When you were a kid did your mom put you in your room and tell you not to come out until it was clean?
Did you look around and and become overwhelmed by the amount of work it would take to clean it?
Do you wonder how, just by living you can create such a mess?
Tidy people do live better lives. Even beyond the beauty of a clean and nice living space, tidy people don’t lose things and have to dig through mountains of stuff just to find them.
Tidy people do not have that weekend joy killer of having to do massive amounts of work to get their space sort of clean.
How do they do it? Are they magic? Do they send their entire lives cleaning?
The answer to this question is that somewhere along the line they discovered the habits that allowed them to stay tidy.
If you are not a “tidy person” and you like the idea of clean and organized spaces, you are not a slob, you just have not been taught how to do it.
There is no magic, there are only tidy person habits.
1. They clean as they go
If you watched a tidy person cook while at the same time watching a non-tidy person cook, you would see a big difference.
The tidy person uses a pot or pan and when he is done, he washes it or puts it in the dishwasher. The non-tidy person ends up having to work around the dirty dishes and has trouble finding what he needs to continue.
Cleaning as you go does two things. It keeps you from having a huge mass of clean up to do when you are done cooking and it gets rid of clutter so that you don’t have to dig through it looking for what you need.
2. They have a designated space for everything
The tidy person has put thought into where things will go when setting up a space or moving into a new one. The location and sizes of the spaces make sense and if it is not working, the tidy person changes it rather than leaving it the way it is.
3. They get rid of things they don’t need
Some people have a big problem with this and seemingly cannot get rid of something that they feel someday might be useful.
This can get to the point where they don’t get rid of old magazines because they paid for them or there might be some article they need someday.
The bottom line is that life is a flowing in and a flowing out of stuff. There are very few items that one buys and needs to keep for twenty years. If your closets are stuffed with things you have not used in years, get rid of them.
How do you know you should get rid off something? There is the “two year rule” that advocates getting rid of something if you haven’t used it for two years. That is not the best approach.
I prefer the approach where you look at your questionable item and decide whether you would buy it today. If the answer is no, and it is no in a surprising number of cases, send it off to the Goodwill or put it on Craig’s list.
Of all the habits I am giving you, getting rid of clutter rates highly. You cannot find anything if your house is filled with junk.
Additionally, every item you have takes up tiny bit of your attention whether you realize it or not. Your stuffed closet upstairs that you have not confronted in years takes some of your attention every day.
Get rid of all your clutter and you will feel a huge sense of freedom.
4. They don’t leave things on the floor
Stacks of books next to the bed, your pants from last night, clothes that have been worn once and are therefore in the clothing purgatory of not clean but not dirty, all seem to end up on the floor or draped somewhere they don’t belong.
These things become piles and soon you can’t walk through a space in a straight line.
Make a rule that nothing that doesn’t belong on the floor, stays on the floor even if it is only for a short time.
5. They put things in their designated spaces
Walk through your kitchen right now and look at the counter tops. See how many things are there that do not belong in a kitchen or in the space they are in.
Old mail piled up, items that no one knows where they go, old keys and even grocery items left out create clutter and make life more difficult.
This ties in well with #1, clean as you go.
Review your mail and trash the stuff you don’t need. If you have mail that needs action, put a basket somewhere designated for pending mail. Go through and handle your pending mail each week so that doesn’t pile up too.
If there are a bunch of things left out on the counter that don’t belong there, put them away or get rid of them.
Go through every room in your house and look for items that are not where they should be. Then put them away.
If you get in the habit of putting things away immediately after you use them, your space will stay tidy.
If you find yourself always looking for an item and never finding it (scissors, for example) it means you have not designated a space for it or someone has not put it back.
The time and frustration you save in not looking for things over and over is tremendous with this simple change in habits.
6. They reorganize every so often
I have a small closet. It really is inadequate for my needs but I have to make it work. For this reason I go through it every so often looking for things I can get rid of.
I reorganize my clothes so that winter tops are in one area, summer tops in another, dresses in another, etc. In the way I can see exactly what I have.
The benefit of this is that sometimes you forget about clothes you have bought. It can be like shopping in your closet.
7. They clean something every day.
Waiting till the weekend to clean the entire house is overwhelming. A tidy person breaks up the chores.
Kitchen and bathroom counter tops and fixtures can be done on a certain day and floors another day. Dusting certain parts of the house can be done in between.
If you break up the cleaning chores, you never have a weekend where you have to clean the entire house.
It frees you up to enjoy your weekends.
The added benefit is that your house is always in pretty good shape.
8. If there is a big cleaning project, they confront one part of it at a time.
When my son was little, his room would get very messy. I would tell him to clean it and he would be overwhelmed. He was miserable and his room never got clean.
One day I went in and together we cleaned one corner. This made him happy and motivated him to do more. We cleaned another corner and soon the whole room was clean.
Let’s face it, no one likes big cleaning projects so breaking them down and even putting parts of them on separate days makes them something that you can confront and do.
8. They always have cleaning supplies on hand and together where they can find them.
When I buy cleaning products, I buy 4 of everything. I have three bathrooms and a kitchen. I also bought four baskets where I put all my cleaning supplies for each of these rooms. This way they are there if I have a few minutes and want to clean something.
I also never need to run around trying to find the cleaning supplies I need.
9. They never go to bed with dishes in the sink
If you have followed #1, clean as you go, you won’t be left with tons of dishes that need washing and ingredients that need to be put away.
Dirty dishes in the sink is a germ’s paradise. Food left unrefrigerated for even a couple of hours starts to become toxic. Leaving your dishes with food on them overnight makes them hard to clean and more likely to make you sick from food poisoning.
10. They get others to help
Part of keeping tidy is getting others to help you. This requires training those who cannot seem to keep their spaces clean. If you take the time to help them confront cleaning, and if you teach them to clean as they go, you will be doing them a big favor and helping yourself at the same time.
Now look around your space. Get up and clean something. It can be small but it will make you feel better and more in control of your environment.
Write me and let me know how it goes.