I really want to be a neat person. When the house is tidy, everything just feels so much more relaxing and I feel like I have more time. Unfortunately, I’m very prone to being the not-so-proud owner of a floordrobe, and the dining table seems to be perpetually covered in my make-up, jewellery, empty contact lens packets, receipts and more.
My apartment is by no means clean all the time, but I’ve started working out what does and doesn’t help me, as a naturally messy person, be tidier. And hopefully they’ll also work for my fellow mess-heads who know it’s not so simple as just picking up after yourself.
For starters, moving in with a tidy person in the hope that they will encourage you to be less messy (or maybe just clean up after you) does not work. First you will be unnaturally tidy to avoid pissing them off, then you’ll slowly relax and they will be grumpy about the mess, and eventually they give up and spiral down to your level. Or one of you will move out and you will never speak again (luckily I’m in the first category).
On the more optimistic side, here are a couple of my tips that make it easier to be less messy.* Hopefully they’ll help you in some way (as well as keep me to my 2015 Resolution No. 2)
1. Play music
2. Light a candle
Whenever I light a nice candle like my giant vanilla and caramel baby from Glasshouse Frangrances, my subconscious seems to freak out and decide that the candle deserves better, so I start cleaning. Bonus: when I’m finished, the candle has done its thing and the apartment smells amazing. Making the bed with nice linen, opening all the windows or putting out fresh flowers also helps.
3. Keep the benches clear
Even though it’s my fault as well, the little accumulation of paperwork, coins etc that piles up on the end of our bench drives me nuts. The kitchen is probably the hardest part to tidy (other than the bedroom/floordrobe) but if it’s clear, the whole apartment feels nicer. Also, don’t use more cooking utensils than what you need.
4. Go to/download Unfuck Your Habitat
Sometimes it’s hard to know where to start on a larger mess, or how to fit in cleaning around getting ready for work the next day, or maybe you just need a lot of tough love. Enter Unfuck Your Habitat, who are full of helpful advice, bad language and nifty challenges. Check out the basics at their website, stay up to date on tumblr, or download their app to your phone or tablet.
5. Adopt the 60 second rule
I learned this one from Gretchen Rubin’s book, The Happiness Project. If something is going to take less than 60 seconds, just do it now. While there is totally a point to putting off washing the dishes until the morning, there is nothing to be gained by leaving that pair of shorts on the bathroom floor.
6. Close your carb packets properly
Don’t just fold the end of the rice bag over, find a peg or better yet, a container. Otherwise you’re just going to end up with a pantry moth infestation, which means no more rice, and grey smudges all over your cupboard. I continue to find this out the hard way, and it’s much harder to deal with than just pegging the damn bag in the first place.
*The emphasis here is on being less messy. Actual tidiness is something we can aspire to, but for now, baby steps people. If you have a suggestion, whether as a fellow messy person or a helpful neat freak, comment below or tweet me @fulllofliving 🙂