cleaning. This seems to help with not buying junk….I picture having to clean it and it turns me right off!
    2) Every night during the week I set a timer for 15 minutes and in that time try to return things/tidy up/dust either one room, or just return things to their proper places in general. 15 minutes is short enough to not be a burden, but long enough to do some good. I make it into a game, turn on some music, seeing how much I can neaten in that time and when it goes off, I stop. I find doing the little short spurts prevents having to spend too long on the weekend, which I resent. Also the secret to cleaning seems to be to keep on top of it in little steps this way….less work than if I did it all on one day on the weekend.
    3) I usaully just leave laundry to do on one day. Doing too much is wasteful with water, and I usually air dry (in a rack in my basement) most of my clothes which seems to make them last longer.

  • Stephanie May, 26 2017, 10:37 / Reply

    The next step is enjoying domesticity to the point that you don’t call yourself boring! I have four little ones and a house and I have to say I am seriously enjoying these early years at home with them, taking care of the house, get good at cooking, gardening (sometimes organizing ?). Life is good and it is real. The key for me was to see the beauty of a life that isn’t competing with the jet sets.

  • Murielle May, 26 2017, 7:21 / Reply

    Quite interested to hear more about your sister’s organising habits…

  • Hi Garance, I’m so happy for you! You’ve found a beautiful place in life. I can relate to exactly what you are saying and over the last 2 years, I have found organization as well. It is liberating. xoxoxo Mari

  • Charlotte May, 28 2017, 9:10 / Reply

    I love the idea of this article. However, I think it’s problematic to refer to household chores as something that can be either done in a boyish or girlish way. People tend to conflate messy, unorganised with masculinity – and the opposite as a female trait. The way we write about these topics helps build gender stereotypes. Household chores are a fundamental topic within the equality discourse. Time to pick up after ourselves.

  • You made me laugh! As a New York city dweller I am in that constant struggle of trying to declutter and live a simpler, healthier life! I guess LA does have that effect! Any tips for those of us still left on the other coast?

  • anne c May, 29 2017, 7:37 / Reply

    Je suis mdr. Super. Ca me donne envie de rentrer ranger… Encore lol et laver mon frigo, au passage… Et les boites en verre…humhum
    Nan mais allo quoi. Exactement les plaisirs de la domestication. Ou comment on finit par ressembler à nos mères. Vraiment pas un projet de vie à l’adolescence ?

  • Domestic Goddess …….in California it’s easy because houses stay quite clean of the black soot of the cities. Things dry fast and cleaning is no big deal when the sun is shining through the windows and you can see every spec of dust.
    *california has the best framer’s markets in America. Find your weekly farmer’s market, buy produce for a week, make friends with and chat to the farmers, get exotic things from the Sichuan greens stand, the Filipino veg stand, the organic meat stand, sustainable fish stand… etc….. markets are much cheaper than Whole Foods which has terrible fresh produce that tastes of nothing and is expensive. You will not only have more fun cooking but you will also feel that you have contributed to the community. As soon as you get home from the market put all your produce in paper bags, it will keep all week.
    *get a gallon of white vinegar from Safeways. Use it for cleaning all the house floors, counters, inside ovens and fridge. It’s very cheap and non toxic for you and the environment.
    *use Meyers cleaning product for washing clothes, dishes and other surfaces like bathrooms or glass windows. It smells incredible and you will want to clean and clean because of the fragrance. Also the bottles look so good you can leave them out.
    *get a clothes line and dry your laundry outside in the sun. Sheets and towels will be crispy white and smell of sunshine. I dry everything outside, have never used a dryer in my life. Your clothes will thank you, your electrical bill too. Also, in Ayurvedic medicine they say that clothes dried in the sunshine get full of energy form the rays.
    *never use fabric softener, it coats the fabrics with a slimy synthetic coating that makes your retain dirt dirt, like using too much conditioner in your hair.
    *clean a bit each day. Cleaning kitchen counters and bathroom counters takes 5 mins and you can do it while on the phone. Another day hoover and mop floors ( with vinegar and warm water) Another day do laundry etc…..that way you do not flip out and it becomes very manageable.
    *Use the green composting garbage bin provided with your other 2 bins. If you don’t have one, ask for one. Throw all your food waste in there…..peels, dead flowers, egg shells etc


  • Melissa June, 5 2017, 7:57 / Reply

    C’est marrant, avant je n’étais pas spécialement bordélique mais je n’attachais pas beaucoup d’importance aux choses de ma maison. Et puis, il y a eu l’ACHAT. L’appartement que nous avons acheté. Cela a profondément changé mon rapport à la maison. D’abord cela “m’a ancrée”. Je l’ignorais à l’époque mais j’en avais besoin.
    D’autre part, être propriétaire de mon appartement était très important pour moi, une forme d’accomplissement, de protection. Je trouvais enfin ma place dans une lignée familiale “hors norme”, des choix de vie pro et perso mouvementés.
    Pour faire court, par cet achat, j’ai acquis une sérénité, MA structure s’est organisée, l’organisation de ma maison s’en est trouvée fluidifiée. J’ai trouvé ma place. Sans avoir à y réfléchir, du coup les objets ont trouvé leurs places dans ma maison. Une harmonie.
    Il ne reste plus qu’à fêter la pendaison de crémaillère maintenant…

  • Le Tarot des Filles June, 8 2017, 6:57 / Reply

    Bah, chez moi c’est le bordel avec un mari qui ne jette rien et trois ados…
    Du coup j’ai deux femmes de ménage .
    Je ne sais même pas ou sont rangées les serpillières alors des conseils …?

  • Garmence July, 11 2017, 10:29 / Reply

    Hahaha j’arrive apres la bataille mais j’ai l’impression de me lire!
    je me dis ca et je m’y mets a chaque demenagement.
    La je bouge d’un appart definitevement trop petit a enfin mon dream flat de domestic goddess et j’ai deja achete tous mes tupperware! Je croise les doigts pour que ca dure, enfin surtout mon mari!!!

  • My best tip:

    Own lesser things = easier to clean/manage

    I’m still trying to sell of many of stuff I used to own :)

  • Oui, yes my comment is get married, if aren’t already Garance. It will solidify your life, and why not have a baby? You may regret it when you’re 80 if you have no children! xo from CA

  • Not everyone can just “have a baby”, in fact Garance has written about her infertility struggles. It pains me to see this advice given so thoughtlessly.

  • There is something so satisfying about a clean home and everything in its place – I too am a messy-person convert :)

    I love your idea of preparing everything after getting it from the grocery store and am going to incorporate that – it makes a ritual, a simple routine out of a chore I already enjoy instead of dumping it all into the (mini-)fridge and looking at it ravenously when I’m hungry later.

    A housekeeping tip I love – when your microwave gets grimy (or just when it is particularly stinky), put water in a microwaveable bowl with a few squirts of dishwashing soap and a few drops of lemon essential oil. Put it in the microwave for 2 minutes then viola! Your microwave is clean (you can scrub it down some more if you like) and it smells lovely again (just don’t overdo it on the essential oils, 1-2 drops is enough!)

  • Love this…It all comes down to chasing the little things that give you a “feeling.”


    Tip #1 – make the bed every morning…a little “good bye to bed – hello day” plus it looks so inviting when you get home.

    Tip #2 – Straighten the kitchen…empty the sink…Fill the dishwasher and turn it on the last thing before you go to bed. Inexplicable peaceful happy feeling to come into a clear kitchen in the morning to make coffee…

    Tip #3 – Find a housekeeper you LOVE who gets what makes you happy. Lola knows me (and my husband) better than we know ourselves. She presses our bed sheets and (securing her endless employment…) my husband’s boxer shorts.

    Meanwhile…I still struggle with shoes. In original boxes is too motley. Plastic you can’t always see them. All on shelves they start to eat your closet…. No peace to be found (sigh.)

  • Cher G,

    Under no circumstance, do not get a housekeeper! Do it yourself! Why? This will de-strees, calm and relax you. It’s mindless, and puts your energy at ease. Perhaps, a cleaning person once a month for a deep clean. Other than that, do it yourself and feel the sense of ownership and peace.

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