Most people are not big fans of spring cleaning, and that’s understandable. While we all have something we’d rather be doing than cleaning up a cluttered house or apartment, the truth is that cleaning is definitely a necessary part of feeling like your living space is your actual home.
I’m as likely as anyone to procrastinate on the cleaning, but the truth is that you’re going to feel better about your home and your life when your living area is clean. You’ll be able to relax and you’ll feel less stressed and more mentally sharp. This isn’t just an opinion, but it is something that has been scientifically proven. That stress you feel from having to clean isn’t just the stress of having so much to do – it’s the accumulated stress over time from not having an orderly living area.
So what can we “cleaning procrastinators” do to organize the clutter and enjoy the benefits that come with a clean house? Fortunately, there are several tips that make the process easier and less painful for those of us who generally can’t stand cleaning – even when we do understand the benefits.
Tip 1: Understand the Benefits of Cleaning
Study up on the benefits of living in a clean house, and really revel in the feeling when you have it. The lack of stress, the clear thinking, the ability to have people drop in without feeling any stress or shame – these are all great motivators. If you focus on what benefits you’re getting from cleaning instead of the to do list you really don’t want to tackle, you’ll not only be happier but you will enjoy those benefits a lot more deeply, as well.
Tip 2: Kaizen the Hardest Tasks
There’s a Japanese management style called Kaizen, which represents constant improvement in the smallest incremental steps possible. You hate doing dishes? Then just do one every time you get up from watching TV, or every time you pass through the kitchen. Do this without fail until it becomes a habit – it’s just one dish, after all, or a small handful of silverware. This doesn’t seem like much, but it adds up to a full load if you get up 20-25 times (and you get up and move around a lot more than you think).
If you tend to have 20-30 minutes of good cleaning time in you, focus on only one room then. The next day, do another room. Eventually you have a clean house with only maintenance necessary. Doing even one basic step is better than nothing at all – and you’ll be amazed how quickly it adds up.
Tip 3: Don’t Overwhelm Yourself
This is one I’m guilty of plenty of times myself. Have you ever set the goal to clean the entire house and then 8 hours later somehow virtually nothing was done? Trying to tackle a task that’s overly big or challenging can cause you to shut down mentally. This is where Kaizen can help again: tackle just one specific task at a time and don’t think about the big picture if it’s going to overwhelm you. Tackle one thing at a time and focus on that feeling of accomplishment.
Tip 4: Maintenance Is Easier Than Re-Cleaning
Okay – so you’ve gone through the hard work of cleaning your home. You don’t want to go through that mess again, so make sure to dedicate yourself to small maintenance. Do three dishes when you go into the kitchen instead of letting the sink build up. Spend a measly 5 minutes cleaning clutter each day. Hang up your coat instead of throwing it on the floor.
If you keep focusing on making these little things daily habits, and on the great feeling you get from a clean home (seriously – revel in this – you’ve earned it), the good habits will be easier to keep and you’ll be amazed how easy keeping a home clean can become.