After moving out to my own place, I had hopes and dreams to leave my messy lifestyle behind me and to start afresh with an organized and clutter-free living space. Here are the steps you’d take if you want to follow along with what actually took place for me:
1) Allow yourself a couple months to live in atrocious conditions.
2) Become sick of the conditions you’re tolerating, such as how you scurry around before guests or the insurance inspector visit, how you can’t find ANYTHING, that mysterious smell you just can’t seem to find, and the sock hanging from your ceiling fan (yes, my apartment was in such a condition at one point. Check it out in this video here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=opttzk7_YTg )
3) Go on crazy cleaning sprees at 10PM, because why would you even do it at any other time?
4) Keep the mess at bay for a couple days.
5) Achieve the feeling that you’re too busy to complete tasks such as cleaning dishes or hanging up that pair of pants or bra (you’re gonna use them the next day, anyways…and the next day, and the day after that, and so on).
6) Rinse and repeat.
Seriously, this is how I feel I live my life: an endless cycle of mess build-up and frantic four-hour cleaning frenzies. It’s irritating! I love living in a clean home, and I know it’s beneficial for all areas of my life to have that. While I don’t exactly practice what I preach, here are some “pro tips” for living a somewhat tidy lifestyle. The following is a potluck of sorts; pick and choose what you can apply to your life.
-DECLUTTER. You don’t need that giant box of VHS tapes (I keep telling myself), or 70 paper bags for that “one day they’ll come in handy”. If you feel you’ve got time on your hands, try to sell some of your stuff on Craigslist or the app “letgo”. However, I typically just want to get the mess out of the way, so it may be better to just donate your things to your local donation center. The Arc is one of my personal favorites, but Goodwill will get the job done as well.
-Everything needs a “spot”. If you know exactly where something belongs, you’re more likely to put it there. For example, I always know where my purse is (on a hook right next to the door). It’s the designated purse spot, and nothing else goes there. The same can be applied to a number of other things, such as clothing, kitchen ware, and that free piano keyboard you got from your friend, even though you don’t got no time to play piano (not that you know how to). What is my life.
-I know, I know, life is busy, and with your energy going to everything else, it’s hard making an effort to clean, but you’ll feel way better doing at least 15-30 minutes of cleaning once per week than you would doing a 4-hour rampage after you’ve been in a mess for far too long.
-If you can bare it, have people over once in awhile! I know, this won’t work for everyone, but like I said: potluck. Personally, I know I’m more motivated to keep my house clean if people are going to come over. Who says you can’t work shame in your favor?
-Don’t put on a TV show, put on some jamming tunes! I always mean well in trying to keep myself entertained while cleaning, but TV ends up being way too big of a distraction, not to mention a hassle to set up. I remember some great cleaning frenzies with some radicool bands like Panic! At the Disco.
-Lastly, remember that we all go through seasons. You’ll have times where you feel you’re on top of things and you are able to dot every “i” and cross every “t”, and times where you feel like you need to be waken up inside (heh, memes). But, really, it’s okay. Don’t beat yourself up, and you will get back into the swing of things. Priorities are important, and sometimes cleaning has to go lower down on your to-do list.
- Declutter by getting rid of space-filling possessions,
- Designate locations for your objects to live,
- Set aside 15-30 minutes a week to tidy to avoid build-up,
- Invite people over (if you need the motivation),
- Put on some music to clean to, and
- Don’t be discouraged when mess happens
And one final note- know that the state of your living situation doesn’t reflect the state of your heart or mind, and that God knows you’re beautiful inside and out (as do I!).