A lot of people have this misconception that because I call myself a minimalist I must really love organization or something or that I am naturally just a very zen, totally put together human being. In fact, the exact opposite is true. I have enough stress and chaos in my life that I don’t want my home to add to it. That’s why I have completely rearranged my life so that I am cleaning less. In fact, I would say I cut my cleaning time in (more than) half. Here’s how you can follow suit.
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Make your bed
Ok right off the bat, I’ll bet you thought, “This is supposed to be a post about cleaning less. So, why are we talking about making the bed?”
The thing is, making your bed in the morning is a metaphor for your entire life. It sets a standard for your entire day. And that standard is that you are a put together human being who refuses to let clutter or mess get the best of her/him.
There is a reason there is an entire book (written by a Navy Seal) that is called Make Your Bed. It’s because it is legit advice and will help you be a little bit better at everything you do. Including cleaning less.
BONUS TIP: Give your bed a spritz of yummy smells after it’s made. This helps create a more peaceful place for you to crash your head at when you go to bed at night. I use Pacifica Pillow Spray.
Have a system for daily clutter
There is clutter that is going to accumulate all day every day if you let it. Things like leaving a butter knife out after you’ve buttered your toast in the morning or tossing your pajamas on the floor instead of in the hamper.
Having a quick, easy system for little daily clutters will help prevent them from piling up and taking over your entire life. Here are some ideas from our life:
- Have a little dish on your bathroom sink for jewelry, hair ties, and bobby pins
- Place worn pajamas under your pillow for quick access at bedtime
- Have a dirty dishes in the dishwasher system
- Create a shoe cubby where shoes can be quickly kicked off and put in
Find classy ways to hide clutter
When my two youngest children were born back to back, I knew I wanted to avoid tons of visual toy clutter as well as having to run all over the house to put everything back at the end of the day.
That’s why I created a mini command station in our living room filled with diapers, toys, snacks and wipes. Instead of leaving these out, I put them in cute baskets that matched the rest of our living room decor.
Doing things this way (and I still do with DVDs and games) allows your home to remain clear of visual clutter and makes clean up quick and effective.
Stick to one room at a time
If you are guilty of cleaning for hours, running around from room to room and then finding that no individual room actually got cleaned, then you totally know what I’m talking about here.
Force yourself to clean one room at a time. The best way I have found to do this is by using piles. Which just so happens to be my next tip.
Create piles while you clean
When you are cleaning a room, to prevent you from leaving, create piles for clutter. Piles like:
- Put away
- Throw away
- Move locations
You don’t need to get fancy bins out to do this, simply creating piles on the floor (or in an actual garbage for the garbage) can be an effective way to quickly and easily move through cleaning a room without getting distracted.
Just make sure you do your “move locations” pile last!
Keep small photos off the walls
No, we do not have photos all over the walls of our home. I know this is basically a tradition in most households, however, I don’t like the visual clutter or the cleaning that takes place.
Frames and glass collect dust and having to spray down or clean these things isn’t something I want to do.
That’s why I prefer having a few larger focal point photos on my wall rather than dozens of smaller ones.
Stop organizing junk
One common organization misconception is that you need to spend a lot of time and money organizing your stuff. You buy new bins to store stuff in, grab stuff from the Dollar Store to separate things in a pretty way and convince yourself you’re super organized.
My biggest beef here is that if you live in a normal household with other people, none of this is actually going to stay organized (unless you really want to spend a lot of extra time cleaning and maintaining).
All you are doing is organizing stuff. A lot of which is probably never getting used. So what’s the solution? Have less stuff!
Taking the time to declutter your stuff should always, always, always be the first step to organization.
- His and Hers KonMari Closet
- How to Declutter When You’re Stuck at Home
- 5 Second Rule for Wardrobe Declutter
Make your family help
If you do not live alone in your house then you should not be cleaning alone in your house!
Kids should help, spouses should help, siblings, roommates. They all should be helping.
Speak up for yourself and your space and defend your right to not live in a pig pen!
Don’t bring in temporary needs
Whenever we used to have things like birthdays, we would do the whole process of buying all new things. Things like cute new bowls, decorations, little party favors, you name it. Friend, not only is this a waste of your money, it is also most likely going to add to the amount of time you spend cleaning.
Not only will you be cleaning up more after the party, but you will also most likely be taking on some of this added clutter full time.
Do yourself a favor and look at what you have first. Make use of the things that you already own and then if you absolutely need something to survive the party, try borrowing from someone else. Do not take on any clutter that is only meant to be temporary!
Ok, you have already cleared through clutter, fair enough. But, it’s so important to keep re-evaluating. The truth is, the more you get intentional about what you don’t want in your life, the more you get comfortable with letting go of more.
If you’re starting to feel overwhelmed by stuff, take a browse through what is filling your closets and cupboards. What is going un-used?
Make note of these things and then list them on Facebook Marketplace my friend!
Get a smaller house
Yes, I saved this one for last because it is of course, the most drastic! However, this is what our family did and we have never looked back.
In 2016 we downsized our house by over 2,000 finished square feet.