Overcoming messy homes has become a pandemic in itself. You can tell just by the dozens of organizing consultants and gurus that have popped up in the past decade alone. Go to your local bookstore and you’ll have a section specifically aimed at cleanliness authored by the top names in the industry. Private individuals and corporations are hiring professionals to reclaim their homes and offices from the chaos of their own making, and furniture stores are making millions selling items that will help people stay organized.
While there’s nothing wrong with getting help, all these resources do make you feel like cleaning is the big bad wolf of your life. Worse, the only way to defeat it is to hire your own infantry. If you’re serious about winning this battle long-term, then you have to first nurture the correct beliefs about creating a clean home.
Wrong Place, Right Place
Oftentimes, people do have enough storage space for their things. Their wardrobes are big enough, their shoe racks spacious enough, and their cupboards plenty enough. So, what’s really causing all your belongings to sit out in the open where they don’t belong? The answer is quite simple: you don’t return them to their proper place.
A major part of staying organized is developing this habit. What you get, you have to return to its appropriate storage. Before you march into IKEA armed with your new credit card, allot enough time to declutter. Identify where things should go and how you can maximize the space you already have.
Never prioritize aesthetics over practicality. If you’re used to leaving your handbag, car keys, and wallet beside the front door, don’t assign a place for them near the living room. Get that vanity in your hallway for this purpose to increase your chances of success. If you feel as though you’re not able to maximize your living space because of long-standing damages to your walls and fixtures, hire an experienced home repair specialist to patch them up for you. What you need right now may not be an organizing consultant but a contractor that will help you improve what you already have.
The Minimalism Trap
Minimalism is such a compelling lifestyle. In a world where people are always competing for material wealth, it’s tempting to step back and let minimalism remind you of what truly matters. If you’ve tried and failed at becoming a minimalist, then there are a lot of reasons for this.
The most common is that you believe there’s a single mold for this lifestyle. While books and gurus will give you magic numbers that work for them, there’s no single guidebook that can determine whether or not you’re a genuine minimalist. Different people have different needs, which makes one approach inapplicable to all.
The second prevailing reason is that minimalism is not for you at all. You may simply need to curb your hoarding habits and conquer your shopping impulses. You just have to accept that some people thrive in this kind of lifestyle, while you thrive in one that’s not exactly minimalist, but also not excessive. What you need now more than ever is balance, and that can help you achieve the orderliness in your home that you’ll truly feel good about.
A Marathoner Mindset
Another pitfall that a lot of people are victims of is the mindset that cleaning should be a marathon. Once you start, you have to continue until the living room, bedrooms, toilets, and even the garden are spotless. This idea makes it difficult to find enough time to do it, and when you finally come round to setting a date, the prospect of cleaning becomes debilitating. Another factor that can worsen this approach is that you’ll tend to make as much mess as possible until your scheduled marathon cleaning because you’ll “clean them up soon” anyway.
It’s a recipe for disaster that you can fix by allotting realistic time frames and including breaks. Set twenty minutes per room and identify beforehand what exactly needs fixing. How do you plan to execute this, and what tools do you need? Take breaks between each session to keep yourself from getting overwhelmed.
Your Standard of Cleanliness
At the end of the day, you also have to embrace that everybody’s standard of cleanliness is different. There are criteria you have to meet for health and safety reasons but don’t aim to have the spotless bedroom of a single professional if you’re a mother of triplets. Aim for your best, and always be realistic. Lasting order in your house can only happen when you address the real issues, cultivate the right mindset and practice discipline in putting things back where they belong.