Imagine your dream beach house. Clean, white-washed walls, wooden floors, interiors accented in sea greens and soft yellows leading out to a pale-driftwood balcony overlooking Bondi. It doesn’t matter if your description matches this or not, the one thing your dream house doesn’t include is a mess. A clean, tidy house is part of this dream and it’s a lot easier to achieve than you might think.
Here are five simple steps:
1) Decide to Start
The first, and hardest, step is starting. This isn’t a chance for you to say ‘I will start this weekend’ or ‘I will start when I next have a day off’. You need to tell yourself ‘I will start now’. What method of cleaning and tidying will work best for you? Marie Kondo, author of “The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up”, recommends doing it all at once.
Blocking out time and committing to decluttering your house and your life. This method won’t work for everyone, in particular people with disabilities or illnesses, so start yourself off with manageable blocks, whether it be 20 minutes or 5 minutes, combined with breaks to make progress.
2) Where to Start
Start with the rooms you spend the most time in, tidying and cleaning these rooms will have the largest positive effect for you; these may be your bedroom, kitchen, bathroom, or living room. Discard everything you don’t need. Any odd bits of rubbish and paper, followed by the assorted junk and ephemera you’ve collected over the years.
Look at the things in the room and decide what you truly need and truly love. Are you ever going to get that clock fixed? (Be honest). Do you still like that poster you have on the wall? Be ruthless and honest about your possessions; leave your house filled only with things that make you feel happy and loved.
3) How to Tidy
Once you’ve finished discarding it’s time to start the process of tidying. Be careful not to start this step until you have finished getting rid of the things you don’t need. “As soon as you think, “I wonder if it will fit in this drawer,” the work of discarding comes to a halt,” Kondo says. In her book she recommends giving everything you own a place in your home. “The reason every item must have a designated place is because the existence of an item without a home multiplies the chances that your space will become cluttered again,” she explains.
4) How to Clean
Clean top-to-bottom. Start with high shelves and picture frames and dust and wipe your way down to floor level. Always sweep and vacuum a room last so that you pick up and dust and dirt you knocked off the high places. Clean your windows and mirrors – take a break to marvel at your shiny, new reflection – dust any ornaments and lampshades, and wash any sheets and blankets in use.
5) How to Maintain
Make your bed every morning. Keep everything in its designated spot. If you use something, return it to its designated spot afterwards. Go through your house every night before you go to bed and return the items trying to escape to their places. And finally, take pleasure in your beautiful, tidy home and let it inspire happiness and pride in you throughout the day.
By Alex Bodnaruk
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