Cleaning your home can be a never-ending task. Vacuum cleaning, dusting, cleaning the bathroom, kitchen, bedroom. It can take up hours of your time on a weekly basis.
I realised one Saturday (as I was on my second hour of household chores) that I was spending an unacceptably large portion of my free time folding laundry, doing dishes and picking up clothes and toys off the floor … and then having to repeat the same process again the next day.
There were certainly other things I’d much rather be spending my time on!
But unless you’re a minimalist extreme (with no kids or pets), I think it’s safe to say cleaning and tidying are an inevitable part of life.
Even so, cleaning and tidying does not have to dominate your time. I took a good hard look at what was causing disorder and how I was spending my time doing tasks around the house. This led me to some simple realisations that allowed me to change my perspective on a few things.
Before I share my tips for creating a minimalist cleaning and tidying routine, I have to say that if possible, I recommend outsourcing your household cleaning.
Although there is a financial outlay, I believe it’s worth spending the money on creating a sort of ‘shortcut’ to spending (more) time with your kid(s), relaxing, pursuing hobbies, and generally saving time.
That being said, the handy shortcut afforded by a cleaning service doesn’t really help you address unhealthy habits that may be lurking.
So whether or not you outsource cleaning, here are some helpful tips that’ll help you reign in clutter causing habits and stay on top of dirt and disorder without spending (wasting!) hours doing it.
IT’S EASIER TO CLEAN A DECLUTTERED HOUSE
Let’s start at the very beginning! Embracing the philosophy of living a minimalist lifestyle already takes you halfway to a clean and tidy house.
If you haven’t already, invest some of your valuable time and declutter your home thoroughly. You will reap incredible rewards for months and years to come! Try out some of my free resources that’ll help you declutter your possessions in just a few weeks, reorganize your kitchen, and create a simple zen home.
It’s an unarguable truth that with fewer things, there is less to tidy. With less clutter, it’s also easier to clean.
I’d highly recommend addressing your wardrobe, too. This was a particularly big pain point of mine. If it wasn’t laundry, it was picking up discarded clothing, folding, ironing, handwashing and just dealing with too much clothing clutter.
Now, I’m free! I have a capsule wardrobe I love, and my clothing collection fits into my lifestyle without me having to arrange my life around caring for it!
There are so many benefits to ‘embracing less’. This will cut tidying up time to a minimum – exactly what we’re aiming for.
INTEGRATE CLEANING INTO DAILY LIFE
This forms part of developing some healthy habits around cleanliness and tidiness.
I acknowledge that I am rather untidy by nature. Although having fewer possessions has muted this habit somewhat, I have worked on developing a more intentional way of living by becoming aware of my clutter causing behaviours.
Here are some habits that improve the general state of your home:
Making the bed in the morning.
Immediately store clothing in the closet or laundry basket after being worn.
Have a dedicated place for everything! A fundamental principle of the minimalist home, all items should as far as possible have a place just for them. This is extremely useful in controlling clutter and maintaining orderliness, not to mention shortening tidying up time. Problem items are usually small, commonly-used things like keys, shoes, hair clips, jewelry, toys, bags, and accessories. In your household, it may be books, kitchen items or craft supplies. Identify your needs and create a home for all your things.
Clean as you go:
- If you notice the bathroom sink is dirty as you brush your teeth, deal with it then and there.
- Do dishes immediately after meals so there’s no build up in the sink.
- When leaving a room, cast an eye over it for any clutter, and do a quick pick up.
- Clean as you cook – deal with dirty pots and utensils as you use them, pack away ingredients after adding them to your dish, wipe the counters – when your meal is done, your kitchen will have nothing left to clean but the dishes you eat in!
- When you get up to brew a pot of tea, pick up one or two things that are out of place and quickly restore them to their rightful place on your way.
- Store dirty laundry out of sight to wash once a week or wash regularly so there’s no pile up and you stay on top of folding and packing your clean garments away.
- Keep cleaning supplies in easy reach so it’s not a mission to deal with spills and messes when they happen.
Because I would really do anything else but housework, I prefer to deep clean once a week which, due to our cozy house size, I’m able to finish in about 2 hours. I adhere to the ‘clean as I go’ philosophy the rest of the time.
Depending on the needs of your family, house size, routine or general preference:
- Set aside a time slot each day for certain tasks
- Dedicate one day a week to seeing to all your cleaning and tidying needs, and/or
- Stick to a general ‘clean as you go’ method!
EMBRACING THE IMPERFECT
Life isn’t perfect, and I don’t think it’s meant to be. I cannot always have the perfect house and this is a goal I practice letting go of daily. This comes with a freedom to really enjoy precious moments I would otherwise have missed. Instead of tidying up or washing dishes or reorganizing an already tidy cupboard, I get to be present.
For me embracing the imperfect in my home means I’m okay with my home being lived in. This includes brightly colored building blocks on the floor and coffee mugs in the sink. I appreciate the laughter, the learning, the flavors, the music. This is what life is about to me.
There’ll always be time to tidy up (especially with minimal possessions and tidier habits) – when the important things are seen to and appreciated first!