By Alice Robertson
Steady, consistent progress: That seems like a simplistic explanation of how people with clean homes keep them so tidy, but it’s a good way to describe a lifestyle choice that makes an enormous difference. Like it or not, all those habits your mother tried to drum into you all those years ago really do have a positive effect on how you live your life and maintain your home. Remember that small, regular effort is the best way to avoid having to constantly clean your entire house. The trick is to keep everything managed and organised so the mess never becomes overwhelming. Keep it clean and your mental health will thank you!
A good habit
Make cleanliness and orderliness an everyday habit. That means addressing it without waiting or moving piles around until you feel like getting around to them. By staying on top of things, every spare minute doesn’t have to be dedicated to cleaning up. Instead, you can take a moment to yourself to meditate, journal, or do yoga. To minimise time spent cleaning and turn it into a habit, have a set routine for straightening up each room in your house.
- Go through your mail and any loose papers each day, filing what you need and shredding or throwing away what’s not needed
- In the kitchen, don’t just rinse plates off and leave them piled up in the sink – place them in the dishwasher
- In the bedroom, hang or fold and put away clothing or place it in the dirty clothes basket; don’t just throw it on the bedroom floor and let it accumulate
- When the laundry’s done, don’t leave it bunched up in a bin or basket. Put clean clothes where they belong right away
- Make sure your kids put their toys away each night and tidy up their room before going to bed
Remember, the key to keeping everything in order is repeating these good habits every single day. Clutter happens when you don’t follow your routine.
Clean as you go
This is an important one. Chronically dirty houses are those in which grease and grime tend to accumulate because messes are allowed to sit. Cleaning as you go helps you keep countertops, tables, sinks, appliances, floors, chairs and other surfaces nice and clean. If someone spills crumbs on the floor, clean them up right away. It usually just takes a moment or two. It keeps your home clean and prevents ants and other pests from gathering. Encourage others in your home to do likewise by keeping plenty of cleaning materials on-hand, such as paper towels, wash cloths, cleaning spray and a broom. If you follow the clean-as-you-go ethos, you can usually avoid having to constantly mop the kitchen floor and dust.
Organise, don’t collect
Tidy homeowners generally stay organized by getting rid of items they don’t need or want right away. One good way to prevent clutter is to make it a rule not to use the kitchen or dining room table as a collection or storage point for stuff that people don’t want to deal with until later. Once that begins to happen, clutter tends to spread out from there. Ask everyone to throw away or recycle any papers that aren’t needed, and file items that need attention so that everything stays organised. Same goes for coats, hats, gloves, shoes, and anything else that tends to pile up on couches or the floor.
Unwind and de-clutter
It might be hard to get things organised if you have too much clutter that has accumulated. You might even feel a little overwhelmed. The bottom line: clutter is stressful. The odds and ends piled up on the counter and the loose papers overflowing onto the desk make it seem as if you have a permanent to-do list. The chaos that is your closet gives you anxiety just looking at it. Take a day or two to organise each room according to your preferences.
Spending time organising and putting everything in its proper place can actually be quite relaxing, especially once you start seeing your efforts make a difference. Now you can walk into a room and not feel as if the chaotic state of the room is impacting your mental state.
Give your house a thorough cleaning on a regular basis, including baseboards, behind and under appliances, and inside kitchen and bathroom cabinets. Clear the excess out of your closet space so it doesn’t become dumping grounds for everyone’s unwanted belongings. Giving things a deep clean once makes it a lot easier next time.
Keeping your home tidy and well-organised is a matter of deliberate, sustained effort. Once you have cleaning routines set for each room, make sure you follow them every day to avoid accumulating clutter. Remember, if you see something out of order or left uncleaned, deal with it right away. You’ll find that a clean, organised home makes for a relaxing oasis.
About the Author: Alice Robertson began her career in the home organisation industry as a professional house cleaner. She recently created tidyhome.info as a place to share the great cleaning and organising advice she has developed over the years.
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