1. Purge the excess.
Do you have too much stuff? If it doesn’t serve a purpose (that you use regularly) or its something that gives you joy, donate it! Or trash it. Probably best in terms of environmental impact to donate though. Less really is more. When you are deciding to buy something new ask yourself five questions:
1. What is this things’ purpose?
2. How often do I plan to use it?
3. Where will it “live” (displayed on top of your dresser/under the bathroom sink, etc…)?
4. Do I already have one, or something just like this?
5. Am I lying to myself right now about the answers to any of these questions because it’s shiny and new and I’m weak and susceptible to the genius marketing that surrounds me?
Get organized. Buy shelving, baskets, pretty boxes, and appropriate containers to keep things organized. It may seem like unnecessary spending at first, but once you create a space for everything, it will help you cut down on how many “things” you decide to keep, and will prevent you from buying unnecessary things. If it doesn’t have a permanent space and you aren’t willing to spend the money to create a space for it, then you probably don’t need it. Also, plants instead of things generally tend to make us happier while improving air quality.
3. Minimize your energy.
If you’re going to the kitchen, scan the room you’re in and all along the way for anything that needs to go to the kitchen. If the laundry is next to the kitchen, pick up anything that needs to go to the laundry…
What are your problem areas?
Do you perpetually have clean laundry piled up on the couch? That was me. I repeat…was. Phew that feels good to say. I finally broke the habit! How? I fold it at the dryer and put it away immediately. Seems simple enough right?
Stop Procrastinating. Eliminate the phrase, “I’ll do it later,” and replace to with , “I’ll do it next.”
Step 1 prep the room: Start by cleaning off the top of your dryer. Or if you have a folding table, even better! Or you can install a wall mounted table that folds up and out of the way when you don’t need it.
Step 2 prepare: Go into the closets, grab all the empty hangers and take them to the laundry room/closet. If you don’t have a clothes rod, I recommend installing one if you have the space for it.
Step 3 end of cycle: Take each piece out one by one and either put it on a hanger fold it right there separated by people. I like to make a separate pile for shorts and T-shirts too, that way I can just stack them up and carry them to the room they belong in, and put them right in the drawers.
I know, this all sounds like extra work. Really though it’s not. And if it’s important to you to have your couch free of laundry, give these steps a try.
“But I like to fold my laundry on the couch…” Why doesn’t it work to take the heaping pile to the couch? Because we associate the couch with rest. Add clean warm laundry, can you say cozy? Yes… hmmm so nice…. now slap yourself! No! Bad! We both know what’s going to happen. So stop lying to yourself and fold it standing up, at the dryer. The only exception here is a big fluffy blanket. I mean…we’re meant to enjoy life right??
Step 4 Start a new load, and then take the freshly folded laundry immediately to put it away. All of it.
I dream of having a washer dryer in my closet someday… and a second one next to the other bedrooms… but I digress.
There’s nothing worse than spending an hour in the kitchen making dinner and then sitting down to eat knowing that the kitchen looks like a hurricane came through. Before you start any meal, snack, whatever… empty the dishwasher first. Always put away the clean dishes as soon as the cycle ends. This eliminates the need to put dirty dishes into the sink. Instead you can quickly rinse it and put it straight into the dishwasher. Touch it once…notice a theme? By the time your meal is cooked, your kitchen is already clean.
Don’t save your cleaning, or in other words stop procrastinating! I’m yelling at myself by the way. I honestly am not worried about your house, because we all live how we want to. But if you want a clean house, seriously, stop procrastinating. Don’t think to yourself that you’ll spend an hour on Saturday cleaning the bathroom… No one wants to clean the bathroom on Saturday. It’s far too easy to make excuses and tell ourselves that the weekend is for relaxing and for fun. If you get home from work and see that the bathroom sink needs to be cleaned, spend five minutes cleaning it. Toilet needs scrubbed too? Spend five minutes on it tomorrow. It doesn’t need to be a big production of cleaning the bathroom top to bottom once a week. Save yourself a little extra time by keeping a scrub brush in the shower, and occasionally take a bit of a longer shower. Maybe just scrub one wall and then save another wall for your next shower.
Same as bathrooms, it doesn’t need to be a big production. See a room that needs a quick vacuum? Just do that room… only do what you can in the amount of time and or energy levels you have in the moment. Spilled something while cooking? Grab a paper towel, wipe up the spill and wipe a few more surrounding tiles before tossing it in the trash.
Once you’ve gotten your life organized, home decorated and de-cluttered, you’ll find yourself only spending money on consumables. Groceries, toiletries etc… if that sounds boring to you, then it may be time to look at your shopping habits and consider whether or not you have an issue with retail therapy.
The last thing that helped me change my living habits is learning how to touch it once. Adopt the touch it once method and I promise you’ll start to notice a change. Take the toothpaste tube out, put the toothpaste on the toothbrush and then put the toothpaste tube back, before you brush your teeth. Think of each object as if it’s milk that needs to go directly back into the fridge.
What are some of the things that you’ve developed bad habits with regarding keeping a clean and tidy home?