You know you enjoy a clean home and don’t want to feel ashamed of it, you know you have a better outlook and your emotions are more balanced with the home is tidy and things are put away. So what’s stopping you from decluttering and cleaning the place up?
Do you find that you just don’t want to put out the effort to keep it clean?
I don’t blame you! There are so many more fun things that one can spend their time on… crafting, shopping, coloring, watching movies, reading books. Binge watching is a thing because pretty much everyone is doing it… what a great way to spend the next 17 hours… right?
Spending up energy
Either you put that energy into accomplishing something in your home, or you expend that energy avoiding it. No matter what, you are spending up that energy on your home and your belongings.
Changing the way you use your energy is in your capable hands. It takes a choice, and you’re the only one that can make that choice.
Is it easy?
Well, no. But nothing of value comes easy, does it?
If you want a good marriage, you have to work on communicating with your spouse. If you want good relationships with your children, you have to invest in their lives. If you want to go on a 3 week vacation to Europe, you have to save up the money. If you want a beautiful home, you have to work at it.
Think all the way through an action
Have you ever noticed when you have a stomach ache, it tends to be after you’ve eaten a certain food? Some people can’t eat very much red meat, some have issues with grains and sugar. And some foods make people feel good: Fruit can give a boost of energy, coffee wakes us up, etc.
If you can sit down for a meal and think “I better not eat the spicy side dish, so I don’t get heartburn later” then you can change your cleaning habits too. It just takes noticing outcomes.
Think about this: after you’ve eaten your evening meal, what do you do with your dish? Do you leave it on the coffee table and sit back to veg in front of a Seinfeld episode? Do you take it into the kitchen, but just leave it on the counter? Does it make it into the sink or dishwasher?
If you leave the plate in the living room or on the counter, you will have to make special effort to pick it up later and get it to the sink.
Don’t create a new habit, change the old one.
Studies show that it’s immensely easier to change habits instead of trying to stop or start a habit. How much energy would it take to take your dishes and put them into the dishwasher ASAP after a meal? A quick rinse is much easier than having to soak stuck-on food before scrubbing it off.
It’s just changing when you spend that energy to move the dish, it’s not taking any extra energy to do it, in fact, it’s freeing some up!!
Instead of setting the dirty dishes on the coffee table or “setting it aside,” get up, and put the dish into the dishwasher.
If you leave the dish on the coffee table, it will be on your mind all evening while you’re trying to relax and unwind from your long day. In the corner of your eye the dish will be jumping up and down and waving at you, and it takes a fair amount of mental energy to push it out of your mind so you can enjoy that sitcom.
But if you remove the dish right after eating, and then go back to the couch for some much needed R&R, well, your mind is much more free to enjoy the show.
It’s how you decide to use your energy.
You can make a choice with your time, and either put energy into avoiding the housework, or put energy into taking care of it. Both things require you to expend energy, but only one of them will take you to the place you want to be.
That is really a very empowering thought: If you don’t like it, you can change it.
But, what if I really HATE cleaning?
Well, you can change that too!! This is what all the self-help books call a “limiting belief.” Because you truly believe you hate housework of any kind, it limits you. It means the task will always seem bigger than it actually is. It means you don’t enjoy the outcome as much, because your mind is still stuck in martyrdom. And when someone messes it up… oh heaven forbid!!
Changing the way you think about cleaning and decluttering is easier than one would imagine.
- Write down the exact thought you have when you think about cleaning up the kitchen. It might be “I’m too tired.” or “I hate dishes.” Doesn’t matter what it is, just write it down.
- Rewrite the statement into something positive: “I love having dishes done.” “I have enough energy to do what I need to do.”
- Cross out the old belief.
- Repeat the new truth each time you set out to clean the kitchen.
Building up cleaning habits is the first step
When people think of decluttering and getting their house into a tidy state, it’s typically overwhelming. They know they need to get rid of stuff, but there is just so much, where does one start??
It all starts with a simple cleaning routine.
Yes, getting rid of the excess is important, but you have to get some simple routines in place or it will never be enough.
Cleaning habits and the base, follow that with less material possessions and you’ll end up with a clean and welcoming home.
Start small: do the dishes in the morning and the evening. Clear the trash off the counters at the end of the day, and wipe the counters clean. Write out a list for yourself to follow or get a ready-made checklist you can mark off after each task.
You’ll find you enjoy seeing an empty sink and clean counters. And it won’t take long before you start doing the same thing to the dining table and the coffee table. And eventually you will find yourself picking up the house without putting in the mental energy it used to take.