I absolutely love living on a farm and wouldn't change it for anything, however, there are some, shall we say, struggles that come with living somewhere that seems to manufacture mud, flies, and, dare I say, poop. All of the above will end up in your home at one point or another so it's best to try to prepare yourself for these challenges. Here are some common problems you will need to deal with when trying to keep your farmhouse clean (or at least resembling something like "clean").
Here in Northeast Ohio, we have two "mud" seasons, spring and fall. Where we are specifically gets a lot of snow compared to the surrounding areas so in both the spring and fall we have to deal with "would-be snow" that turns to rain as the weather transitions between above and below freezing. We also have to battle with large amounts of snow that can melt in as little as a day when we get an unexpected warm spell. All of this adds up to one thing, mud, and a lot of it. We have 3 entrances into our home, the front door off of the front porch which leads you into a small runner area rug and basically right into the living room, the back door which leads you right into the small laundry room, and a walkout basement door that leads you into an unfinished, and also quite unorganized, basement. None of these options are ideal when you are covered in cold mud and trying to get back inside. Oh, what I would give to have a nice big mudroom.
If you are lucky enough to have a mudroom, good for you, your life will be a bit easier. If you are in a predicament like I am listen up. Come up with a "rule" for you and anyone else who will be tromping through the mud. Designate a door that you must use when entering and exiting the house and get yourself a nice indoor/outdoor floor mat. The bigger the better. If you have the room, have a spot in that same area for muddy boots and try to only use one pair of footwear during the muddiest of times. I was guilty for far too long of using multiple doors and walking across our living room with muddy boots to get to the boot tray on the opposite side of the house.
Yep, if you have any animals there will be a good chance that some sort of fecal matter will end up in your house. This is both unsanitary and extra "icky". See my above suggestions for keeping the mess contained but I also like to keep poopy boots outside if possible. We have a covered front porch that doesn't 100% protect from the elements but in general, my boots will stay dry out there. If I do something like clean the chicken coop, I'm almost certain I have some poop on my boots so I will elect to keep them on the porch until I have time to clean them. If you are finding that you are getting poop on your boots regularly, try to design some sort of covered boot area outside one of your doors so that the poop never enters your home.
You may be thinking "why not just clean the poop off every time". While that seems like a no-brainer I guarantee you will lose motivation to clean your boots after every use. It's also just part of living on a farm. Things get dirty and that's okay. The important thing is to keep yourself healthy and if that means poop covered boots are a staple of your front porch décor then so be it.
I hate flies. Right now we only raise poultry and rabbits which are not real big "fly attractants". However, I'm always baffled by how many flies end up in my house during the summer. I swear I won't see a single fly outside all day but when I come inside to make dinner there are flies everywhere. You won't prevent all flies from coming in but step one in fighting fly infestation is making sure all of your windows have screens and all of those screens are in good shape. Also, don't make a habit of leaving any doors open longer than necessary.
As I said, you won't prevent all of the flies from coming in but trying to prevent their entry as much as possible will keep the numbers down. From there I like to use an electric fly swatter. It's a great way to kill flies without smashing them on your windows and walls. It's also pretty satisfying. I bought mine on Amazon for about $10. It takes two AA batteries and works like a charm. You can also resolve to use other fly killing/catching methods such as fly tape or salt guns. I personally haven't used the salt gun because I don't like the idea of table salt being flung all over my house in an effort to kill flies. But I guess whatever floats your boat.
All of the mentioned methods will also work well for any other bugs that get into your house. Regarding mosquitos and moths, try to not leave any porch lights on unnecessarily. Out in the country, the nights are pretty dark and any light that is left on will no doubt attract a plethora of nighttime insects. I once left my bedroom window open, not realizing it didn't have a screen in it. I was sitting up in bed reading with my table lamp on in the pitch black of night. My bedroom was completely filled with bugs in a matter of minutes. It was both disgusting and insanely annoying.
I like my house to be clean but I don't lose sleep over it being a bit dirty. Heck, right now my sink is full of dishes and I'm sitting here writing this blog instead of handling that (don't worry I'll get to it). My point is, having a farm will mean that you will be battling cleanliness in your home all the time. I often find myself thinking "how did pine shavings from the chicken coop get on the couch" and "why is there timothy hay in the shower drain". These things will happen no matter how hard you try to avoid it. It comes with the territory of being a farmer/homesteader and while I do often think "oh gross" as I'm cleaning up some sort of mystery mess, I also reassure myself that everything can be cleaned and can be made like new again with a rag and some soapy water.
The key to keeping a clean farmhouse is to keep the mess manageable. I spoke on some key ways to contain the mess or prevent it from entering your house altogether so now let's talk a bit about actual cleaning.
Keeping it clean, kinda
I really want to be one of those women who have a cleaning schedule. You know, one of those women who cleans windows on Mondays, the bathrooms on Tuesdays, and the floors on Wednesdays. I want to be able to come home from work to a spectacularly clean kitchen and bright white baseboard. Unfortunately, I've found that I am simply not that kind of woman, actually, I'm not even close. I find it way too easy to ignore the mess. I hate cleaning for "no reason". I'm sure some people just read that and think "you don't clean for no reason, you clean because it's your home and you want it to look nice". That's a fair statement but for me it's just not realistic.
I find that I really only clean if there's company coming over, or if the spare bedroom has become so full of junk you can't walk in it. It doesn't help that my other half feels the same way about cleaning and is all too happy to also ignore the mess. I'd love to not be this way and perhaps someday I will change but to be honest, so far, my attitude towards cleaning has worked out for me.
Farm living is messy and there is no doubt that your house will not look like the cover of Better Homes and Gardens magazine most of the time. My point is, that's okay. Keeping your house clean enough to be sanitary should be your #1 goal and keeping it spotless should be an accepted, unattainable goal.
Please also keep this in mind when remodeling or even just redecorating. We remodeled our home top to bottom and for the most part, I'm happy with the "clean-ability" of everything we did. We bought cheap but still cute area rugs that if ruined I will not be heartbroken about. They are also short fiber rugs so I can easily drag them outside, sling them over top of the fence and hose them off if needed. Our living room furniture is fake leather which was both inexpensive and easy to clean. We don't have any drapes or window shades to catch dust. I understand this isn't possible for everyone but we are a fair distance off of the road so privacy isn't a huge issue for us. We did install a removable "fog" film on the bedroom windows to give a bit of added privacy. The floors are laminate and while they aren't waterproof (which makes me nervous) they have so far held up well. The color I selected has a lot of variation which works wonders in hiding general dirt and tumbleweeds of dog hair. Side note, invest in a good vacuum cleaner as ours has been a lifesaver.
As for things I may have done differently, I have white kitchen cabinets. They are beautiful and really give my kitchen a farmhouse feel but they get filthy. Not only do I find that every crevice of the cabinets gets dust and dirt-covered, but splashes from the sink during dishwashing end up anywhere and everywhere. Perhaps a wood grain or just a darker painted color would have been better for kitchen cabinets. Also along with white kitchen cabinets, we have white grout in our spare bathroom. I know, white grout, who wants to clean that? Apparently, I do because that's what I do before we have guests over. In retrospect, a light gray grout probably would have looked just as nice and wouldn't be such a pain. Again I went for the magazine farmhouse look when selecting white grout. Don't do that, your house isn't in a magazine and unless you have a live in maid you're only punishing yourself. Lastly, I may have gone a different direction with our baseboards if I could go back. As you may have guessed, I also did the baseboards in white. They are beautiful but they get ridiculously dirty and getting down on my hands and knees, crawling around the whole house, isn't my style.
In conclusion, you may be able to prevent some of the mess from entering your house but at the end of the day farm living is dirty work and you will be bringing some of it home with you. Make your life as easy as possible by having a house that is easy to clean or better yet can camouflage some of the dirt so you don't lose your mind trying to keep up with it. At the end of the day, a clean house isn't what you will remember and cherish about farm living so be sure to focus on what's really important when making your homesteading memories.