Keeping some control over our environment is an important human need. We all know how therapeutic it can be to clean out a drawer or cupboard – and we also know how overwhelming and dispiriting a messy home can be.
It’s a mistake to think you have to clean your whole home all at once. If you’ve got too much to do, you generally end up doing nothing and feeling bad about it. Break it all down into manageable chunks, write yourself a daily and weekly schedule, and follow it.
As the philosopher said, “accomplish great things when they are small”. When your home is back under control, acquire the habit of keeping things clean and tidy on a rolling basis. For example, rinse your breakfast bowl and put it in the dishwasher immediately after use, rather than adding it to an ever growing pile of dirty dishes.
Here are some more tips for keeping your home clean as you go along.
1 – make your bed every morning, even if that’s just a case of straightening the duvet and pillows. The psychological benefits of a tidy bed seem to radiate through the whole house, and it’s lovely to be able to slip into a neatly made bed at the end of the day.
2 – sinks are another nerve center of domestic order. Keep the kitchen sink free of dirty dishes, by dealing with them as they arise, and keep the bathroom sink sparkling by wiping after every use.
3 – invest in pre-moistened wipes. These can be used to clean round sinks, oven tops, toilet seats and so on.
4 – invest in a hand held vacuum, and zap detritus as soon as it appears.
5 – things left at the bottom of the stairs or piled on tables become invisible, but continue to radiate unsettling vibes. If something needs to be taken upstairs or put away, take it upstairs or put it away, there and then.
6 – recycle newspapers and magazines as soon as you’ve finished reading them.
7 – treat your book or CD collection as you would a garden, and weed regularly. Be honest, there are some books you’re never going to read again, and some CDs that were just a mistake in the first place. Others might enjoy them, though, so donate to charity or sell them on.
Work on the principle that things need to leave you so that new things can arrive.