In this article, I want to document some tips and tricks I employ to make sure my house stays clean, more often than not. Why do I feel the need to write such an article? Because I think the default state, especially when you live alone, is to not care much about your house feeling like a dumpster. Also, thanks to our very adaptive minds, one quicky gets used to whatever surrounding they’re put into. And if I go down that route in the future, I’ll need something to spring back.
The other question is why I feel qualified to write about such a topic? I think that I’ve come a long way from my little flat that I rented towards the end of 2017, to jumping between several flats in Berlin and then learning some important aspects of living solo, many of them the hard way. Depending on your current circumstances, this article might seem off topic or too basic. Two years ago I would have found this article to be irrelevant as I was living with my parents and our house would clean itself (or so I thought).
Okay, so without further delay, let’s jump right into the guide.
Put things back when you’re done using them
In very simple words, whenever you take something out of its place, put it back after using it. That implicitly also means that everything has to have a place in the house (and if it doesn’t, check if you even need that thing). Just having everything in its place already makes a huge difference to how organized the house looks.
The best part here is that you don’t have to find extra time to do this. Just use any buffer time you find in between tasks to organize stuff. For example, when I’m waiting for stuff to cook on the stove, I put away all the cutting boards, knifes and spice bottles back to their places so that when I’m ready to eat, it is just the pot of food and my dishes out on the kitchen top.
Don’t leave dirty utensils in the sink overnight
It essentially takes the exact same time to either wash your dishes at night or in the morning. But the great feeling to see a clean empty sink in the morning is well worth pushing yourself to do the dishes before you go to bed. As an added bonus, your house stinks less over time.
Prevent, don’t just cure
Or in other words, don’t wait for dust to become visible on the shelves and fridge to stink before you start to think about doing something about it. Just like you wouldn’t wait to drink water up until your kidney hurts, make a cleaning schedule and stick to it irrespective of how unclean you felt on the particular day you planned to vacuum.
I prefer doing it in the first half of Saturday so that it feels like I have a shiny house for most part of the weekend.
Use the inertia to your advantage
The bad news is that if you get used to keeping your house just a notch above a hygiene meltdown, it will want to stay there and getting it back to normal would require significant effort (and probably a third party professional cleanup if you’re particularly good at not bothering with cleanliness).
The good news, similarly, is that if you keep it clean all the time, you’ll notice that if you skip cleaning a particular week (say you were travelling or just too tired), it wouldn’t feel terrible because the house is virtually just as clean. That’s just things wanting to stay the way they are, and it is easy to see how we can use it to our advantage.
When everything else fails, there’s this external motivator that works like a charm. Have people visit you from time to time. Bonus points if you have people who’ll visit you without or with very short notice. That way you’ll be forced to keep your house clean just out of the fear of embarrassment if nothing else.
Get motivated from within
I know, this one’s the hardest. But think about it this way: Why do people like going to the gym and working out? Or eating salads? Or studying? It is because they want to achieve the goal so desperately that they’re willing to put up with some hardships, that too with a smiling face. I feel like that’s the same with many things, including this one. You clean reguarly, not because you’re super fond of vacuuming the carpet, but because you like sitting on the couch on a saturday evening with the lights dimmed, chill music playing and everything smelling like a flower garden.
I hope that was informative. Caring for my place has made a huge difference to how homely I feel in this new city. No matter how tiring the day is, there’s always this one place, the place, where I can go at the end of the day and zone out of everything.
Thank you for reading