One of my struggles in everyday life is to clean and organize my house. I have spent the last 15 years working very long hours and as a result, I have often found myself in a desperate situation as far as my housekeeping is concerned. My house was usually a complete mess. I have been using my limited free time to do the essential cleaning, but that was never enough. Of course I haven’t enjoyed living like that and of course I wanted to change and organize everything. But I was so overwhelmed! I felt always so tired, so helpless.
One of my new-year resolutions was to put an end to this situation. I’ve had enough! So, I read countless articles about housekeeping, cleaning and organizing. I tried to implement all this knowledge in my everyday life. Some worked, some others didn’t – not for me anyway. Here is what I found more useful and practical and what helped me face the beast!
1. Get a mental picture
First of all, you have to stand in the corner and see your surroundings. What is it that you don’t like? What is it that you want to change, so that your home environment becomes more relaxed, cleaner, more organized and more inspiring? Imagine! Create a picture in your head of how you want it to look like. Do this for every room in your house, even for your garage. Open your closets, your cupboards, what is it that you want to change? Now, take a big breath and write it down. Not in so many details, just write down what you want to change.
2. Make a schedule
There are so many things that need to be done! And you don’t have the time. We all live busy lives. But you have to fit in your everyday schedule a new schedule about housekeeping. Schedule your housekeeping the same way you schedule your business meetings, your lessons, your outdoor activities. Find out what works best for you. Maybe you have time one hour in the morning and one hour in the evening. Some days maybe you have more time available. And what about your weekends?
3. Break down the process to small tasks
You cannot do everything at once. (Where is that magic fairy wand when we need it the most?). Now that you have the whole picture of the things you have to do, divide them in many small manageable tasks. One room at a time, one corner at a time. Then take a look at your schedule. Fit every task in your schedule. Choose the weekend or the days you have more free time to do the more difficult tasks. Start with the easy stuff! Give yourself the satisfaction that you finally did something.
4. Organize your tools
Before your start cleaning, think of the things you have to use. Collect everything you need to the place you will clean. For instance, if you want to clean your bathroom, take everything you need (brushes, cleaning cloths, detergents etc.) in the bathroom, so that you don’t have to go back and forth in the middle of your cleaning routine. You save time and effort! Also, plan ahead if you need to buy something special to use in your routine, for instance a special brush that will make the process easier. Before you start organizing, collect everything you need to store your things in. Whatever you do, do it as if you were an experienced craftsman. Bring your tools with you! And use the right tools for the right job!
5. Avoid distractions
Once you have started a process, don’t stop until you complete the task you planned. Turn off the TV. If your favorite show is on, you will find yourself watching it rather than working. Shut down your laptop and put away your smartphone. Everything can wait until later. Concentrate on the task at hand!
6. Make it fun!
Put some music that you like on. It always works for me. Who said that housekeeping can’t be fun? Just enjoy the music as you go along doing stuff and even shake your body to the rhythm if you feel like doing so.
7. Reward yourself
After so much hard work, you should always reward yourself. This will keep you highly motivated. A cup of your favorite coffee, a glass of your favorite wine, a walk to the park, a new pair of shoes… You set the prize every time. But be strict to yourself. If you don’t complete the mission, there is no trophy!
8. Clean and tidy as you go
I recently heard about the one-touch rule. I found it brilliant and very practical. The main concept is that you must touch everything once before putting it to its place. When you are done using something, don’t leave it around. It will only get in your way and you will find yourself touching it and moving it around. Touch it once and put it to its proper place. For instance, hang your coat to your closet once you have taken it off. Don’t just leave it on the couch. Put the sugar jar back in the cupboard after making your coffee. Don’t leave it on the kitchen counter. Put your clothes in the laundry basket after taking them off, don’t leave them on your bed. Make a habit of putting everything in the right place. It will save you so much time and effort.
9. Ask for help
If you think that your house needs too much work and you cannot manage it alone, don’t be embarrassed to ask for help. Ask your best friend to help you declutter your closet or tidy your garage. Or even seek professional help if you can afford it.
10. Just start!
Now that we have reviewed everything, you are probably thinking “Yes, that’s easy. I can do it!” And here is the first, most important step of all. Just do it. Just start! Wishing won’t get you anywhere. You have to take action. Start small. But keep going. And as you go along, you will find yourself more relaxed and pleased. You will finally enjoy a beautiful, organized and clean house! You deserve it!
And if you are asking about my house, I am not there yet. I have started this process and I have made quite a difference. But I have many things to organize yet. I am sticking to my schedule. I will finally get everything done. And one more thing. Once you have made all the changes you want, it’s up to you to maintain it. Don’t fall back into your old habits. And don’t stop rewarding yourself every time! So, let me know if this was helpful for you as it was for me. And I am always open to new ideas!