It’s ok if this is not one of your priorities, everyone lives a different life and that’s ok! For the people who would like to be more tidy, this is for you.
10 Minutes to a Clean House: How to get started!
Finish what you’re doing!
The one common trait among people who tend to have messy houses is that they don’t complete the tasks or activities they do throughout the day. Picture this: you’re hungry, so you decide to make a sandwich. You pick the ingredients you need from the refrigerator and pantry, you pick the knife that you’ll need to spread the condiments, and you grab a plate from the cabinet. You make your sandwich, sit down at the table, eat, and then…you’re done, right? Wrong. The task isn’t finished when you finish doing the part you enjoy, the task is finished when you clean up after yourself. Finish what you are doing. If you have a dishwasher, put your dirty dishes in or hand wash them immediately (c’mon, it’s two items, you can do that in a minute or so), put away all ingredients, and wipe up any crumbs left on the counter and table. If you commit to “finishing” the numerous small tasks you do every day in your home, the need to clean will never get overwhelming.
Pick a daily focus.
Choose one basic chore to complete every day. If you focus on just one thing every day, your house will stay clean consistently and you’ll rarely have to dedicate an entire day to cleaning from top to bottom. For instance, you can clean all kitchen surfaces one day, dust the next, vacuum or clean floors another, etc. I love this method because it means, if you have an average sized house, you are rarely cleaning for more than 10-15 minutes a day (maybe a bit longer if you have to mop). I have a LARGE house with four dogs, three adults, and a small child, and even I can manage to clean up after EVERYONE in the house if I dedicate 30 minutes a day to one chore when I need to. The bulk of my time is used cleaning dog hair from every surface, so if you don’t have as many pets that shed, you will probably be able to cut your time in half if not more.
It’s hard to keep a clean house when your space is unorganized and messy from the inside out. I’m not suggesting you go out and hire a professional organizer (unless you really want to), I’m just suggesting you pick one area a day or week to organize to the best of your ability. If you have spices in every cabinet so you have to get garlic from the rack next to the stove and cinnamon from the pantry, you could easily rectify that situation by finding a dedicated home for all your cooking spices. I don’t know what you’d make with garlic and cinnamon, but you do you. It doesn’t need to look like a Martha Stewart catalogue, it just has to make sense to you. When everything has a place, you know you can easily keep things tidy instead of having to find new places to cram your belongings into when you need to quickly clean.
Pare down when possible.
I’m as guilty of western materialism as the next person, to be clear, but when you can simplify your belongings, they will be easier to keep up with. Yes, sometimes you need to save certain seasonal items, or a rare cooking utensil or two that you don’t use often but really help when you do need them, but, in general, we all have stuff we can get unload. A constant I see in messy homes is just a lot of stuff. When I’ve helped people get organized, we always find bags and bags of things they don’t need but were hanging onto “just in case,” junk they just didn’t know how to use, or things they bought because it was a good deal but were unneeded otherwise. It’s easy to hang onto things for longer than you need them, but just think about how many people would love to have that antique pasta maker and would actually use or display it proudly! Think about how many needy people are looking in donation centers for that extra microwave you’ve shoved in the attic after you got a new one. Oh, and bonus, if you donate items, you can always ask for a receipt and use it as a tax write-off!
Don’t put off what needs to be done.
Let’s be honest, we all have good intentions of cleaning up whatever mess is made in a couple of hours, but I find if you put off what needs to be done you likely will not want to come back to it. I know, I know, it’s not always possible to get to everything RIGHT AWAY, but when you can, you should! Think about it, you recognized the issue right now, if it’s possible to fix it right now, too, then you have it out of the way and you don’t have to think about it again.