Cleaning and organizing don’t have to induce feelings of dread. Taking your time and taking deep breaths can actually make the task rather enjoyable. The best part is the reward at the end. When my house is cluttered and dirty, it makes my life feel the same. Setting aside a few hours a day can make the process much easier.
Set the Tone
It may sound crazy, but setting the tone may be the most important factor in your success. Whether it is creating a playlist, tuning into a podcast, or listening to an audio book, having something to keep you company is essential. I listen to podcasts when I do any form of cleaning or organizing. I even put them on when I’m cooking dinner or taking a shower. There are some very bingeworthy series out there waiting for you. It doesn’t even matter what your interests are. There’s probably a podcast about cleaning and organizing! I find myself trying to find tasks that will allow me a good listen. Music is also a great way to boost your mood and get motivated. A good song will naturally make you happy and make a mundane task seem bearable.
Manage your Time
Cleaning and organizing are two separate tasks, but both require setting aside dedicated time. If you are looking to do both, it may be a good idea to organize first since that can be a messy process. Choosing and prioritizing one space at a time helps with mental clarity. It allows you to focus. Pick the area of the house that is the least intimidating to start. Maybe you’ve been meaning to organize the space under your bathroom sink. That is a job that shouldn’t last more than an hour or so. With every space, though, comes the storm before the calm. Plan to take everything out. Go through it all. Create piles that allow you to keep track of your items.
Once you have a clear view of everything, it becomes easy to see how to put the puzzle back together. This process works for every single space in your entire house. The only variation is the time it will take you to complete the organizational task. It’s reasonable to think that your entire house can be organized within a week if you manage your time well and allot time every day. Cleaning becomes easy once you have organized and eliminated the clutter.
Manage your Expectations
Humans are emotional beings. We form attachments to things. We tend to carry our memories in our stuff which can make it almost impossible to part with those things. When we see beloved artwork that our kids made or the shirt we wore while we were taking our engagement photos for our weddings, it evokes a warm feeling. Keeping some of these things is completely fine. Keeping all of them begins to create problems with space.
Sometimes the best cure for getting rid of things with sentimental value is time. If you absolutely cannot part with something even though you know it no longer serves a purpose, then keep it. Hopefully the process of organizing and cleaning your spaces will happen every couple of years. You will have another opportunity to revisit all of your memories and decide what to do with them later. It’s also realistic to feel some burn out when you are going through these steps. It does take time and energy both physically and mentally. Give yourself a break. Appreciate your progress and come back to it later.
Reward your Work
You’ve managed to organize and clean your entire home. It wasn’t always easy or fun, but you muddled through. Living in your new space is in itself a reward. It is perhaps the best reward of all. But besides being creatures who hold onto memories through things, we are also motivated by incentives. Maybe a massage is just the thing you need after being hunched over on the floor for days on end. Perhaps you want to open that good bottle of wine you’ve been saving for a special occasion. Maybe you just want to treat yourself by taking a day off and staying in your pajamas. If you treat yourself to something special then you are way more likely to repeat this process in the future. After all, you’ve earned it.
Having a clean and organized space is essential to our well-being especially after we have all been spending so much time at home. Going through every space in a deep and meaningful way every few years only helps to keep the process manageable. It will get messed up and cluttered again as soon as other people are introduced into the picture, but take a deep breath and let it go. After all, no one says that you have to share your reward with them.