If you’re anything like me, it feels like you’re always tidying up and that as soon as you finish, it needs doing again.
In my case, I’ll spend all day chipping away at the tidying up, and by the time that everything is done, I’m ready to go to bed. Then, when I wake up in the morning, the place is a tip again.
That’s why in today’s article, I’ve made it my mission to fix my messy ways and to find ten habits of people who always have a tidy home. Although perhaps it’s just a way of procrastinating and stopping me from tidying up.
Let’s take a look.
1) A place for everything…
…and everything in its place.
This is a tip that I picked up from my mum, who’s obsessive when it comes to finding places for things. Everything has a special place, from the scissors on a hook in the tool cupboard to the special box she has for her incense.
I’m obsessive in a different way, so everything I own is alphabetised. My books are alphabetised by author surname, author first name and book title, and all of my records (yes, I collect those) are alphabetised by artist and album name.
The point I’m trying to make here is that if everything has a place, it’s much easier to make sure that things are stored in those places. Your house will look a lot tidier, but it’ll also be easier to find things.
2) Put things back after use
If everything has a place, it makes it much easier for you to put things back after you’ve used them. That’s important because if you don’t do it, you’ll end up with junk scattered throughout your house.
This is another tip that I’ve already put into practice, and it’s already made a huge difference. When everything has a place and I make sure I put it back after I use it, it becomes a whole lot easier to keep things clean and tidy.
It takes a little discipline, but like any new habit, once you get used to it, it becomes second nature.
3) Always make the bed in the mornings
Speaking of things that become second nature, it’s a good idea to get used to making your bed as soon as you get up in the morning. There’s a reason why they teach you to do this in the army.
It may sound like a small thing, but an unmade bed can make a huge difference to the way that a room looks. Also, if you can get into the habit of making the bed when you wake up, it instills a sense of discipline that you can carry over into other areas of your life.
Once you get used to making the bed each morning, you can start to add other things to your routine, which brings me on to the next point.
4) Don’t put things off if they only take a minute
Get used to doing things as soon as you realize that they need doing. For example, if you’ve just had dinner, do the washing up as soon as you finish. If you spot that a bin needs emptying, do it right away instead of letting it overflow.
Quickly evaluate how long something’s going to take and if it’s less than five minutes, do it now. If it’s going to take longer, add it to your to-do list.
5) Have a to-do list
Ah, to-do lists. My one true love.
I’m a creature of habit who loves to be organized, which makes it even weirder that I’m a messy guy. I swear by to-do lists to keep myself organized, at least when it comes to my work, and I’ve found that having one for my chores helps a lot, too.
I use Microsoft ToDo, but there are plenty of other apps and tools out there. I prefer cloud-based tools because I can access them from any device and because they’re not paper-based, so there’s no chance of me losing them.
Split your tasks into daily, weekly and monthly tasks and make sure you check in every day to work through them. If your to-do tool supports it, you can also set up repeating to-dos so you don’t have to keep adding the same task again and again.
6) Clean as you go, especially when cooking
Going back to the idea of putting things back after you use them, you should try to do the same if you make a mess. If you put your coffee down and realize that it’s left a mark behind, get off your butt and clean it up.
If you’re anything like me, you’re particularly messy when cooking. I like to get creative in the kitchen, but that also leaves sauces splattering everywhere and a half dozen pans in the sink.
I’ve found that if I clean as I go, tackling it a bit at a time while I’m waiting for onions to fry or water to boil, it makes it much easier for me to keep the kitchen clean and tidy.
7) No shoes in the house
This one’s an oldie but a goodie, and it’s one that I learned from my older and more conservative relatives.
It’s as simple as this: take your shoes off before you go inside the house, and make sure that your visitors do the same. Get yourself a shoe rack if you don’t have one already so that you can keep your footwear tidy when you’re not wearing them.
8) Get rid of things that serve no purpose
From a lesson that I learned from my relatives to one that I learned from Marie Kondo, the idea here is to get rid of anything that you never use.
I have a little storage space in the bedroom and so if I think I’m not going to use something, I put it into storage and leave it there. Then, every 3-6 months, I sort through what I have and toss anything that I haven’t used.
The bad news is that this one takes a fair amount of effort. The good news is…
9) Make it smell nice
…that this one doesn’t.
True, just because your house smells nice, it doesn’t necessarily mean that it’s tidy. With that said, you might be surprised. I have automatic air fresheners and often light incense and wax melts, and I find that it makes a huge difference to how I perceive the space I’m in.
On top of that, if your house smells nice, you’re going to be motivated to make it clean and tidy so that the look matches the smell. And don’t get me started about how nice it is to come home to a nice smelling house after putting up with the various stenches on public transport.
10) Get a cleaner
Speaking of coming home to a nice smelling house, it’s also nice to come home to a house that’s been cleaned and tidied while you were out.
I’ll be honest, I never thought I’d be able to afford a cleaner, but I’ve realized recently that it’s well worth the money. It doesn’t have to cost a fortune, and even if I just get a monthly clean for a couple of hours, it saves me from having to do it.
Because let’s face it, I won’t do it.
There’s another advantage to getting a cleaner, which is that if you want to get your money’s worth, you’re going to want to tidy up before they come round. Otherwise, they’re just going to spend their time tidying when they could be cleaning.
And on that note, I’ve spent too much time writing and not enough time tidying up. I’ll catch you later, I’ve got an apartment to clean.