CONQUER THE MESS: Do These 3 Things Every Day to Change Your Life

This previously messy person wanted to demonstrate how I turned my life around by teaching myself a few easy habits.

First, I decided which habits I wanted to have.

The temptation here is to have ALL THE HABITS. 

But I had tried that before and failed miserably.

I had to get down to only a few things that I could require of myself that would make a difference in my home, but it had to be so minimal, that it would seem silly to procrastinate on it. It had to be easy. Stupid easy.

As a demonstration, I recorded myself doing my morning and evening reset for 31 days.

These are the tasks I decided on doing:

  1. Kitchen tidy
  2. Wash dishes
  3. Wipe off counters and stove

These need to be done in the morning after breakfast and in the evening after dinner.

In the morning I also gave myself a 5-minute reward and in the evening, I wiped down the sink.

Reward Yourself

I have made my 5-minute reward to be sitting down with a cup of coffee and reading devotionals. But it can be anything you want it to be – it doesn’t have to be “ideal or perfect” but it should be something you look forward to. 

The basic idea of the reward is to shift from using things to procrastinate to instead, using them to reward yourself for getting something done.

Most of the time we procrastinate with things – scrolling through social media, playing phone games, reading, streaming tv shows – we can find all kinds of things to help us procrastinate. The idea behind giving ourselves a 5-minute reward is simply to shift from using those things as a way to procrastinate and avoid our daily tasks to instead something we can enjoy completely guilt-free when we are done with our tasks.

As you can see in this demonstration, there were days when I skipped the 5-minute reward – where I just focused on the minimum amount of tidying and dishes.

There were also days that I skipped wiping down the sink in the evening.

We’re not failing when we don’t do everything. 

That idea of having to do it perfectly or not doing it at all has ruined so many lives, honestly. It doesn’t really matter at the end of the week if I wiped the sink down 7 times or 5 times. But it would be very evident if I NEVER wiped the sink down.

And if we have a night we skip – sure it doesn’t look as good on our chart, but again, at the end of the week, it doesn’t matter if we washed the dishes 14 times or 10 times. What matters is that we did it – and the more often we do it, the easier it is.

If we’re in the habit of doing the dishes regularly, they never pile up and become overwhelming.

If we’re in the habit of cleaning the stove and counters, then more often than not, they will be clean when we need to use them.

Build it into the Flow of Your Day

Another thing I would like to emphasize is the importance of WHEN we do our reset routine. And yes, I prefer to call them a reset – because that’s what I’m doing. I never want to do “Chores” but I am willing to “reset the kitchen.”

 It doesn’t always work out that we do it at the same time every day, it’s not realistic to say we’re going to do the dishes at 8 am every single day and that’s ok. 

But if we can get used to doing it in a specific order, it will help us.

For example, I get up at 6:30, make breakfast, it’s done by 7:30 and then the next thing I do is the reset. It always comes right after breakfast and before my “me time” of a cup of coffee.

The morning reset done before we get started on our day, makes the rest of the day flow smoothly. 

This might mean you have to get up 10 minutes earlier so you have enough margin in your morning to do it. 

I know that’s hard to give up – I LOVE my sleep. But I have had to evaluate, do I love to sleep more than I like having a calm home? No. The answer is no. And, if I really want that extra 10 minutes of sleep – I can be nice to myself and go to bed 10 minutes earlier and still get the same amount of sleep.

Getting the kitchen reset before starting your day makes the home feel so good and manageable. If you work – do the reset before you leave for work. If you are a stay-at-home or work-at-home, do your reset before officially starting the day.

That way when you come back to the kitchen later in the day, it is ready to be used. Dishes are clean and ready, the counter is clear and ready – everything is ready for you to use it.

Try to get the evening reset done after dinner before you sit down to relax. The point of getting it done immediately is so that you truly can relax. So you can veg on the couch knowing there is nothing sitting in the sink waiting for you. And no chance of forgetting and then having to wash dishes at 11:30 PM.

If you do the dishes right after eating, the food hasn’t had time to dry on and it’s easier to wash. Many people have a sink full of soapy water as they cook they just stick everything in the sink and after dinner, everything has soaked and it’s just a few minutes to wash up.

It won’t “Consume Your Time”

We have 3 kids at home, so 5 of us are in the house, and on average it takes me about 10 minutes to do the dishes and tidy the kitchen. 

I’ve tested washing dishes by hand and it averages about 5 minutes longer to do the reset tasks.

How much time it takes to tidy up depends on how much cooking I’ve been doing. Some mornings we’ve eating cold cereal and it takes 3 minutes to put things away and do the dishes. Other days, I’ll make a huge meal and invite people over, and it might take 25 minutes to reset the kitchen.

I was never one that liked doing the dishes – I hated them. HATED THEM. But being consistent with doing the dishes made them easier. I wasn’t faced with 3 hours of soaking/scrubbing/piling them up each time I ran out of clean dishes.

And being a minimalist forced me into being more consistent – I don’t own enough dishes to go more than 2 meals before I’m completely out of clean dishes.

Both the routine and the limited amount of dishes help me keep the kitchen clean. If I use everything in my kitchen, it still would only take 30 minutes to wash EVERYTHING I own.

Reframe How You Think About It

When I first started these reset habits, I had to change the way I thought about them. Before I would go into the kitchen thinking “I FREAKING HATE DOING THE DISHES!!!!” and I had to change what I was telling myself. So I started by saying “I love having the dishes done.”

I never felt like I could say “I love doing the dishes” that felt like that was a lie. But I really did love having the dishes done and I loved having a clean kitchen, so that’s what I had to focus on.

Now, so many years later… I don’t necessarily LOVE doing the dishes. But I can say that I don’t hate it anymore. I’m completely indifferent to it – it now is just something that needs to be done.

It’s not any different than brushing my teeth or taking a shower. I just do it without giving it much thought.

My body needs daily hygiene and I don’t get angry at my body or despise my body for that.

And thankfully now I see that my home needs daily hygiene and I’m not angry about it.

It’s just something that needs to be done.

Being consistent with these kitchen habits was the most transformative thing I’ve ever done. It helped me realize that I am capable. It gave me confidence. It made me feel more “in control” of my home.

Too much of my life had been spent reacting and trying to put out fires as they popped up like I was always playing catch up and never would get caught up.

Now that these habits are in place and pretty much on autopilot, life seems more manageable, calmer, and easier.

That’s what I want for you as well.

It’s such a lovely gift to yourself to have a kitchen that is easy to maintain. 

Decluttering and daily habits go hand in hand – I prefer starting with the habits, because if the dishes are done and a counter is cleaned – life feels more manageable! 

And if the kitchen is tidy, we feel like we can afford to take 10 minutes and declutter a pile of papers or sort the Tupperware containers.

Embracing minimalism and establishing daily routines doesn’t get rid of all your problems. But it does make it so that your HOME isn’t one of your problems.

That is what I want to help you achieve – life is full of enough craziness, let’s get our homes to the point where our home is an enjoyable part of our life. A place we can rest and relax in.

If you’re ready to jump in with the morning and evening reset – I created editable PDFs to help you get it all figured out.

This set includes the morning and evening reset routines you saw in this video, as well as progression months where we’re building onto the basics and a weekly reset to help you focus on cleaning the parts of your home that makes it feel clean and manageable.

Click here for the Home Reset Checklists

➡️ Save 25% today by using the code BLOG25 during checkout.

And if you want to see more of the steps I took to create a home that is Stupid-easy to maintain, read this post here.

About Rachel Jones

Hi there! I’m Rachel Jones, and I founded Nourishing Minimalism in 2012 at the beginning of my minimalist journey after I'd been doing a yearly decluttering challenge for 4 years and started to see a change in my home. If you're looking for encouragement in your journey, please join our FREE Facebook Group: Nourishing Minimalism Facebook Group

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