I’m a sucker for keeping things neat and clean, to the point where I’d rather sacrifice sleep to straighten up and wipe down the counters before bed then wake up to dishes in the sink. So you can imagine that I spend an inordinate amount of time reading articles like “The 10 Habits of Highly Organized People” (which appeared in O Magazine). I can’t get enough. In fact, it’s probably a little unhealthy, but I don’t care. So what if they parrot the same tips over and over? It’s good to have a reminder, and even better, I have my own tips to share, right here, right now! What follows are five of my very own tips for clean livin’.
Don’t look in unopened boxes!
If you move or have to pack up your stuff when you have your hardwood floors refinished or you’re doing a major spring cleaning, keep an eye on what doesn’t get unboxed. Are there stacks of unopened boxes in your basement after six months? A year? Do you even know what’s in them? Unless you suspect your wedding photos or important documents are inside, think about tossing them or giving them, still sealed, to the Salvation Army.
Schedule a regular pick up
Hauling stuff to the Goodwill sucks, I know. But there are charities in most urban and suburban areas that will stop at your house with a truck and cart away all the junk you don’t want – and by junk clean, usable junk that will be a jewel in someone else’s eye. They can even take away all those unopened boxes cluttering up your attic.
Clean up a little bit, every day
I clean as I cook. When I’m going from room to room, I look for things in Room A that really ought to be in Room B. Get in the habit of straightening up as you go, and you’ll never, ever have to devote a whole Saturday (ugh!) to cleaning. The dreaded Spring Cleaning also becomes a thing of the past since your house or apartment will already be clean and organized, all the time.
Make a pile, clean a pile
I allow myself one pile of miscellaneous papers – it’s all I have space for nowadays since I’m working at my kitchen table so I can watch the baby. Every now and then, I flip through my small paper pile and discard or deal with whatever I can. A paper pile should never get bigger than what might fit in a folder or binder. A stuff pile should never get bigger than one might fit in a small basket. In fact, keep a small basket in the corner to collect stuff, then use the basket to transport the stuff where it really ought to be.
Think in terms of simplicity
Embracing simplicity doesn’t mean giving up all your stuff. You can have a simple life with stuff, even a lot of stuff – just make sure it’s stuff you love, stuff you use, and stuff that’s awesome. Broken stuff, stuff that takes up space (kitchen gadgets are notorious for this!), and stuff you don’t like but keep because you feel like you might need it should all makes its way out of your home.