Everyone likes a clean home, but like dieting it is something that sounds easy but is actually pretty hard to do in practice.
It’s amazing how easy it is to get into a mess, things that took ages to clean can go right back to square one after a weekend of becoming a slob. Whats more, once clutter reaches a tipping point and you know that it will require significant time and effort it can quickly spiral out of control.
This guide is on how to stay motivated to not only clean up but keep things clean and organised.
1. Don’t spend hours cleaning
This first point may sound counterintuitive but one sure way to build up a resistance is to cleaning is to see it as something that takes up your entire weekend.
Unless you have an extremely close deadline for needing your house clean it is far better to start small and slowly but consistently clean your house.
2. Keep things efficient by moving small pieces as you from walk room to room
We walk between rooms often and most of the time we don’t even think about it. You can tap into this and leverage it to tidy up by picking up a piece of dirty clothing or rubbish whenever you move out of the room.
For example, I have an on suite bathroom. Every time that I go to the toilet I make sure to pick up any dirty clothes on the bedroom floor and drop them off in the wastebasket on the way out. The same goes for rubbish – if you notice that the bathroom bin is getting full the take it out to the kitchen to empty it next time you leave the bathroom. Don’t worry about taking it back straight away, but the next time you need to go to the bathroom take it with you.
And you don’t even need to be putting thing in their exact place. For example if you have a mug or two left in the bedroom that needs to be washed then just drop it off at the kitchen. Once you have a pile of washing you can set aside some time to do it. You’ll be amazed at how quickly things start organising themselves and items move to the rooms that they belong.
3. Eat the biggest frog first
“If it’s your job to eat a frog, it’s best to do it first thing in the morning. And if it’s your job to eat two frogs, it’s best to eat the biggest one first.”Mark Twain
For some tasks such as cleaning the bathroom or doing the dishes it is more efficient to do the whole job at once. If there is a large task that you need to get done then it’s best to do it early when you have the energy. Going the whole day knowing that you have a big chore to do will stop you enjoying your free time. It’s much better to get it over and done with early.
4. Multitask and do something enjoyable
One way to make chores stop feeling like chores is to do something enjoyable while you are performing them. For example while I am hanging washing or folding clothes I listen to a good audiobook. This audiobook is reserved for chore time and has completely changed my outlook on washing.
I used to absolutely hate it, but now it has turned into a relaxing and almost meditative time, if the book is gripping enough I actually look forward to the next load of washing which is something that I never thought I would say.
5. Take the time to redesign
A cleaning is a great way to redesign and reorganise the room. Maybe you decide to move your picture frames around or while you are moving the couch to clean behind it decide to rearrange the living room.
This is good way to give you back control and to thing of it as something that you want to do rather than something that you have to do, suddenly you are not cleaning but rather doing interior design work.
6. Motivate yourself with treats
This follows on from point 5, often while you are rearranging things you’ll have a thought that something would really complete the room.
Add it to a list and use this as motivation to finish cleaning. This doesn’t need to be something large and expensive, even just a new plant or candle can really change the room.
7. Have a daily cleaning sprint
Set aside some time in the day – for me this is first thing in the morning – where just for 5 minutes you walk around the kitchen and lounge and tidy up. Putting cups that are left in the living room into the dishwasher, tidying up the lounge pillows and wiping down the counters does not take long.
What is super important is that this is not an hour long cleaning session, this is a few minutes a day to do some basic cleaning.
My routine is to put the kettle on and while it is boiling to go around and clean up as much as possible. Then I put a tea bag in, put some bread in the toaster and have another few minutes of cleaning till it is ready. Both sessions together don’t take more than 7 minutes, yet in those 7 minutes I can clean up 80% of the mess in the living room and kitchen and start the day nice and clean.
8. Put things you don’t need into storage
If you live in a country which has seasonal weather then something that really helps is to separate summer and winter clothing and during summer pack away all the bulky winter clothes and coats.
Pick up some large plastic bags from the supermarket (We prefer to use the transparent bags often used for recycling as this makes it easy to see what is inside each bag) and pack away any seasonal clothing that you don’t need.
This free’s up your closet for the clothing that you do actually use and makes things look more organised.
9. Reorganise how you fold your clothes
This one might not seem like a big deal but it really is and so it gets it’s own section. The Marie Kondo folding method might sound like a fad but it really works and once you have started using it you’ll wonder why you didn’t think of it before.
This idea is to fold clothes in such a way that you can stack them horizontally instead of vertically. But to understand it it’s much easier to watch the video below.
I’m not so caught up in the feeling joy, but I do see this as an extremely efficient way of storing clothes. The main advantage is that horizontally stacked clothes do not have clothes on top of them which means no more messing up a pile of neatly folded clothing but pulling out a shirt at the bottom of the pile.
I spent about an hour (again while listening to an audiobook) refolding all my clothes and organising my wardrobe to use this style or storage and will never go back.
10. Use technology if you can
Back in the day a large portion of out time had to be dedicated to cleaning, we are lucky that in this day and age it’s no longer the case.
Most modern washing machines have a timer built in. I use this to start the washing while I am at work and time it so that it finishes as I get home which avoids the clothing smelling damp.
If you have a large family or cook often a dishwasher can save a lot of time as well. Whats more modern dishwashers don’t need to have the plates rinsed first and are actually far MORE water efficient at cleaning than doing it by hand, so you can relax and feel good about it.
If you can afford it there are a multitude of robotic vacuum cleaners and lawn mowers out there as well. They have come a long way from the first Roomba that would bounce around the room in a random pattern and get stuck under the couch or on the carpet.
Robot vacuums these days now do full room scanning which lets them navigate around objects and clean in a systematic fashion like a person would. They are also smart enough to avoid hazards like stairs and can find their way back to their charging station if they start running low on battery. Some even empty out the dirt for you! One of my favourites is the Neato botvac series which is a great balance between features and cost – just make sure you check camelcamelcamel or Amazon for specials as they regularly go for almost half the listed price.