Bringing somebody home to a space that looks like a dump doesn't help your chances. / Thinkstock
It’s that time. The date’s going well. Really well. You’re ready to bring that guy or gal back to your apartment but the sirens go off in your head as you scramble to surreptitiously strategize straightening up while the date pours a glass of wine. That’s because you still haven’t removed that picture of your ex by your nightstand and your bathroom has one too many unmentionables lingering.
Since your home is a reflection of who you are, professional organizing consultant Donna David emphasizes the importance of a first impression: “Your home tells a potential mate so much about your style and taste, personality, and lifestyle.” Now, this doesn’t mean going overboard with a stoic feel like a museum where people are afraid to sit down; keep it inviting but not too personal.
Having an inviting, organized and presentable home isn’t only wise, it’s a mirror of yourself as a potential mate. If your date sees a ton of clutter, it could be game over. Lisa Shapot, co-founder of home design firm The Think Tank, says checking out your date’s digs is a test to see if you can potentially cohabitate with someone. If someone’s a neat freak and walks into total chaos, she mentions, “You’ll have a 50/50 chance they’ll walk away regardless of how fabulous you are.”
Then there’s the possibility of revealing too much, too soon like mistakenly leaving some old medication laying around even if a nasty infection has disappeared. Sindi Landman, Shapot’s business partner and Think Tank co-founder, emphasizes the privacy factor as you’re dating “because you don’t want to open too much of yourself too quickly.”
Over time as the date gets to know you better and a potential relationship blossoms, they can get to know your living space better, too. “After three or four dates, if someone sees you left a dish in the sink, that’s no big deal,” Landman quips.
They recommend the basics in the beginning like sweep and go through medicine cabinets, go through your bills and file them all away. This includes removing mementos of former beaus. Shapot indicates when you’re holding on too tightly to an old relationship, your “heart is blocked to the potential for something new.” Even if you store items at your parents’ house for now, at least they’re out of sight, out of mind.
As you remove the clutter, ex-boyfriends and ex-girlfriends included, the Think Tank co-founders recommend a “daykover.” This involves a makeover at your abode without lofty renovations or time commitments but instead, it’s like a mini overhaul by moving some things around and spicing it up a bit.
“Soften your space,” Shapot advises. This means buying fresh flowers, lighting candles and getting a throw for your couch from TJ Maxx or Home Goods. And as you grab some fresh orchards on the street, similar to preparing for a date in terms of your outfit, you should also spruce up your space prior to date night. Shapot adds: “It’s a nice feeling to know somebody thought about it ahead of time.”
Tips for date-friendly homes:
1. Get rid of unnecessary items. Place excess photos and knick knacks in a box. “Less is more,” says David. 2. Hide personal items like self-help books. This includes books on the perfect marriage and relationship rescue books, too. 3. Keep an eye on visible toiletries. Keep all personal items hidden. David advises, “Don’t display an extra toothbrush even though it could be for a valid reason.” 4. Toss storage items after a year. After you put something in a box to store it, Lapman says if you haven’t “looked at it or thought about it,” you should toss it.
Don’ts: 1. Maintain a gross refrigerator. Seriously toss that old, moldy food especially since it’s not uncommon to open a refrigerator during a date to grab a beverage. 2. Let paperwork circulate. David advises reading daily mail rapidly. “Either toss, shred, take action (pay bills) or file away important documents.” 3. Allow clutter. By straightening up daily, you’ll prevent clutter from accumulating. 4. Having an unmade bed. Simple enough. Be sure to make it every day, advises Landman.