We just arrived home a few days ago, and I was so relieved when we walked in the door, and it was clean. Sheets washed, laundry done, counters empty. It was like stepping into a spa, all that was missing was the smell of eucalyptus.
But, my apartment wasn't always like this.
About all of the thousands of times before this, I would come home to a mess so terrible, and I would want to cry. A cry so desperate that I could feel my tear ducts drying up.
You see, I just couldn't understand how people kept a clean home. Between work, feeding myself, showering, hanging out with my boyfriend, and also hanging out with friends, there wasn't any time. I was always in a rush or tired. The concept of trying to clean in between all of those tasks was unfathomable.
When I did have a minute, my butt turned into cement, and I was incapable of leaving the couch. So, I'd turn on HGTV, and admire every single woman, especially Joanna Gains. As I was girl crushing, I judged myself for being lazy and messy.
After an hour of judgment, I would turn on Spotify 90s R&B, and "clean" my apartment.
- Clear counters by stuffing things into cabinets. Check.
- Overload my closets and drawers. Check.
- Take out the trash. Check.
- Put things away but not necessarily where they belonged. Check and check!
As "Always Be My Baby" finished, the place looked semi-livable.
Approximately four days later, the tornado I call, "Yazado" wrecks every open surface available. And the cycle continues.
Why is it impossible to keep my apartment looking nice?
In reviewing my everyday routine, there were clear signs of why Tornado Yazado was so disastrous. Rolling out of bed with zero time or intention to make it. Toiletries were covering every open surface in the bathroom. All potential outfits from the morning were scattered on the floor even if they were clean.
It wasn't any different when I got home. Throw my purse on the counter, leave my keys under the stack of mail, and my coats accumulate on "the chair." (everyone knows the chair I'm talking about... the one that stores pants, scarves, purses, mail, etc.). Then I change into PJs and leave my dirty clothes on the floor to mix with the clean ones from the morning. After I cook, crumbs and stains cover the counter and stove. Dirty dishes stay in the sink, and my butt stays on the couch watching TV until it's way past my bedtime.
Yep, my routine was the center of my grief and was affecting my overall mood and wellbeing. It was utterly frustrating and absolutely no way to live.
how can i fix my laziness?
I had to instill better habits, but I also had to uncover the root of the problem. It was clear I was choosing a lazy route, but why?
I noticed I was shutting down when I was home. Completely disconnected from everything. I rarely talked and only wanted to isolate myself with TV and social media. Which, honestly, made me feel even more unhappy.
The real truth, I was overworked. Stressed by work gossip and lousy management. The need to tip-toe and watch every word was exhausting. The final verdict: I hated work.
Wasting my time and energy on work, left me with nothing once I was home. It was clear; boundaries were necessary at work to maintain a happier home + mind.
Creating rules to live by at my job made it bearable to go for eight hours a day. It also gave me the energy I desperately needed to focus on me and my home. It was time to ditch bad habits and replace them with better practices.
Low and behold, these changes made me look like a mini Joanna #magnolialife. Coming home after exploring the world, made me love traveling even more.
If you want to master the art of a clean home, start implementing these habits:
Go to bed earlier
Going to bed just an hour earlier can make a difference to starting your day right. It may give you those extra restful Zz's and give you a little more time to get ready in the morning and pick up before you head out.
Make Your Bed.
Get out of bed. Shake the sheets into place. Fluff your pillows. And Done! Involve your partner to make it faster.
Don't know how to make a bed? This video shows you a way fancy way to make your bed, but you get the gist.
PUT THINGS AWAY.
It only takes a few seconds! Just do it!
- Need to straighten your hair? Put the flat iron away once you have done so.
- Finished brushing your teeth, put your toothbrush and toothpaste back into the holder/drawer.
- Have you finished making your favorite cup of joe? Put the coffee beans, milk, and honey or any ingredients you use back where they belong.
- Finished with dinner? Return spices and ingredients back into cabinets and the fridge.
Doesn't your place look and feel cleaner? #feelgoodhome
Doesn't your place look and feel cleaner? #feelgoodhome
LOAD & RUN THE DISHWASHER EVERY NIGHT.
If you don't have a dishwasher, I'm sorry. But this is a game changer. If you believe in hand washing, girl, get it together, it's time to leverage the magic of this beautiful machine. It is proven to save you money, time and probably your sanity.
If you swear by hand washing, don't leave them to pile up. Spend five minutes washing a few cups or dishes multiple times a day.
I also highly recommend, keeping a low stock of dishes. The boyfriend and I have a set of four: dinner plates, small plates, bowls, coffee mugs, and utensils. It's just enough to keep our dishwasher full every few days but little enough to never have an overflowing sink. So, if we did have to say farewell to our dishwasher, we wouldn't be overwhelmed with dishes.
CLEAN FOR FIVE-15 MINUTES A DAY.
I promise you if you spend five minutes a day cleaning up it will make an impact! But 15 minutes can change your life. Plus it doesn't take long to pick stuff up or put items away. It's when we spend too much time making everything look perfect or completing EVERY task that cleaning becomes a burden.
Set a timer for 15 minutes. Choose only one or two jobs: Hang up coats/shirts. Put Clothes away. Separate the laundry. Put load to wash. Etc. Turn on music or your favorite podcast and get moving.
TAKE TIME TO SETTLE IN.
After a long day of work, it's like my clothes melt into the floor. But making the habit, of settling once you get home can benefit your day-to-day.
Take the time to:
- Remove and put away your shoes
- Hang your keys where they are easy to find in the morning.
- Go through your purse and remove any trash and organize it if necessary.
- Open and sort mail.
- Remove jewelry and store pieces accordingly.
- Hang coats, scarfs, and your purse.
- Throw dirty laundry into the basket.
It's simple and a great habit to have once you come home. I promise you, it will make binge watching Stranger Things way better.
DEAL WITH IT.
Some tasks should be completed immediately to keep a clean home. Including, folding and putting laundry away; buying and storing groceries; opening, sorting and filing mail.
I get it; it's much easier and less work just to let it sit by the wayside. But the longer you wait, the more it feels like:
When these tasks are left half-done, it becomes tedious to finish. They also create bigger messes and may turn into a clutter abyss. You know what I'm talking about, the dirty laundry gets mixed with the clean laundry, and it's like you never washed in the first place.
Don't wait, deal with it!
The best way to keep your house clean is by continually letting go. Remember, just like life decluttering is a journey. We grow, make changes, and find new interests. Sometimes we outgrow our old interests, and we spend time doing new things. Appreciate your passions and continue to spend time doing things you love. But don't forget to get rid of anything that no longer carries a purpose in your life.
Although I hate to admit it, I was once an avid Backstreet Boy's fan. I spent Lots of money and time fawning over them, especially Kevin. (Those Eyebrows!) As a teenager, it was fun to have this stuff, but as I grew older, the memorabilia no longer served me. As much as it pained me to "throw that money away" it hurt me more to have it in my home collecting dust.
As you run through your daily routine, take a few moments to look a bit deeper into specific areas of your home. For example, say you're cooking, and you see a spice you haven't used in months, pour it out and throw it in the bin. Or perhaps, you're watching tv, and you see a stack of books on your shelf, ask yourself if you'll ever reread them. If the answer is no, you will not read them, donate said books. Perhaps you're searching for something under your sink, and you see a bottle of lotion you bought last year. You remember you didn't like the smell or the way it made your skin feel. Find a shelter to donate the cream or if you think it's expired, empty and recycle the bottle.
Notice how space opens up!
BUY WHAT YOU NEED.
I get it, we all get into a groove especially when we're busy. But buying the same groceries week after week means you're collecting and wasting.
Take the time to run through what you have before shopping. Refrain from buying your favorite items even when there's a deal or just because you always buy it.
Buying out of habit is dangerous. It means you're not paying attention to your actual needs and are not buying out of intention.
Once you take a few minutes to look through everyday household items and groceries will do wonders for your space and wallet. You may notice that you can save a few dollars by not buying weekly stock of pasta or another set of shampoo and conditioner.
FLIP THE SCRIPT.
I often come home dreading every small task and loathing every big job. The stress on my shoulders builds into a headache that lodges behind my right eye. And all I want to do is lay.
Instead of approaching must-do tasks with anger and frustration, flip the script. Approach cleaning with a smile. Pretend to enjoy it or think about the relief that comes with a clean home. It makes these tasks quicker and easier to complete.
It's science people!
LET GO OF PERFECTION.
This one is probably the hardest job out of everything on this list. As a recovering perfectionist, I'm continually looking for everything in my home to be PERFECT. Chasing this utopian vision was tiring. It made me feel like I was never doing enough like I wasn't enough, and I didn't have enough.. time, skills, etc. It's no way to live. We shouldn't judge or compare ourselves to these unachievable standards which lead to unhappiness.
Next time you do anything on this list, always repeat my favorite mantra: "I am doing enough. I have enough. I am enough."
I repeat this every night as I lay in bed or when I feel like the world is caving in on me. Coupling this with deep breathing brings a wave of calm we need to keep going.
Now you try!
These small changes have changed my life. I come home with an always semi-clean apartment. If there are a few days I get a little lazy, I don't have to stress about spending the entire weekend cleaning. My new habits and the regular decluttering make it easy to pick up. And I love it!
When I'm not myself, I dig a little deeper to understand what's holding me back from living the life I want. I create boundaries if needed, and make myself available to deal with it. That much-needed deep dive allows me to get back to my healthy routine.
I'm convinced that these must have habits will help you keep a tidy home too.
Do you have a favorite tip that helps you keep a tidy home? Share it in the comments below.
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