Whenever I need a good pick-me-up, I clean my apartment.
Am I alone in finding it deeply satisfying to clean the dishes or organize the spice rack? Cleaning feels almost like a meditative act. Maybe it’s the repetitiveness to it or that you can tune out and listen to your favorite music while doing it.
And with so many challenges these days, it feels nice to have a task that’s both routine and easy to achieve. Plus, you get to live in the benefits of your hard work with a clean and organized house.
But at the same time, there are certain chores that I drag my heels on and that fill me with dread. Piles of laundry obscuring the floor? Oh dear. A drawer brimming with odds and ends? I can feel my chest tighten. These are the areas in my apartment that I avoid cleaning because I get stressed just thinking about all the energy and upper arm strength it will entail to organize it.
Fortunately, there are systems and tools you can use to make cleaning your house seem less like a huge undertaking, and more like a simple chore.
And with the changing of the season, now seems like an auspicious time to do some house cleaning and give yourself a fresh start. Below are some tips and routines that will help you clean and organize your house. You might even look forward to doing it!
The benefits of cleaning your house
A clean house gives you a pleasant space that you want to spend time in, and with so many of us working from home these days, it’s important to regularly maintain our homes.
As an added benefit, cleaning your house is good for your mental and physical health. From improving your health to your overall well-being and happiness, here are just some of the positive benefits you can experience from cleaning your home.
- Less stress. If you’ve ever cringed at a mountain of laundry or sighed at the sight of shoes blocking your entryway, then you know a messy house can be stressful. That’s why organizing your home and getting rid of unwanted items can help reduce stress. A clean space means there’s “less noise to your brain.” With less clutter occupying your physical and mental space, you have the ability to focus and enjoy your surroundings.
- Stronger immune system. Regularly cleaning and sanitizing your home can help reduce the presence of dust and allergens, as well as bacteria and viruses. Clearly, it’s a good idea to start maintaining a house cleaning routine--your immune system will thank you for it!
- Boost your confidence. That’s right, something as simple as organizing a hall closet can boost your confidence and give you a big sense of accomplishment. And right now, it’s important to have daily activities that make us feel good. With so many unknowns in our lives, we should concentrate on the things we can manage, like replacing the shower curtain or cleaning out the fridge, and take pride in these small wins.
How to get started
Sometimes the hardest part about cleaning your house is finding the motivation to get started.
Cleaning your house is similar to tackling any big goal or project. It will feel less overwhelming if you break it down into small, manageable steps. Don’t be over-ambitious by trying to clean your entire house in one day--you’ll only get frustrated and burned out. Instead, narrow down your tasks and then build progress over a few days or weekends.
First, pick a strategy. When it comes to stress-free house cleaning, it’s important to figure out a system. Some people swear by the zone cleaning method, in which you focus on cleaning one room at a time.
For this method, you would clean your bedroom first and then depending on how much time and energy you had, you would move onto the next room, or save it for another day. By focusing on one room at a time, you’re less likely to feel overwhelmed and more likely to see the job to completion.
Another house cleaning system is the task method. Instead of focusing on one room, the task cleaning method focuses on completing one chore at a time.
For example, you might start by focusing on dusting. You would move through your whole house, dusting all the rooms and surfaces, without paying attention to any other details yet. Then you'd move on to another task, like decluttering surfaces or vacuuming. Again, this is a great way to achieve a sense of completion, as well as balance, in your home.
If you need ideas on where to get started, you can try Shira Gill’s 30 day home cleaning challenge. Shira Gill is a professional home organizer, coach, and the founder of the #15MinuteWin, and Ink+Volt has teamed up with her to bring you a 30-day cleaning challenge. Shira has shared simple, 15-minute cleaning activities that you can do each day.
You can download the free worksheet right here.
Organize by category
For those of you familiar with the KonMari method, then you know that organization isn’t just about sparking joy, but it’s also about sorting and categorizing items. You should do this before you start organizing and decluttering - your work will be a lot more productive and smooth if you categorize items before starting to process through everything.
Let’s say you want to organize your workspace. First, you’ll want to separate items into categories, starting with the most numerous items you have in your space. Do you have a lot of pens and notebooks? Start with those. Then, move onto paperwork/documents. And, lastly, sort and categorize miscellaneous items.
While you’re going through these items, you can decide if you want to keep, toss, or donate them. This is a great method to really organize and declutter your room.
Make friends with storage accessories
After you organize your items into categories, you should find a designated space for every single item. (No more leaving things on a windowsill or the dining room table "for later".)
Here’s where trays, storage bins, binders, and labels come in handy. If your office supplies have a home, then you’ll always know where to find them and you won’t risk leaving them out on the counter. By assigning a space for your items, you can easily corral them and stay organized.
Hampers make life easier
Hampers are the unsung heroes of home organization. They come in affordable price points and in an array of stylish options--from woven jute baskets to simple canvas hampers. Keep a hamper in your bedroom and one in the bathroom, and say goodbye to seeing piles of dirty clothes on the floor.
Inspired to clean your house yet?
If you feel overwhelmed, try doing small, 15-minute chores from the Shira Gill worksheet. Afterwards, it’s all about maintaining those good cleaning habits and sticking with a regular routine. You can even use your Ink+Volt planner to help you commit to your cleaning routine and monitor your progress.If you’d like more tips on cleaning your house, you can read our guide to organizing your desk here and how to organize your bedroom here.