Don’t Stress About Cleaning — Streamline Instead

Lots of people put off their household cleaning tasks because there are other, more fun things they could be doing. Chores are the work you do voluntarily, and they are often more fun to see completed than they are to do.

With busy schedules, it’s hard to find the time to clean, much less the motivation. But believe it or not, if you can make starting those chores less of an issue, completing them will come more easily.

You may find that cleaning is less of a burden if you put individual tasks on a schedule. This “makes sure that everything that needs cleaning gets cleaned,” Lifehacker says, [and] makes sure that you never tackle too much at one time and get overwhelmed.”

Another strategy is to clean in short bursts every day so that it seems like a routine part of the day rather than an exceptional burden. Dedicate 15-30 minutes to cleaning something — anything — every day, and eventually, everything will be spotless.

To prepare, assemble a complete selection of cleaning supplies for various areas of the home, along with sponges, rags, mops and other implements. Then put on some music or a podcast and begin, and cleaning will happen almost on autopilot.

Once you get into a rhythm, you may find you spend lots of your time moving stacks of papers, dusty knick-knacks and other stuff around in order to clean. That’s #clutter, and if you can get rid of it, household cleaning will become less strenuous.

Eliminate some of that clutter as you clean. Box important papers and put them in storage. Get rid of some tchotchkes you don’t really want to look at (or dust) every day. Fold the laundry, and set aside anything that no longer fits. Bag the castoffs and contact ClothingDonations.org for a pickup.

Without having to work around all that extra junk, cleaning will become easier. Sans clutter, many areas of the home will take less time to clean, and you’ll get more done in the time that you can dedicate to such chores.

When you see the results, you’ll no longer have the stress that a cluttered, messy and dirty home can produce. And knowing that a few minutes every day can leave your home consistently clean and tidy, you may even start to enjoy the chores!

What Would Marie Kondo Do?

Since the beginning of the year, Netflix’ hit show Tidying Up With Marie Kondo has inspired people all over the county to weed through — and get rid of — a lot of excess stuff. And we at the Organizing Blog couldn’t applaud more!

New converts to the KonMari Method — Kondo’s Shinto-inspired organizing system that recommends getting rid of anything that doesn’t add value to one’s life — are filling thrift and secondhand stores with their castoffs.

Just 35 years old, Kondo has been an organizing maven since she was 19. In 2011, she published The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up, her seminal tome on the topic, in which she famously advises people to keep only the things that “inspire joy.”

That may mean different things to different people, she admits — and it could be a considerable amount if, say, you collect sneakers or maintain a library of books. At your own personal “click-point,” however, you will feel at ease with the things you have.

“The tidying process is not about decluttering your house or making it look neat on the spur of the moment for visitors,” she says. “You are about to tidy up in a way that will spark joy in your life and change it forever.”

Kondo offers six steps to follow in creating a more serene, decluttered life, asking the new acolyte to envision his or her ideal lifestyle and describe it in words or pictures. Once that streamlined, tidy new lifestyle is clear, the decluttering can begin.

The KonMari Method’s strategy differs from most by asking you to “Tidy by category, not location.” That means whatever kind of item it is — clothing, books, shoes, sporting goods — you must put everything in a big pile and sort it in a single session.

Kondo tells you to pick up each item in that pile and ask yourself if it sparks joy. If it does, it can eventually be filed in a neatly-stacked drawer, shelf or closet. If not, it goes into the “donate” or “trash” pile. The strategy can be jarring, but cathartic.

“If done correctly, it’s incredibly liberating,” says Today Show blogger Meena Hart Duerson. “The joy I felt when I picked up my favorite jeans became a barometer. Suddenly, I wanted everything in my closet to make me feel like that.”

Give the KonMari Method a try. While it’s kind of the nuclear option in decluttering, its many converts swear by the difference they see in their spaces, lifestyles and moods. Just remember to contact ClothingDonations.org to pick up that extra stuff!