The thing that everyone is doing right now is Marie Kondo-ing their lives. I have yet to personally see the show for really one reason: I already live like Marie would want me to live.
I’m a regular purger.
I’m a conscious consumer. I rarely buy things on a whim, and regularly wait several weeks to see if the item is still on my mind. Only then do I go and make that purchase.
I’m also clean and uncluttered. I’ve always been a very clean person. I was raised by a very clean, albeit, slightly messy mother, and a germaphobic dad who is compulsively orderly. He has a system for everything, so, by default, so do I. Sometimes the system gets a kink in it: when I’m in a transitional phase (moving, holidays, etc.) or if I’m in a hectic phase (kids are sick, I’m swamped, etc) then things kind of fall apart, but I’m very good at getting the train back on the tracks. My husband is even very organized as well after having been married to me. He gets very frustrated by messiness now. Wife win!
All this to tell you that I might not be Marie Kondo, but I do know how to make and keep an orderly home without much time or money.
Here are some quick and easy tips to keep your space clean and orderly without a lot of effort:
1. Once a month, make it a point to get rid of five items. This can be clothes, decor, or even trash (think very nearly empty lotion bottles taking up prime real estate in the cabinet). But make it a point to purge regularly.
2. Open your mail as soon as it arrives and HANDLE it. I used to be terrible at this. Insurance papers and hospital bills stress me out. They’re complicated and I never know exactly what they mean, and so it’s easy for me to just let them pile up. I learned that this means that I’ve constantly got something nagging me in the back of my mind. I spare myself a lot of stress if I just rip the bandaid off and handle my business. If I get something in the mail, I try to never just magnet it to the fridge. I handle it right then and there. I call and pay the bill or I set up a payment plan. Whatever. I just handle it so I’m not always holding that mental reminder.
3. Be intentional all day. If you take something out to use, immediately put it away once you’re done. Did you try on a shirt and decide you didn’t want to wear it today? Hang it back up! Don’t just toss it aside. This adds messiness to not only your physical space, but to your mental space as well. Now you have something on your mental to do list that you could have just done right then and there when it was convenient, quick, and easy. Those to dos add up and believe it or not, they weigh on you. It’s better to just keep the later as clear as possible and handle your business in the now.
4. Do a ten minute pick up daily. Don’t think, just pick up. Zoom through your living spaces and put things back where they go. Take a laundry basket with you so that you can carry items that don’t belong with you. If you find something in the bathroom that belongs in the guest room, toss it in the basket, finish picking up the bathroom and put it back in the guest room when you get to that point in your house. Don’t waste time running all over the house. That leads to distractions and wastes your time. A great time to do this is right before bed. I try to never go to bed with a messy house. It helps me mentally to start everyday with a (literal) clean slate.
5. Pre-sort your laundry. Don’t just have one general hamper for all of the colors. Get a hamper for colors, darks, lights, and towels. This saves you time from having to dig and sort. Plus, it spares you from having to touch dirty underwear which can expose you to butt germs like e. coli. Yes, I went there, and it’s true. That way when it’s time to wash colors, you just dump your baskets into the washer. I have three of these labeled in both my and my husband’s closets. They come with pre-made labels if you don’t want to make your own.
6. Get bins for everything. Don’t leave things loose anywhere. Box things up. This helps to organize your storage spaces and keep them clean. It also helps you to pull things down when you need to look through them. And don’t just use random cardboard boxes. Go out and get nice storage boxes that you don’t hate looking at and that will last for years. Do you want to use the space under your bed for things? Get some storage bins that’ll fit. Don’t ever just stick things in places (good rule of thumb that you can apply in any situation, I think 😂). Having things nicely sorted, boxes, and labeled helps you access your things, because, after all, if you’re keeping them that means that you want to use them and/or see them regularly, right?
7. Follow a cleaning schedule. This is mine and you can print it here. I’ve found that cleaning just one room a day works for me. I’m a stay at home mom, so this is doable and necessary for me. Working moms might need to do a massive one day clean. My (super) mom always did it that way. I can’t afford to set aside an entire day from my kids to clean the house top to bottom, but I can afford to set aside an hour or two to clean one space. Plus, following a schedule ensures that things get done regularly…like cleaning the baseboards or washing sheets. I don’t live and die by this schedule. Some weeks, cleaning isn’t possible (re: sick kids), and I don’t get around to some rooms. I don’t let it get to me. I know that I’ll get around to it the next week. I like to keep this schedule in a laminated sleeve in my household binder. I just use an Expo marker to cross off the chores as I get them done!
Well, those are my hot tips! I’m sure that you already knew of some of them, but maybe you weren’t convinced of their effectiveness! These are tried and true around my place and it usually, barring illness or a crazy day zipping around, stays very clean!