The objective for practicing an organized approach to cleaning is to unburden you of practically all your remedial cleaning tasks. Planning for a clean life involves making cleaning a regular part of your day. When incorporated well, cleaning becomes more effective, less bothersome, and sometimes, even fun. Here are six of the easiest ways to start getting spick-and-span:
1. Always focus on the benefits of cleaning. Bruce Van Horn, who writes and teaches about living more simply, advises that if you hate cleaning and organizing, changing your attitude can work wonders. Rather than looking at tasks as just chores, look for the beauty and value in cleaning activities. Cleaning offers many benefits, including:
- A feeling of being in control instead of out of control
- Renewed pride in your environment
- A healthier, safer home
- More and better time with your family
- A more active social life
- Reduced stress
Yogis have long taught the value of doing simple chores such as cleaning, Van Horn says. Yogis describe the benefits of “karma yoga,” or being in a meditative state of awareness as you clean or garden: It is calming, focusing, and centering. The idea is to let go of your mental clutter — the bills that need paying, your dispute with your boss — and focus on the job at hand. Be in the moment.
Barry Izsak, owner of Arranging It All, a consulting firm in Austin, Texas, finds similar results without the yoga. Izsak says cleaning helps him be more serene. “When I’m under a lot of stress, doing something mundane and methodical is therapeutic and calming,” he explains. “It’s a back-to-basics kind of feeling.”
2. Make cleanliness a value. Transforming cleanliness into a value is an act which will benefit your whole household. If you are always the sole cleaner of the home, then what are you teaching everyone else? That they can be messy, and someone else will take care of it. Instead, make it a familywide job to keep your home clean. And make them proud of it.
Part of this means giving children cleaning chores beginning at an early age. When they’re very young, they’ll enjoy it because they’re working with you. Later they may come to see the chores as onerous, but if they’ve been properly trained, they’ll do them anyway. Explaining how to train children to do chores is simple; the actual training process is less so. But it comes down to this: Insist that the children do what you’ve asked them to do: no excuses from them, no idle threats from you. One day they’ll thank you for the training and discipline.