Do you remember last January when you decided that, this year, you’d keep your house clean and organized? Do you remember how hopeful you felt that this new year cleaning would work? And do you recall how a few weeks later, you had the feeling you were failing again? You are not the problem. The problem is the method you chose to get that tidy house. If you read until the end, you’ll learn my method and what to do when habits fail you.
The new year cleaning that doesn’t work
Do a new year’s cleanup
You start with a bang and scrub all day long. Your read that you must tackle the kitchen first. So you clean it from top to bottom. Yes, even the extractor’s filters.
Then you aim to do the same with the bathroom and then the others rooms. You keep going because subconsciously, you think that once the house is neat, it will almost magically stay that way, that you would have gotten over the worth of the cleaning.
Why it doesn’t work
Cleaning a house is a matter of routine. You must maintain your house regularly to avoid seeing it become messy or dirty again. When you are in the mindset that you can be done with cleaning once you’ve deep cleaned the whole house, you will be disappointed when you must clean some zones again the next week. And by cleaning so much at the beginning, you won’t have the motivation left to do the routine cleaning.
If you have this mindset, you also won’t have the plan to follow up because you’re done once it’s cleaned, right? Not really, and for lack of anything better, odds are you’ll go back to your old habits. But if they were ideal, you wouldn’t have to do such a deep cleaning, don’t you?
How to start cleaning a messy house?
Create a plan
Cleaning your house can be an intimidating task but don’t worry. With a little planning, you’ll be able to make it totally manageable!
First, if you have a regular schedule, decide when you will clean each week. If your schedule changes from one week to another, but you still have days that look like the other, decide that, for example, you’ll clean in the morning when you work in the evening. Or at least, decide that you’ll spend a certain amount of time each week and schedule it at the beginning of each week.
For the deep cleaning, instead of cleaning the whole house in one shot, you can decide to deep clean a room each month, or you can choose that this month, you’ll do a particular task in the whole place.
Setting this plan up will let you fight the overwhelm, and you won’t stand in the middle of your home wondering where to begin.
Build daily habits
Some zones of your house will need more cleaning to avoid a bigger mess later. Plus, it will be quicker to clean the whole room when needed. The easier solution to tackle these tasks is to build daily habits. It can be as detailed as “in the morning, I pick up the mess, then I empty the dishwasher, then I sweep the kitchen’s floor,” or it can be “when I come back from work, I clean for 15 minutes”.
I use the former version because it removes decision-making from the process. But if creating a routine doesn’t work for you, you can use le later.
If you’re like me and prefer things to be structured, take a look at those ideas about what to clean fast before your day begins.
Follow a cleaning schedule
A cleaning schedule will streamline your cleaning. No more wondering what to clean; it’s written just there. It will also avoid forgetting to clean something and finding weeks or months later that you have a dust bunnies tribe as a roommate.
Another advantage is that you’ll have a clear vision of what you have left to do. Your motivation will like that!
My advice to begin following a cleaning schedule is to start with weekly tasks and add the less frequent tasks after.
Hop back on track when you mess up
Even with the best intentions, it will happen. Sometime you won’t be able to clean. But don’t let this discourage you. Those who succeed fail too. The difference is that they try again. So forget the days, weeks, or even months you didn’t clean, and scrub something!
What if routines are not for you?
Everyone’s brain works differently, and if some people work best when following routine, for others, it’s a plain nightmare. If this is your case, why not set up an alarm when it’s time to clean and use the junebugging method?
While doing a new year cleaning can be appealing, odds are you will use your momentum when it’s time to clean your house routinely. To avoid that and the bad feelings that go with it, it’s better to start by making a plan. Then, you’ll begin to clean with small tasks done regularly and follow a cleaning schedule. But if routines irk you, give a try to the junebugging method. Finally, if you fall off the wagon, don’t lose heart and start again. Soon you’ll have a clean home.