I’d like to say I’m pretty good at cleaning, and I’d warrant a guess that I clean better than the average person. Not only have I discovered some great ways to clean difficult appliances, furniture, and fixtures, I’ve developed a pretty efficient system too. There’s one aspect of cleaning that still seems to elude me, though, and it’s tidying.
To put it bluntly, I genuinely suck at tidying spaces, whether they’re my own or other people’s. If you need proof, just check out my blog post No Motivation To Clean? Here’s Why, where I included an image of my extremely clutter-filled bedroom.
Cleaning VS. Tidying
There’s a huge difference between cleaning and tidying, at least in my mind. To me, cleaning is almost a mindless task; just spray, scrub, wipe, and repeat on anything that’s dirty. There’s no thinking involved, yet you can still make visible progress.
This is entirely unlike tidying where you have to be consciously aware of what you’re doing and the locations you’re moving things to. Otherwise, you’ll accidentally throw something away that you needed to keep or you’ll lose your items. In other words, it seems very high stakes.
I think this is why I never want to tidy. I’ve definitely misplaced important documents and some of my favorite things because I approached tidying much like how I approach cleaning. Not to mention, it’s emotionally exhausting to tidy because of the level of awareness.
Researching Popular Methods
I really want to get better at tidying, but I originally had no idea where to start, so I did a bit of research. I noticed that a lot of people recommend trying to live like a minimalist, but I knew that wasn’t going to work for me.
I have a lot of stuff, and most of it is clothing, books, or materials related to my crafting and art hobbies. These aren’t things I want to get rid of or put in any kind of long-term storage because I use them so often. They have a functional purpose in my life.
I realized I’d have to look for a different strategy, and perhaps one that fits better within the chaos of my schedule. When I get busy, I literally don’t have 30 minutes available to spend on tidying. Even today, I got off work, sat down to eat dinner, and I’m now spending the rest of my evening working on assignments for the summer course I’m taking. I had to keep looking.
Finding A Method That (Might) Work
Eventually, I stumbled upon the website apartment therapy. I found an article, called “My Friend’s Moral Stance on Laundry Changed the Way I Clean My Home,” which was written by Meg Leach.
They talk about how they also don’t have much time or energy to spend on cleaning, and that they can’t clean in short bursts because they get easily distracted. They came up with a system for tidying that thrives off of priority and importance, rather than perfection.
The idea is to have a bin in each room of your house where you can put items that don’t belong in that room. That way anything that could become clutter gets put in that one spot, rather than on any and every surface.
Once the bin is completely full, all you have to do is carry it around to each room and put things back where they belong. The process of tidying becomes much less daunting when you only have to put away a handful of things that are all in one place rather than trying to locate everything to put it back.
After reading this article, despite some pretty enticing positives, I still have some concerns about how effective this method would be for me.
I can definitely see myself using the bins as a catch-all and never putting anything away. As it is, I tend to live out of my clean laundry baskets rather than fold and put away my clothes. So, if I know that a specific item is in that bin, I doubt it would ever leave, especially if it’s something I use a lot. I suppose if that was the case though, I should just find a place for it where I can easily access it.
What do you think? Do you have any suggestions for how to improve my tidying skills? Let me know in the comments if you do or if you have the same problem I have. I’d love to hear what your thoughts are!