Sage Tidbits of Cleaning Advice I Learned from the Shakers

Sage Tidbits of Cleaning Advice I Learned from the Shakers

Dabney Frake
Jun 24, 2017

Shakers believed that cleanliness was next to Godliness, and focused on creating efficient living and work spaces that were easy to maintain. What can we learn from these paragons of order and tidiness? Here are a few tiny takeaways...

(Image credit: House & Home)

Simplicity Breeds Cleanliness

Shakers didn’t even hang artwork on the wall — not for aesthetic reasons, but so they wouldn’t have to dust the frames. No one says that you can’t have family photos or books around— just know that it is a trade off. The more stuff that is displayed, the more time you’ll spend cleaning it. Above, a modern Shaker-style kitchen from House & Home that's warm yet simple.

(Image credit: Plain English)

Store Items by Hanging Them Upside Down

Hang chairs on pegs upside down so the dust doesn't gather on the seat. You can apply the same idea to glasses and other items you don’t use often, especially if you have open shelving in the kitchen. Above, a no-frills British Standard kitchen from Plain English has classic Shaker pegs for storage above countertops.

(Image credit: Phoebe Troyer)

Reduce Surface Areas

Built-ins that are flush with the wall not only look sharp, but don't have a surface that gathers dust. If it doesn't have a top, that means you don't have to clean it. Above, storage in Phoebe Troyer's Ohio Farmhouse, as seen on Decorator's Notebook.

(Image credit: Rafe Churchill)

Choose Furniture That's Easy

It’s no coincidence that Shaker-style furniture designs are pared down with simple lines and shapes. Light furniture is easier to move to clean behind, and narrow legs make it easier to sweep or mop around. This isn’t the case with bulky pieces that stay in one spot once you set them in place. Above, the airy bedroom furniture in this modern farmhouse designed by Rafe Churchill makes it easy to sweep.

Re-edited from a post originally published 6.11.15-nt
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