Regardless of your current life stage, there are always complications involved in maintaining an orderly household. For the singles out there, it may be a crazy busy schedule or crippling procrastination. Others may be able to narrow the cause of their messy abode down to the whirling dervishes that pose as their children. Whatever the reason for chaos and disorder, there are a few simple steps that can help get your affairs in order.
Set a time limit –
If your first instinct is to hide in a closet with a box of Oreos after surveying your cluttered kingdom, don’t fear – there’s hope! A big difference can be made with a timer, 8 minutes and some dedicated attention. Invest in either a portable timer (you can find an egg timer at the dollar store for under $5) or program 8 to 15 minutes on your microwave timer if that function is available. 8 minutes is the best minimum time limit; anything less doesn’t provide you with enough time to be productive.
Start small –
Procrastination mode is going to kick in full force if you decide to clean your entire house in one day; start small by focusing on one room, or even one area. The main reason behind mess is that things aren’t put back where they belong. Designate a pile or preferably bin or basket for groups of items that belong in a different location; one for items that belong in the kitchen, one for items that belong downstairs, etc. If the items belong in the room you’re concentrating on, make sure to do something with everything you touch; if it’s a pair of pants, hang it up in the closet, if you have a pair of shoes, put them in the shoe rack, etc.
Pace yourself –
Chances are you’ll have to dedicate more than just one 15 minute session to an area before its spic and span. If you don’t meet your goal at the end of 15 minutes, give yourself the option of resetting the timer for another session or picking up where you left off tomorrow. More often than not, sessions tend to have an addictive quality for me and I find that it’s not uncommon for me to end up spending an hour doing something I had only thought I could stand for 8 minutes.
Review and improve –
As you go, think about why items have been misplaced; are they located in the wrong spot? Is there a better place or better way to store them? One of my favorite discoveries has been hanging a laundry bag on the back of the bathroom door. Previously, I had designated hampers in each bedroom and given the small footprint of our house, this was not the most efficient option. Plus, Mistress Lazy wasn’t all that fond of having to pick up piles of clothes in three bedrooms. Now all the dirty clothes are centrally located in the mesh bag which offers the added bonus of being easily transportable to the utility room.
Keep it up –
Now that you have an initial plan, how do you keep to it so that you don’t backslide? Here are a few recommendations that I’ve found helpful:
Develop a habit –
Every weeknight after I’ve tucked the kids in and before I settle in for some R R; I pick an area and dedicate at least 15 minutes to organizing and cleaning it. I have been amazed at how much of a difference this small gesture has made for keeping on top of things. Throughout the course of the five day work week, you can put in a minimum of an hour and fifteen minutes of housework and/or organization!
Reward yourself –
Motivation is a powerful thing. Promise yourself a bath, facial, snack, glass of wine or extra fifteen minutes of sleep in the morning if you dedicate some time every weekday toward your goal.
Get others involved –
These steps can be a group activity; set 15 minutes after dinner where everyone cleans a designated area. For extra incentive and to get the kiddies more involved, have a competition to see who can get the most done. Make a friendly wager with your spouse or roommate. The more ways you can find to make this a fun exercise, the easier it will be to keep everything in its’ place.
There’s nothing like a nice bout of cleaning to keep your limbs going as this exercise would make you alert and active when it comes to household chores where your spouse can provide a helping hand, thereby reducing the need to hire some house cleaning service in Dallas that charge way too much for the simplest of tasks.
As nice as it is to have a tidy abode where everything has a place and is nestled snuggly in it, there are certain joys to having clutter. Personally, I don’t trust anyone who keeps a house that bares more resemblance to a museum than the site of a natural disaster; stray socks, used dishes and a field of toys are what make a house a home. Breaking major projects into minor ones and setting minimum time limits has been the key to helping me maintain a balance between appeasing my compulsive tendencies and making the most of my time with loved ones. Hopefully these tips will help you to do the same.