Everyone wants to keep an eternally tidy home, but it can seem like the forces of the universe are doing their best to prevent us from achieving this blissful state of neatness.
Efforts to tidy up are almost always backed by a sincere desire to keep things tidy forevermore. But bit by bit, some time after our monumental weekend spring cleaning endeavour, the mess creeps back in, and the cycle repeats.
In despair, we think of all kinds of discipline-enhancing mechanisms to get ourselves on the right track. Maybe we buy alarm systems or pseudo torture devices like the Pavlok to force ourselves to shape up. Alas, the mess remains.
Here are some essential tricks you can use to win the battle against mess and keep things in a (more or less) perpetual state of spotless serenity.
Trick #1: If it’ll only take a few minutes, do it immediately
One of the most powerful secrets to keeping an eternally tidy home is to condition yourself into the habit of doing the small chores on the spot.
We’re not talking about anything that will take more than about five minutes. Vacuuming the house from top to bottom, or other such similar tasks, will need to be handled when time allows.
Simple errands like washing your plate after using it and popping it on the drying rack will take virtually no time or willpower. It will also prevent you from having to face a daunting mountain of dishes a couple of days down the line.
Trick #2: Install the right features to make the job as easy as possible
Keeping your home eternally tidy usually depends on your ability to make the entire process as effortless and pain free as you can.
Even the smallest obstacle that stands in the way can be a devastating blow against the entire clean-ethos you’re trying to adhere to.
Take the following situation for example.
You’re sitting in your bedroom or living room, doing something messy. At the end of said activity, you find that you’ve got a pile of waste paper that needs to be dealt with. The only paper bin in the house is in the spare room upstairs (for some hypothetical reason).
You spend a moment wrestling with the knowledge that you should just walk to the spare room and put your paper in the bin. However, laziness wins out. You put it down on the table instead, “to deal with later”.
Weeks later, the paper is still on the table. The entire issue could have been averted by having a paper bin downstairs and one upstairs.
Don’t rely on willpower to keep tidy. Instead, install features to make the job as easy as possible.
Trick #3: Start building habits by setting hilariously simple habit loops
Most books on habit have the same bit of advice; start small when setting your habit, and build up as you go.
The thing about creating new habits is that they can be mentally draining until they become automatic. It’s essential to perform your fledgling habits regularly to ensure they solidify into proper habits. However, if they’re too irritating and you’re having a bad day, you can easily find yourself throwing the towel in.
Get around this problem by beginning with habit loops that are so hilariously simple they’d be impossible to fail. Instead of “I will wash all the dishes at 7:00pm every day”, just tell yourself “I will wash one plate at 7:00pm every day”.
I know that children’s toys are the worst for creating havoc. Just put one toy away every hour. Or one toy away every day even. You’ll find that the job becomes easier and you’ll get into a good habit of doing it.
You’ll find this removes all the stress from the equation. You’ll also find that once you’ve done that first plate, you almost always end up doing all the dishes anyway.
Do you have any more tips you’d add to the list for an eternally tidy home?