So, you want a clutter-free home? A joyful space?
I’ve been there: I’ve sat on my couch completely unhappy with what surrounded me: piles on every surface, mountains of laundry, toys strewn across the floor and dirty dishes in the sink. Most of the items, I didn’t know what to do with.
But I found the secret...
It’s not very exciting. It’s not a magic pill. And sometimes I still have to talk myself into it. But this is the answer:
When you change your daily habits to reflect your clean house desires, life will be easier. Decluttering will start to happen. The house will start to become clean. It’s not going to happen overnight. Yes, some parts will be clean right away and stay clean, for the most part, but decluttering the house is a process. Changing the way you think; about what you bring into the home, what you leave in the home and your shopping patterns, all take time to change. But they will if you stick with this one thing.
Your daily habits are the foundation for a clean and clear home. Without them, your home will only be clean on the “cleaning days”. You know; the days when company is coming over, or after the weekend you scheduled the children to be away at Grandma’s... so you could clean. Changing your daily habits means that it can look like that regularly.
Those cleaning sprees acted like a reset button for the home. But when implementing daily habits and routines, it’s giving your home a reset twice a day.
It’s not likely to stay perfectly immaculate in the in-between times. You do need to live in your home and living means that things are out while they are being used. Living is what your home is for, so we’re not going to strive to have it immaculate 24/7, we’re striving for a reset twice a day.
So, why would this work?
Well, in a nutshell: because you stop procrastinating. All of us who struggle clutter, struggle with procrastination to some degree. When we have daily things that need to be done; like the dishes – it’s easy to find more important things to do, instead of the dishes. We’re very creative with it and easily justify it:
“Oh, the dishes will still be there... I should go email Suzanne about the get- together next week.” And then pretty soon you find that you’ve opened all your emails, browsed photo updates from friends on Facebook, bought that handy doodad from Amazon and oh look, now it’s time to take your child to the dentist – “the dishes can wait.” And they do wait, don’t they? Late that evening, you either stay up past midnight doing the dishes, or they are piled even higher and staring at you when you walk into the kitchen tomorrow morning.
Building daily cleaning habits into your life removes the procrastination. So the dishes are always done. If the dishes are done, life feels more manageable. You will enjoy that feeling and want more; you’ll find yourself throwing the junk mail away right away instead of setting it on your clean counter.
It works because you find confidence in your ability to manage something. Once you have a handle on the daily things; laundry, dishes, etc., taking on decluttering tasks won’t be so overwhelming.
No matter what is going on in life, make your daily home habits a priority and the stress and overwhelm of life will be less.
What does this look like?
Head into the kitchen right now and get started:
Pull out your trash can. (Replace the bag if needed.) Start picking up all the trash you see in your kitchen: leftover food scraps, junk mail, packaging, etc. Move quickly, don’t over-think. If it’s something that needs to be sorted before tossing, then skip over it. I want this to be as fast as possible so don’t let it take more than 20 minutes. (After you put this into your daily habits, it should take under 30 seconds.)
Once your trash bag is full, take it out to the garbage. If you have a few things piled up and needing to go to the trash, then do that now as well.
Trash disposed of? ❑
Wash a load of dishes. Just one load. If you have more, it’s ok, let them be, until it’s time to wash dishes again. Don’t spend hours doing this task, the point is to see something get done, not exhaust yourself.
Head into the kitchen and do a quick load of dishes. If you have a dishwasher, then ll it up and start the dishwasher. If you don’t have a dishwasher, then do a dish drainer full. Let it air dry while you do Step 3.
Dishes done? ❑
Wipe down the stove and counters that are already clear.
DO NOT start decluttering the counters. This exercise is simply to clean your current work areas.
Stove and counters wiped off ? ❑
Take 5 minutes to reward yourself for getting your routine accomplished. It doesn’t have to be 5 minutes alone or anything glamorous, but it needs to be something that you enjoy and can indulge in, without shame: sit and drink a cup of coffee, watch the news, check your email, browse Facebook, etc.
Typically those are things that we sneak in and feel ashamed of because we think we should be doing something more productive – but now you can sit and indulge yourself, knowing that you’ve already been productive today, you’ve earned 5 minutes of “me” time.
The reward is important. It helps cement the habit into place and makes you feel good about the work that you have put into it. Don’t be tempted to sleep in longer and skip the 5 minutes: make yourself a priority.
Had 5-minute break? ❑
Check out my morning routine:
Do your routine in the morning, and the evening.
Keep your chart hanging on the fridge or a cupboard door and check them off when you do them.