Keeping clutter in your life can be emotionally and physically draining. This can be in your physical space, or a cluttered to-do list that never seems to get done. When you come home to a house that is messy, cluttered, or you know needs cleaning, it is exhausting. It drains energy and leaves you unmotivated for other tasks, like meal prep or exercise. Oftentimes when we feel we have too much to get done, rather than getting anything done, we become overwhelmed and shut down – nothing gets done!
A few tips to help you get started…
- Take just 10 minutes each night before bed to clean or tidy up. 10 minutes is really no time at all, and it will leave you feeling more energized and pleased to have crossed something off your to-do list and de-cluttered the house a bit.
- Do a load of dishes every night. It truly does not take that much time to load and unload the dishwasher. Even if you leave what does not fit in the sink, try to get it all into one space and wipe the counters. Unwiped counters are visually chaotic and mood lowering.
- Actually de-clutter. If your counters or floor space in your rooms are out of control, think about donating (or even just throwing to get it done) items you do not use.
- Take one room each weekend, or even spend a few minutes each night, thinking of what items you need, don’t need, or could repurpose or begin using that you haven’t been using. Even taking inventory will help you feel like you are taking control over your clutter.
- As with the habits toward weight loss, you need to feel like you have control over your clutter, versus letting the clutter control you!
- Make a cleaning schedule. Even cleaning one bathroom each weekend and rotating, or bathrooms one weekend and floors the next. Again, if you keep up with it, it will not take you that much time.
- If you can afford it, hire someone to help. Sometimes a cleaning service is quite costly, but finding someone looking for some extra cash may be much less.
- With my kids being on oxygen I have always had to find the money for at-home sitters/nanny, so never thought I could afford help cleaning. But, my busy work schedule and wanting time with the kids (or to relax or exercise) when not working left me not wanting to clean! I decided to ask my sitter to clean the bathroom and mop the floor each week, for just $20 extra per week. This was worth the cost! She regularly swept and did (still does!) the kids laundry as part of her childcare duties – and vacuumed without my asking just because she is awesome 🙂 Huge help! Coming home to a clean house and not worrying about scrubbing toilets and bathtubs automatically improved my mental health!
- Get the kids to help. Now that I am remarried and we have 5 kids, we enlist them all to help, as a way of teaching them responsibility and as part of earning an allowance. Just as we all work hard to make money, kids doing chores can be a nice way to teach them to work and earn. Even our youngest can help with laundry, putting dishes in the sink, or putting dishes away with help. Kids can be on a rotating schedule for bathroom, floors, dusting, etc. And at the very least, have kids clean up their own clutter – don’t add to your stress by picking up after your kids who are perfectly capable.
- Forget perfection. Striving for perfection is a recipe for personal disaster! Nothing in life is ever perfect, so stop trying to make it that way! This goes for your kids’ behavior, your body image, your house being clean, the project at work, your yard, your upkeep with friends and their lives, etc.!
- Be honest with yourself and what you have the time for. If you know you will only clean once a month, then schedule the time, actually do it, and be happy you got it done that often! The house will always be somewhat cluttered, especially with kids, pick your mental battles, take a deep breath, and choose to let some of it go.
- Reduce your to-do list. Make a to-do list as long as you need, but then go back and make one with the things that actually NEED to get done, like groceries. Getting done one thing on some nights is more than enough after a long day of work or school or kids or whatever your day entails.
- Always having an undone to-do list adds more mental clutter, stress, and anxiety than you may realize. Know that the things that don’t NEED to get done will get done when you have the time. And remember, if you find the time here and there to get one thing off that lingering list, you will feel better.
- Go easy on yourself. A load of laundry undone, but you getting time for that workout or just to sit and watch TV is much better for your overall wellbeing than pushing to get everything done every night. Push past the shutting down by doing something small or working on yourself; and don’t go overboard by never finding time to relax. Find the middle ground and be kind to and realistic with yourself.
Here are some more tips from Fitbit for how tidying up can help you lose weight!
Take some time to think through your current or typical week, that nagging to-do list, or the undone chores and problem solve a better, more relaxed way of getting things done!