Cleaning Tips for Messy People

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!

4 Ways to Set Amazing Goals

  1. Be vague about your goals
    • Sometimes it can be hard to pin down exactly what we want. Maybe you want to be healthier, but you aren’t sure yet what that actually means to you. Maybe you’re having a hard time quantifying a goal such as wanting to be happy. This muddiness can cause some of us to abandon our goals before we even get started. It’s like hiking an unfamiliar trail without a map. Sure, maybe you like to just jump head first into such a challenge. But for many people, something like that can be incredibly daunting, and means they won’t actually do it. The same is with your goals. Without a plan, your less likely to do it. So I give you permission to start your goal planning process by being vague. Be as vague as you want to be. Goals like being happy and healthy are great examples of this. Everyone wants each of these things, but many times, most people don’t even know where to start. In reality, that’s a great place to start. Recognizing these different things that you want in your life, even though you can’t count them or track them yet, are a great first step for anyone and can set you up perfectly for creating an amazing plan.
      • Examples of vague goals:
        • Learning to play guitar/piano/an instrument
        • Learn another language
        • Be healthier
        • Loose weight
        • Be happier
        • Save money
        • Have a better relationship with my family
        • Learn to draw
  2. Create “milestones” for your goals and Start quantifying
    • Now that you have your vague goals, think of the different aspects of that goal. What are some ways I could lose weight? How much weight should I lose? What makes me happy? Why might I be unhappy? What language do I want to learn? Why do I want to learn that language? There are so many questions you should ask yourself. Have a brainstorming session with yourself about all these goals you’ve been thinking about but haven’t known where to go or start. As you think of these questions and the answers to these questions, starting thinking of “milestones”. These are points in which you know you will achieve another piece of the puzzle to that goal. These milestones are also quantified so that you will known when you’ve achieved a piece of your goal. Or, if once you’ve achieved that milestone, and you feel like something didn’t work the way you planned, you can then reassess. I’m going to include some examples so that you can get some inspiration on what kind of milestones to have and how to quantify your milestones. Like I said, make it a brainstorming session because it will take a lot of brain power on your end to find what will work for you. Some of these can be huge, really really big lofty goals. Or you can make lots of little milestones. It’s up to you and your personal goal setting style. Sometimes if we haven’t been able to follow through with our goals, its nice to start off with a smaller goal to help get the ball rolling.
      • Examples of quantified “milestones”:
        • Learn to play 5 “beginner” songs, beginning to end, on the guitar
        • Read Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone in Spanish
        • Run a 5k
        • Eat 2 servings of veggies 4 times a week for 2 weeks
        • Complete “Learning to Draw” book  with all lessons completed
        • Have saved $500.
  3. Daily Habits
    • One thing that I find really helps me, is starting out with making my goal a habit. It’s fun to brainstorm goals and break them down into their little pieces. But for many of us, that won’t necessarily get our butt in gear. So the thing that I do, is make them into a part of my day by creating habits. Many times, we plow ahead at full steam when we start with a new goal, only to burn out shortly after. We run into obstacles, or poorly plan our time, leaving us with severely depleted drive. By parsing a habit out of your milestones or goals, and focusing on creating that habit, you are more likely to continue working on your goals. Instead of jumping onto the exercise train to be healthier when you know that hasn’t worked before, try saying that you will walk 3 times this week for 30 minutes. If you can do that, amp it up the next week with walking five times a week for thirty minutes. Try and keep your momentum with whatever habit you choose until it becomes a comfortable part of your routine. You’ll know it’s become routine when you don’t necessarily need to look at your to do list to remember to do it, or when it becomes second nature and it just sort of “happens”. This is a good place to start adding other tasks and responsibilities to your plate. These habits can also help push you forward just a little bit each day, keeping you from stagnating or falling backwards on your goals. It’s helpful to have these in place because not only to they keeping you moving forward, if even just an inch, but I find they also keep you from feeling as if missing a day of the larger tasks will ruin your day or week or month. I know by doing this one thing, I am still working towards my goal, even if that big thing didn’t get done today.
      • Examples of daily/weekly habits
        • Meditating in the morning for 5 minutes 5 times a week
        • Practicing guitar for 20 minutes 3 times this week
        • Eating 1 serving of fruit everyday this week
        • Putting $25 in savings every week
        • Filling 5 pages with drawing practice exercises
  4. Break down your goals as much as possible
    • This might be an overdone tip but I honestly think it is the best, especially for those of us who get overwhelmed by goals easily. Personally, its such a great way to reduce the big picture so that I know exactly what to focus on, and I don’t get bogged down by all the other things I feel like I should get done or look up or write down. When I know what to focus on, as a procrastinator in recovery, it can help me accomplish more in a shorter amount of time. Take the milestones you set and try and break them down further. Depending on the size of your goals, that may not be necessary, but it’s worth taking the time to work on. Say you want to run a marathon. Some goal breakdowns might be to first build the habit of running. Then maybe make it a to do to make or find a training plan. Then follow that training plan, research different running fuel to try out, decide on a type of running fuel, find a marathon you want to run, find a smaller race you want to run. Think down to the smallest aspect of your goals and make those your first steps. You’ll be less overwhelmed and feel more capable of accomplishing more.
      • Examples of goal breakdowns
        • Writing one 90,000 word novel
          • Write in a journal/free write 5 times a week (Build the Habit)
          • Find novel writing resources
          • Look into NaNoWriMo, would this work for me?
          • Make a story outline
          • Write 100 words total
          • Write 5,000 words total
          • Write everyday, in the morning, for 30 minutes

I hope these goal setting tips were helpful for you on your journey to doing more, doing better, and feeling better. Let me know in the comments below if you have any goal setting tips that you find work for you. I would love to hear your thoughts and what your goals are!

Also, make sure to check out my printable goal packet to help you set and achieve your goals! Check it out here!