Some of us, just seem to be naturally clean and organized. My boyfriend is one of those that just wants to clean. In fact, it’s often the first thing he does after he wakes up! Myself on the other hand, I hate it. I’ve never been very clean or organized, but I always chalked it up to my personality. I also thought it was fairly normal to be so cluttered since all my friends growing up were the same way. Until, I met said boyfriend. He helped me realize that not only does it help your mental state to have a clean and orderly home, it makes the actual act of cleaning easier if you keep up on it. I used to be more of what you might call an “blue-moon-all-at-once” type of cleaner. The anxiety of having things everywhere would finally get to me and BAM! I would clean, but it would never last. Not long after these massive cleaning sessions, piles of clutter would start appearing, and then growing until they took over my apartment all over again. I’ve changed a lot in the last couple years regarding my cleaning habits. Not to say that it isn’t still a bit of a struggle. These are some tips I’ve learned and implemented that have made cleaning something so much easier for me to follow through with.
- Make it Apart of Your Daily To Do List
One thing I know helps me is to make the cleaning task I want to do more often (or just so I remember) a part of my daily to do list. If you keep a habit tracker, you can make it a part of your tracker as well. Making the bed, putting dishes in the dishwasher before bed, resetting the bathroom after a shower, are all things you can incorporate into your daily to do list. I also love doing this because it gives me something I know I can accomplish easily and mark as done on my list. The rewarding feeling of actually getting it done as well as being able to look back at all the times I was able to complete this task are the best. Sometimes it might feel like cheating because the tasks have become “easy”, but for myself I know that the minute I stop incorporating it, I’ll stop doing it or it’ll become variable as to when I’ll do it. As an example from myself, growing up I didn’t see the purpose of making my bed. In my twenties I decided that I wanted to make it habit. I wanted to be more organized and well, “cleaner”. One of my first steps was my bed. By inserting it into my daily bujo list, it quickly became a habit that I do each morning. I still include it on my daily list because I know if it’s there and visible, I’m more likely to do it.
- Schedule/Pair cleaning
Just like the previous tip of putting “make the bed” in my daily list, I also scheduled a time to do it. Right after getting dressed in the morning and putting my dirty clothes from the night before in my laundry basket I planned to simply turn around, and make my bed. Before I actually scheduled this habit, I would usually forget, or put it to the end of my morning routine where I usually ran out of time. Thus, it wouldn’t get done. But as soon as I decided on when, it began to click. Picking a time of day to get specific tasks done, or stacking them onto other habits helps cement when they come next in your mental schedule. Maybe before you head to bed you put the dishes in the dishwasher or wash them, or right after your shower, you spray the shower with daily cleaner spray. Find a pairing or time of day that fits your task, or just experiment! It might take a while to figure out when cleaning best fits in your busy schedule, but by scheduling it in the first place, you are more likely to follow through.
- Keep Things in Baskets and Holders/Give Items Homes
I try and live by this tip. I tend to be the type of person who puts something down on the table thinking, “I’ll get to that, BUT in a bit”. Then, before you know it, the table is covered in things that I meant to get to, but never have. This is where baskets and organizers come in handy. I’m not saying to go out and buy a load of fancy new organizing baskets and boxes. Check around your house for small containers and then go for something sturdy and cheap. Once you find boxes, start throwing things in! Honestly, I find that just getting items out of the way to be extremely helpful in the cleaning and organizing process. Especially if you are trying to dig yourself out of a clutter hole. By giving items homes, you are not only giving yourself a spot where you can tell yourself “Oh yeah, that goes in this black basket”, but you are also clearing space which will help clear your mind. Having clutter splashed all around can cause anxiety, leading to a lower chance you will actually want to clean. Take some time and give some of your clutter a new home. Take the opportunity to do a quick run through as you put things away to throw and keep as needed. Nothing too intense, just an initial sweep.
- Break Big to Dos Down
Do you have a tornado of a closet to go thru? Sometimes we get the itch to just bowl through a task like this and get it all done in one go, but other times, our lives are so busy that we just can’t fathom taking a whole day to clean our closet. Or, we become so overwhelmed in the middle of organizing that we just up and quit, leaving more of a mess behind. Instead, make a plan to do one small task on it everyday. Decide whether to keep or donate 3 pieces of clothing each day. Decide to keep, throw or donate 2 items a day from kitchen pantry. Pick three things to keep or throw from under bathroom sink. This way, with a busy schedule you will still be working on that big task you have, but not overwhelming yourself either. Another thing you can do, is utilize the previous tip by placing items that need to be organized or cleaned, into a basket, and making a goal to go through X amount of items each day or week. This way, they won’t clutter your space as you go through them. But do make sure they are visible if you plan on organizing them. If the items aren’t visible, they will be out of site and therefore out of mind.
- Take Advantage of Passive Tasks
I’ve mentioned this before in my procrastination post HERE but taking advantage of passive tasks can help you get more cleaning done. Essentially, if you have to wait a period of time for the next step in whatever you are doing, you can do something else. Super simple! Waiting for your food to cook in the oven? Clean up your dishes, or clean out a few items from the fridge. Are you using a cleaning spray that needs to “soak”? Take that time to wipe down other surfaces or sweep/vaccum the floor quick. Try and structure your tasks so that you can set up your passive tasks before getting to more active tasks. Even when I’m microwaving food or making coffee, I look around and try and do something productive instead of just twiddling my thumbs.
- Plan to Divide and Conquer(If Possible!)
This may will not apply to everyone but if you have a significant other, roommates or family, sometimes things slip through the cracks because we assume that someone else is going to do it. Sitting down and going through the major tasks that need to be done daily, weekly, or monthly and dividing them up can be extremely helpful in making sure things don’t get forgotten until it becomes a major task or problem. Even deciding simple tasks can be helpful. Who should make the bed in the morning? Who should fold the laundry every other night? It’s also a great way to encourage communication with the people in your life regarding the home. This prevents those involved from becoming resentful of others for not pulling their weight. It also takes some of the burden off you, which could lead to more time in the future.
I hope these tips are helpful. Feel free to experiment with them and see what works best for you! Also comment any other tips you have that help keep you on track with cleaning and organizing!