For many people, myself included, being tidy and organized doesn’t come naturally. We tire of constantly fighting the second law of thermodynamics in our living spaces, and, dang it, spotless surfaces just aren’t our priority in life. That being said, I would prefer to live in a clean, uncluttered environment. Thus, for day-to-day life, I hold on to a few simple mantras to serve as motivation for tidying up my home. Perhaps they will help you out as well:
1) Complete the Task
How many times have your started a household chore or project – folding the laundry, sorting through old papers, decorating the walls – but stopped partway through? In our homes, we have the freedom to leave projects unfinished or dishes unwashed. In an attempt to counteract this tendency, I developed a very basic mantra for myself – complete the task. It provides a useful nudge to prioritize the unfinished chores or projects before starting any new ones.
- Just cooked a delicious dinner, but thinking of leaving the dishes for tomorrow? Complete the task.
- Paid some of your monthly bills, but letting a few linger? Complete the task.
- Started organizing the pantry last weekend but never finished? Complete the task.
2) Gone in 60 Seconds
Admit it – you sometimes neglect to do the most basic of tasks, such as:
- Putting a used dish directly into the dishwasher
- Hanging up a piece of clothing you’ve decided not to wear
- Putting the new roll of toilet paper on the holder
- Filling the ice cube tray or the Brita pitcher
What do all of these tasks have in common? They all take less than a minute to complete. One rule that I’ve found very useful for household management is to never put off a chore that can be conquered in 60 seconds or less. A minute here and there should have little effect on your day. But if you continually put off the quick, easy chores for a couple of days, you’ll wind up with a major clean-up on your hands. I try to keep the 60 second rule at the forefront of my mind, so that I don’t procrastinate on simple tasks. Conquering the low-hanging fruit of chores keeps a house clean and livable.
3) A Place for Everything, and Everything in Its Place
This time-tested saying has definitely helped me organize my living space. To abide by it, every item in your home should have its own “place,” or a spot where it belongs. This goes not just for the obvious pairings – socks in the sock drawer – but for every knick-knack, piece of paper, food item, and toiletry. If an item doesn’t have a proper place, then you must either make a place for it, or get rid of the item. This doesn’t mean you have to get rid of all the miscellaneous or useless items in your home, but it does mean they need a designated spot, even if it’s just in the “junk box” under your bed. Once this rule is enforced, then cleaning & organizing becomes a matter or returning everything to its proper place. I think this feels much less daunting.
Do you have any mantras or rules that you use to keep your living space in order? I’d love to hear other suggestions, as I am always striving for a cleaner, less-cluttered home!