In my work as a professional organizer, I help people declutter and organize their homes. Cleaning tends to be a small part of this process. It is nonetheless an important part. I recently read an inspiring article on cleaning, “The Powerful Psychology Behind Cleanliness” at the Psychology Today website.
The article points out compelling evidence for cleanliness thus encouraging us to keep a neat, clean home. We all know that it is easier to keep a home clean when it is clutter free; the two go hand in hand. With this in mind, here are some time-saving methods to keep our spaces decluttered, clean and healthy.
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- Support system: Designate homes for these things such as hooks, baskets, and cubbies near the entry that is used most often.
MAIL Manage mail as soon as it comes into your home.
- Support system: Recycle bin for ads, envelopes and glossies. Clipboard for bills to be paid, sorted in chronological order. Reading box for newspapers and magazines. Contemplation folder for decisions to be made with deadlines noted.
TRASH Bring out trash on a weekly basis including kitty litter.
- Support system: Locate new bags near trash cans. Keep a trash can in every room, if necessary, so that trash does not accumulate on surfaces.
BATHROOM Wipe shower after each use and sweep bathroom at least weekly.
- Support system: Keep a squeegee and/or rag handy for this purpose. Also, keep a broom and dustpan in the bathroom so there is no excuse to delay sweeping. Provide ample bars/hooks for wet towels.
KITCHEN Wash dishes after every meal or load into dishwasher.
- Support system: Maintain clear counters to facilitate loading/unloading the dishwasher. Keep wet garbage in freezer until trash day to eliminate rotting food odors. Designate a home for everything.
LAUNDRY Keep an eye on the volume of dirty clothes or establish a laundry day. Wash laundry as soon as there is a full load of whites, colors or special. Fold and put away as soon as possible.
- Support system: Maintain basket(s) in strategic locations(s) to collect dirty clothes. (Hampers are difficult to empty.) There must be a home for every piece of clothing and plenty of room in closets, drawers, and shelves to put things away easily.
VACUUMING Vacuum on a regular basis; use a brush attachment for dusting.
- Support system: Choose one or more practical, easy to use vacuum cleaners and store in convenient locations. Keep a stick vac (behind a door) for quick jobs and a lightweight canister (back hall) with various attachments for regular cleaning.
CLUTTER Control clutter by keeping on top of it. Be mindful of clutter.
- Support system: Put away what you get out. If a task takes two minutes or fewer do it right away. Invest time to establish homes for everything. Only current book, magazine, and project are left out but tidy. Be aware of what is not being used anymore. Declutter constantly.
Yes, decluttering and cleaning as you go takes discipline at first. But once habits are established (on average it takes 66 days) they are – well – habits. Decluttering and cleaning become manageable rather than overwhelming. Imagine the benefits: you will feel good about yourself, proud of your home, experience fewer visual distractions, have a healthier environment, and enjoy a positive outlook.