I don't know about you, but a clean and organized home, allows me to be exponentially more productive. When my space is clean and fresh, my mind is sharp and clear. In fact, right before sitting down to write this post, I spent 1-hour cleaning/tidying/doing laundry. Not only am I more productive in a clean home, but I also feel more vibrant and energized. When I live in a mess, I find I am quicker to fall into laziness and tiredness. Messiness truly affects my mental and emotional health (...let's just say that sentiment makes me nervous for kids, haha!)
However, I am not unique in my relationship between cleanliness and productivity. Our physical environment massively impacts our overall health. A desire to control our environment is a basic human desire -- and method of survival! (Duke Integrative Medicine). We crave stability and predictability in our environment (Duke Integrative Medicine). It's no wonder a carefully crafted home can bring peace and relaxation.
As reasonable as the desire to control our environment is, it is not reflective of reality. Simply put, we are often not able to control our physical environment. Thus, I want to offer you a helping hand. Although we are unable to control our environment at all times (if only! ;)), I want to offer you my 10 tried and true tips to help maintain some sense of order. These ten tips will help you keep your sanity and allow you to clean/tidy your home in a timely and efficient manner.
1. Set a timer: Choosing how much time I am going to dedicate to tidying or cleaning, helps the task feel less daunting. Often times if the task looks overwhelming, simply starting is the hardest part. If we decide to dedicate only, for example, 30 minutes to cleaning, it makes starting less intimidating. (Also, I found when I set my timer, I tend to choose to keep going after my timer ends because I have gotten into my groove). **Be sure you only clean while your timer is going. Don't allow yourself to get sidetracked! Also, use a timer when...
You are running on a short time budget. Try to compete with yourself to see how much you can get done before your timer goes off.
Time the tasks you hate. Often times I've realized the tasks I dread can take as little as 5 minutes! Knowing how long a dreaded task takes can help motivate you to do it.
2. Focus on one room at a time: When everything is a mess, it is hard to know where to begin. By starting in one room, or with one task, you stay focused and encouraged! Focus on solely completing a task (the dishes, the kitchen, getting the laundry started, cleaning up the bedroom...) before moving to another task.
3. Listen to music/a podcast or talk on the phone *with headphones: Make the task enjoyable! You don't just need to be scrubbing a toilet...why not scrub a toilet and listen to a personal development podcast?! This helps the time go quicker and distracts us from the boring tasks. Be sure to use headphones when talking on the phone so you can be efficient and use both hands to clean.
4. Make Lists: Create a realistic list of what you can and will accomplish. Remember, this list is not a wish list. The list helps hold you accountable, and also adds the satisfaction of checking the box!
5. Add five minutes of margin into each mess causing activity throughout the day: When we leave 5 minutes of margin, we can clean up as we go. When your kids are old enough to understand, encourage them to clean up their toys after they are done playing. Take time to help them put things away. Leave time to clean as you go while you are cooking. Leave time to put away your clothes when you change. Leave time to put away your makeup in the morning. Leave time to put your dishes in the dishwasher/sink after eating. Creating little pockets of time goes a long way in keeping your home tidy.
6. Light a candle/diffuse oils as you clean: Not only does this make the experience more enjoyable, it also helps set the mood of cleanliness and tidiness. We light candles to set a mood -- so set the mood to clean!
7. Eliminate clutter: Don't keep unnecessary things. Y'all, we own so dang much. I can almost guarantee if you are reading this blog, you own things you don't need. ELIMINATE THEM. Donate your things to someone who could use it more than you, or dump it! Purge the old magazines, receipts, the out of style/non-fitting clothes, the broken toys, the old papers, the expired food. Additionally, try to keep counter space clean, and make sure everything is in its place. When each item has a place, you will be less susceptible to leaving items out.
8. Designate a junk drawer: Ok, speaking of eliminating clutter and making sure everything has a place, I know there are just those items that don't have a place. Let those items go in your junk drawer. I know this seems counterproductive to tidying, but I am realistic. Everyone needs one place for those hard to categorize, random items. By being realistic and designating a spot, we eliminate clutter.
9. Fluff the pillows: Something about fluffed pillows, pushed in couch cushions, and folded blankets make everything feel tidier, cohesive, and like your life is put together (even when it's not;)).
10. Say Goodbye to Cords: Chargers and long cords running along your floor look messy. Be creative. Hide them behind cabinets, the couch, or choose to put them away after using them.
That's all! Implement those simple ten tricks, and your house will feel fresher, and your mind clearer in no time!