Evan used to joke that if I ever went missing the police would know exactly what I was doing because I didn’t clean up after myself. A half cup of coffee would be left on the counter, the bathroom light would be on, blender still dirty from lunch, and a face-down book left out on the counter. He wasn’t wrong.
I just accepted my messy state. It’s who I am. I wasn’t raised in a neat environment, and I was creative so I often got really excited about a project, like painting, would channel all of my energy into that thing and then abandon it when I was tired. This explains why I’ve had to replace so many ruined paint brushes over the years. But it was one of my quirks and I was cool with it. That is, until I actually lived in a clean place.
After getting back from Colorado, our apartment has been in a state of disarray that we’re not really used to. Since I work from home, I’m typically the one that does most of the cleaning because I have the time and usually need a break. Yesterday we were getting on the elevator to leave and I apologized for being a messy person (and the fact that I hadn’t really unpacked since we got back) because I know it stresses him out. Evan looked at me and said “Well it’s cool, you’re not a messy person, not anymore.”
This made me feel so, so good. I had focused and effectively changed a behavior I dreaded in myself for so long, and I didn’t even realize it! After doing a little happy dance, I wanted to sit down and talk about how I did it with easy actionable items that will ultimately reduce stress and help you experience more calm in your everyday life.
CHALLENGE YOURSELF NOT TO BE LAZY
Lazy people bother me, and so I make it a point for myself not to be lazy. Does it always work? No, but it gives me a little extra drive. This mindset has really changed things for me. It helps me not to ignore small messes (like cleaning out a coffee mug when I’m finished) and really take pride in a clean apartment.
Ok, so this is scratching the surface of this REALLY big bullet point. You know what’s easier than hanging twenty shirts? Hanging ten shirts. The less you have, the easier it is to clean and organize and the better you will feel. This documentary got me started, and you can read more in depth about minimalism here.
USE IT AS A TIME TO DECOMPRESS
Who said cleaning and organizing has to feel like a chore? I’ve been bingeing the My Favorite Murder Podcast lately, and I’ll put it on my bluetooth speaker while I clean. It makes the mundane tasks require less mental energy because I’m listening to something I really enjoy. I will use a podcast to time myself to finish cleaning so that I have a sense of urgency and the task doesn’t drag out for hours.
SET SMALL CLEANING GOALS EACH DAY
It’s not realistic to expect yourself to have the energy to do a complete clean of your house everyday. Put 1-3 items on your cleaning to-do list and make sure to get those things done everyday. A typical list for me would be bathroom, dishes, laundry. These tasks really only take me 30 minutes total (at most) and I feel really productive for the rest of the day. If the closet happens to be messy, the momentum I feel by cleaning one area will inspire me to clean other areas and then I feel even better because it feels less like a chore and more like a choice. This list should be manageable and so easy you won’t procrastinate doing it.
If you’re not ready to take on full fledge minimalism, start with decluttering your house. With each item you should ask yourself:
- does it bring me joy?
- does it add value to my life?
If the answer is no to both questions, you probably can do without the item. You can play the minimalism game to help you get started!
ASSOCIATE A CLEAN HOUSE WITH POSITIVE EMOTIONS
When your place is clean, take a little time to treat yo self. Make a nice cup of coffee or relax and read a book for 30 minutes. Use it as an excuse to be lazy for a bit because after all, you crushed the cleaning items on your to-do list!
What are some things you do to make sure you have a clean and stress-free home?
Thanks for stopping by!