So those helpful organising tips you’ve been reading have finally come to fruition – you’ve got round to organising an untidy room that’s been bugging you for months.
You’ve created a lovely new cleaning system. Maybe you’ve even de-cluttered the whole house during the annual spring clean. Great! But what now?
If you want to keep the house clutter-free or under control, then a one-off clean isn’t enough. You need to establish and maintain an organising habit or that tide of clutter will soon return and you may lose your initial enthusiasm.
Establishing a habit
Did you know on average it takes 66 days for a habit to become established? There’s lots of inspiration online for embedding habits. Here are key points to help you get started in building your cleaning or organising routine.
Pick one thing and set your goal
Don’t start lots of habits at once. Pick one behaviour you’d like to build and focus on that. For example, do you want to keep a particular area clean and clutter-free on a daily or weekly basis?
Perhaps you’d like to keep on top of your laundry and have an empty basket every other day? Choose a task to focus on and you’ll make it far easier to build your habit.
Keep your goal simple
Setting difficult goals leads to frustration; start with something easy and achievable. Trying to maintain the whole house everyday can get overwhelming. Break it down and focus on one room at a time.
Aim to spend 10 minutes doing one non-essential job each day in this room – small actions that don’t take much time soon add up.
Rules and piggybacks
Create a strategy to get your habit started and help it become ingrained.
For example, if you want your bathroom to stay tidy set a rule of clearing and wiping the surfaces every-day after you’ve cleaned your teeth.
Linking a desired action (i.e. tidying the bathroom) in relation to another routine behaviour (cleaning your teeth) is called piggybacking and is a great way to establish a habit.
Examples of linked goals:
Clearing and wiping down the kitchen surfaces as soon as you’ve had breakfast
Moving mail from the hallway on returning from work
Commit to your habit
Writing down your goal is a concrete way of committing yourself to the behaviour. Add it to your regular to-do list or pin it to the fridge. Another tip is to set a reminder on your phone.
Stay organised and keep going
Remain motivated, organised and track your progress via a bullet journal. If you’ve not heard of bullet journaling you’re missing out! It’s been big on Pinterest and in lifestyle magazines for the past couple of years – there’s Facebook, Twitter and blogging groups devoted to the practice.
In a nutshell, it’s a customisable system that allows you to keep all your to-do lists, schedules, notes and goals in one handy notebook (any book of your choosing). You create an index and a key to help you tag and locate your notes, and then use your book to log daily and monthly tasks alongside any goals, wish lists or even motivational quotes.
It’s a fantastic way to organise several areas of your life in one place – personal, household, family and work for example. See bulletjournal.com or search Pinterest to find out how to start your own bullet journal.
You’re more likely to complete small but achievable goals. Doing a little each day will soon build up and you’ll start noticing the difference. Keeping track will also help you stay motivated and give you a sense of achievement.
Before long your home will be tidy and clutter-free all year round and the ongoing maintenance won’t feel like a big deal. Next year’s spring clean will be a breeze in comparison!