Hi everyone: my name is Caitlin, and I’m a neat freak. It’s the truth. In order to sit down and relax, I need my stuff put away, my things done, and my doo-dads in their proper places. I’ve come to realize that tidiness calms me and helps me focus on what I’m engaging in, rather than being distracted by all of the tasks I should be doing.
Here’s a fun study to support my neurosis: tidiness promotes good outcomes for conscientious individuals.
And, for those of you who couldn’t care less about orderliness in your lives, have no fear! I have a study for you too. This one supports the idea that “disorder produces creativity.” Go you! Be your creative disorderly self!
Alas, I CANNOT FUNCTION IN DISORDER. Obviously we humans are adaptable fellows, but disorder in my living space is tough on my psyche. So because I love ya, I’m going to share the methods to my orderly madness. You needn’t live in chaos and some very simple and applicable alterations of the things you do anyway can bring your mind back to center.
Without further adieu, I present to you Caitlin’s Formula for Everyday Tidiness:
When You’re Done with it, Put It Away
This one’s easy peasy, guys. It’s a lesson we give our kids, and it’s one we should implement into our every day as well. Not going to wear the shirt you took out? Hang it back up (5 seconds of your life). Done snacking on your kids’ Teddy Grahams? Shelve the box (2 seconds of your life). Laptop finished charging? Return the charger to its home (7 seconds—takes a while to wind those cords, I get it). Pick a home for your stuff and keep it there when it’s not in use.
A Note on Laundry
There are people who despise laundry and have PILES of it everywhere. As far as I can tell, this isn’t their intent; it becomes a fungus that starts growing and becomes out of control before they can spell fungus. Don’t let this happen to you! Dirty clothes? Hamper, stat! My 20 month old knows to put his dirty clothes in the hamper (after I prompt him most of the time)—your family can learn too!
Next, have in your mind that you’ll do at least one load of laundry everyday. We all know this is not difficult: put clothes in washer, dump in detergent, turn dials, push button. Voila! Clean clothes! I know, I know, it’s the dryer to folding that gets most of us. Here’s the last step I’m going to recommend: fold your clothes as they come out of the dryer. Wrinkly? Fluff them if you’ve got time (to avoid this, don’t over-stuff your washer and get some wool dryer balls (affiliate link): they’re magical—I rarely fluff my clothes, and we stay acceptably wrinkle free), or simply pull them out of the dryer, give them a quick shake out, and fold them. If you’re fortunate enough to have your own washer and dryer in your home, this is fully implementable and will help your fungus problem!
You can do this! Scale your laundry mountain, one load at a time.
If I can get my tush down to this half-finished dungeon to get a load in each day, you can too! 😉
Make Your Bed
And teach your family to make theirs! This one is so simple and takes all of three minutes. When your bed is made, your bedroom (think place of peace and rest) can become a far more welcome space for you. When my bed isn’t made, I can feel it in my soul—my husband thinks it’s hilarious to go mess up the bed in the middle of the day because he knows it drives me crazy pants.
I love him. Because he loves my crazy pants.
Something to consider with this one: design your bed art (pillows, blankets, throws, perfectly situated; it looks like art to me, ok??) simply so that it doesn’t take a Van Gogh-ian effort to put it back together. And apply the same principle to your kids’ beds!
Folded blanket, pillow, fitted sheet. Done. And Bo-Bo the teddy bear.
The Neverending Dirty Dishes Story
I know you’re loving my mismatched table and chairs. We find them to be eclectically appealing. And also, they were free.
This one is tough, especially with littles who are beginning to exercise their independence. Twenty dirty cups? Do we even own that many drinking vessels?? Am I in the Twilight Zone??? That’s an issue for another day, but here’s my secret for keeping dish clutter to a minimum: after each meal/snack/act of independent grazing, clean it up. Get the dirties in the dishwasher or do a quick hand wash, wipe off tables/highchairs, and BONUS ITEM: pull out a hand broom to sweep up anything that fell on the floor. Do it right away and food is much easier to clean off of surfaces. Easier = less time. And then onto the next meal. 😉
Get your family to help with this one as soon as they’re functional enough to do so—valuable life lessons tied into getting a job done are the best kinds of activities.
BONUS CLEANING TIP
If you put into action the simple steps above, you’re well on your way to a tidier home and mind, and dare I say it, soul.
My passion for tidiness runs deep.
One last tip before I leave you to your tidying: pick one thing to clean each day. My house is pretty shmall, so oftentimes I’ll clean the whole thing in one fell swoop (two hours of cleaning, tops). I’ve found, however, that when I do some less intensive cleaning on the other days, my big cleaning day is swifter. Sweep, wipe down bathroom counters, clean the toilets, wash the mirrors/windows O prefers to slobber on—he’s picky when it comes to glass licking apparently—dust, wipe down appliances, or vacuum. Your list will be different from mine, but do some brainstorming and planning if you need to on this one. Cleanliness is next to Godliness, you know. 😉
Set simple goals for what works best for you and yours and be disciplined about achieving them. You’re a rockstar. You can do this. And if your tidy train goes off course here and there? Well then I guess you’re human. Don’t fret and do better tomorrow.
Good luck friend, and happy Friday!