Posted on February 3rd, 2017
Cleanliness comes naturally to some people, but for many of us, it’s an uphill battle. If you weren’t born with a penchant for organization, chances are you feel like you’re constantly beating back the clutter monster… Or maybe he’s already taken over your house and you’re feeling completely overwhelmed. If you relate to either of the prior statements, you know that it’s time to regain control.
Better Habits, Better House: The Secret To Tackling Messiness
Before you grab a crate of cleaning supplies and attempt to fix your “mountain of mess” in a single weekend, read on: Contrary to popular belief, this full frontal assault is not the best approach. Instead, you should make a number of small, easy changes in how you clean. Over time, these little alterations will become habits… And totally revolutionize your life:
1. Learn how to fold your clothes properly. Very tightly and neatly folded clothes fit into drawers much better. This will free up space and reduce the temptation to leave your laundry lying around.
2. Banish the concept of “junk drawers.” At first, this advice seems counter-intuitive. After all, what could be more convenient than tossing miscellaneous objects in drawers so that your house looks neater? Nothing, until you try to find your stapler, paperclips, sunglasses, or spare cell phone charger in a rush. You’ll then be faced with two major problems: 1. You’ll spend 15 or more minutes locating the item you want. 2. At least some of the clutter you encounter along the way will end up on the floor, on the desk, and so on. The lesson? Good organization requires a “from the ground up” approach. You can’t cheat or take shortcuts.
Instead of using drawers and closets as receptacles for haphazard clutter, purchase space-organizing storage compartments. Label each of these compartments (e.g., designate a compartment for chargers and cords, another for paperclips, etc.) and use them fastidiously.
3. Purge your storage spaces at least once a year. Every year, go through your closets, drawers, cupboards, etc. and get rid of any replaceable items you haven’t used in the last year. By preventing clutter from accumulating in your storage areas, you’ll keep some space available for use. This will prevent you from “having” to leave items on counter tops, tables, desks, and shelves owing to lack of room.
4. Keep your cleaning supplies organized. Group your cleaning supplies by use (e.g. bathroom cleaning supplies in one portable bin, kitchen cleaning supplies in another) and store them in accessible locations. The faster you can find the cleaning supplies you need to clean a given area, the more likely you will be to clean it.
5. Make a “job schedule” and stick to it. Your schedule should include “maintenance cleaning” tasks that need to be done each day and bigger jobs. Tackle one or two bigger jobs per weekend.
If you try the five strategies above and still find yourself overwhelmed by clutter, it’s time to call in the pros. You can hire a housecleaning service on a temporary basis to help you get your household back on track, or you can commit to regular maid visits—it’s up to you. (See more.)