If you’ve been a living and breathing human since the start of the new year, chances are that you’ve seen some sort of blog post, article, or television show on how to declutter and get organized for the new year. Sure, we pack up the Christmas decorations, do a bit of reorganizing, and we feel productive when all the surfaces have been dusted and the baseboards are the cleanest they’ll be all year.
We’re motivated, proud, and feeling energized. So how do we keep that? How do we stay in front of the mess and clutter? Staying organized and tidy seems like a short lived resolution, and I most definitely do not have all the answers but I’ve found a few strategies that might help.
BREAK IT UP
There’s a few different ways I’ve found to do this. Personally I like going by both.
How often you should clean.
Is it something you should do daily? Weekly? Monthly? What about those pesky tasks that like changing the air filters or emptying the washer tray? Take each different task and decide when is best for you to do it. Some people feel the need to vacuum every day, some people only need to once a week. Do what you feel suits your lifestyle best!
For example, our dogs shed enough to build a whole extra dog every week, so I put “sweep dustbunnies” in my daily list and “vacuum” in my weekly list. That’s what works best for me, and while it might drive some people insane, it’s what works best for our family.
It’s easy to put down “dust” in your daily task list, but does that mean every surface in the house? Depending on the size of your home, certain tasks may be longer or shorter than you think. Breaking it down by room can help keep you from becoming overwhelmed.
Just think about daily tasks to keep your bedroom from becoming a pile of linens and lost earrings. Morning: make bed. Afternoon: put clean and dirty clothes away, put jewelry and small items in their respective bowls/baskets/drawers, and voila! You won’t wake up in the morning having to search Mount Everest for your bra and jacket.
Tackle one room at a time, and prioritize the things that are important to you. And be realistic! It’s nearly impossible to clean everything in every room every day unless that is your full time job.
HAVE A PLAN
When you get ready to clean, especially for your biggest tasks, have a game plan. Have your supplies at the ready so that you don’t waste time hunting down cleaning tools. If you’re going to deep clean the bathroom, go ahead and have everything you need in there with you. Less time going back and forth means less time wasted and less chance for becoming distracted.
Part of being able to have all your ducks in a row before you start the bigger jobs is to have your timeline written down! However you decide to break up the tasks, write them down and it somewhere that it won’t get hidden in a drawer. My husband and I keep ours on a calendar on the fridge. That way, when I grocery shop, I can just glance at it and make sure I have everything I need so that I’m not making excuses when it comes time to scrub down the oven.
This will also help you to remember those random, important, annual/biannual tasks that can be easily forgotten, like cleaning dryer vent pipes and having the chimney cleaned.
START FROM THE TOP DOWN
That means literally and figuratively.
If you vacuum the floor first and then wipe off the counters, you might end up doing more work than you had to in the first place. When you start from the top (dusting, countertops, decluttering) it’s easier to make progress towards the big things (vacuum, mop, scrub) without having to backtrack.
This also means sometimes you’ve got to start small to get to the big stuff. When you accomplish a few small tasks like clearing off the coffee table or organizing one drawer in your desk, it can give you the confidence and vision to move on to the bigger things. If you start with giant tasks like “organizing the whole office”, the difficulty, size, and vagueness of the task might just kill the confidence you need to tackle it.
BE AMBITIOUS BUT REALISTIC
When you’re making these plans, be realistic! Over achieving is great and all, but if you’re biting off more than you can chew right at the start, chances are you’ll get burnt out…which is what we’re trying to avoid!
Let me remind you, these are just my thoughts and what works from my own trial and error. I have yet to watch Marie Kondo’s show on netflix, so if you’re already #konmarimethod-ing everything at your house, I applaud you! New year, new clean, new start.
From my home to yours,