The New Year always makes me want to clean and declutter my home. Something about packing up all the Christmas décor makes me want to simplify and start the year fresh. I always feel really motivated and search the internet for hours for the best deep cleaning and decluttering checklist. I get a strong start around Jan 2nd and by about Jan 6th, I’m a few days behind on the checklist and I simply give up. How about you? Do you suffer from the same “quitter’s syndrome” that I do? Well, it’s not you; and it’s not me. It’s the horrible checklist! Ditch the checklist and follow my 5 simple guidelines for decluttering and deep cleaning your home in the new year. It’s simple. You never get behind. You never feel that the list is too long (because there isn’t a list!).
- Don’t use a checklist or set a timeline: This might sound counterintuitive but for me, if I have a checklist and timeline, once I get behind I just give up completely. Shake it up this year and go checklist-and-timeline-free!
- Do tackle things slowly, in line with the time you have free to do this: Of course some people have a lot of free time while others have next to no free time. Before you start thinking you have absolutely NO free time, really think about your day. When do you have 5-15 minutes that you could use to clean or declutter one space? Is it right when you wake up in the morning or right after you put the kids to bed? Is it when dinner is simmering on the stove and you have to watch it but you could clean out the spice cupboard in the meantime? Finding those 5-15 minute increments in your day will help you avoid having to set aside 6 hours on a Saturday to deep clean a portion of your home (ugh – who wants to do that?!).
3. Do start with one area in your home and work your way around your home: This is key for me. Start in one spot and simply clean out and declutter one area. I’ll give you an example. I’m starting in my kitchen at the end of my cabinets. I already cleaned out and decluttered a cupboard filled with important documents, pens, etc. Next I’ll move on to the stove, then the oven, then the next cupboard, etc. It’s easy to keep track since you are simply moving in the same direction. It’s also near-impossible to forget anything since you go right past everything. For me, I try to do one area a day. It often only takes me about 10 minutes to do. I make progress without setting aside hours upon hours. For tasks that might take longer (like the refrigerator), I save those for days when I want to set aside more time. No one said you have to go EXACTLY in order anyways!
4. Do throw away a lot: I loosely follow Marie Kondo’s philosophy when it comes to decluttering. You can read all about it in her book The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up. In a nutshell, you only keep items that bring you joy. Sound silly? Maybe, but it works. Here is an example: Do you look in your closet every morning and think “Ugh, what am I going to wear?!” Then you look through a few shirts and think “This one is too small. This one fits funny. This one is worn out. I hate this color.” and so on. You end up feeling frustrated and wasting time. Now imagine that you only kept clothes that “brought you joy” (or, in more everyday terms, you liked). The next morning you’d wake up, open your closet and think “Ah! I love this shirt! Perfect.” You saved time and you felt happy about your clothing options. You’ll have less clothes, and stuff in general, but you’ll be happier with less. Try it out everywhere in your home and hopefully you’ll feel more content and organized.
5. To make the cleaning last, always put things where they belong: How many times do you haphazardly set things down where they don’t belong? How many times do you then have to spend extra time putting them where they actually belong? Some examples are placing dishes on the counter rather than in the dishwasher or placing mail on the counter rather than going through it right away and sorting it out where it belongs. At first this may seem like more effort (it did for me!) but in the long-run, you’ll avoid a lot of the mess that happens from just not putting things where they belong the first time.
Are these 5 tips going to give you a perfectly clean home 24/7? Of course not! My home isn’t perfectly clean and never will be. After all, I have a toddler ? However, I hope these 5 tips free you from endless cleaning checklists and make your home a little bit cleaner than it was before. And if all else fails, remember what really matters and embrace those you love in your messy home, leaving the cleaning for another day or year. Happy New Year!
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