Sinclaire Sparkman: Easy tips for a clean house

Sinclaire Sparkman • Updated Nov 17, 2017 at 1:00 PM

Cleaning up can be a real chore. It is an exercise in discipline to keep things tidy, and I’m often one to resist those nagging piles of filth, but I’ll tell you from experience, it’s easier than you think to make that daunting dirt mountain disappear.

Whether living alone or with others, organization is important to our mental health, especially as the holiday season looms. As the guest list grows, so does the number of things that need doing around the house. Sometimes things just get so overwhelming that the easiest solution appears to be dump it all in the trash or pile it in the closet. I’m here to tell you there is a better way to solve the cleanliness conundrum. 

I, too, have been guilty of letting things pile up. Things like dust and dishes, cat hair and important papers, but recently I found it within myself to clean up everything, and I was surprised by the ease of it.  

Watching the clock during my cleaning frenzy was amazing. I decided to move my desk from one end of the living room to the other, which required moving the bookshelf, which required taking almost everything off the bookshelf. I thought I was at it for half the day when I got up in front of my cozy new work nook, but it had only taken an hour to do all that, including sweeping and dusting the area. 

Taking things out of the closet and putting them back in order only took a collective 30 minutes, and I even found things I thought were lost forever.

Deep cleaning the entire kitchen lasted maybe 20 minutes, and the bathroom took only 10, baseboards and all. With breaks in between, my house was spic and span in a matter of hours. OK, so collectively it took all weekend, but I didn’t spend the entirety of it cleaning nonstop. The point is: it’s easier than you think. 

The best way I’ve found to organize is throw it all in one big pile and then put it back where it belongs. Put similar things together. Hair stuff goes in one drawer, first-aid stuff in another. Video games go with controllers and pens and pencils go with paper and paperclips. Also, make it functional for how you live. If you find yourself throwing the mail in a pile, put a filing cabinet and recycling bin close by and just go through it when you get it. Once your method is set up you spend way less time doing the tidy things.

The biggest problem I’ve found with cleaning is that messes are daunting. Looking at the dirty shower or that mess of clothes feels like miles of work that may never end. But when I actually start to do it I realize that one task rarely takes the amount of time I spend procrastinating. Just try. It’s pretty difficult to fail at cleaning. 

My strategy on cleaning up is to do things in chunks. Take five minutes to wipe off surfaces in one room. Tackle the dishes and then take a break. Just doing something is progress, plus it is something positive to focus on to create motivation for the next task. Once things are actually clean it’s much easier to keep them clean by using the do-it-in-chunks method. It’s really not as time consuming and never ending as it seems. 

And then, once everything is done, it’s the best thing in the world to relax in a clean home. Cleaning pays off in peace of mind, and your guests will appreciate not eating dust as a side dish with Thanksgiving dinner.   

Sinclaire Sparkman is The Democrat’s news editor. Email her at [email protected]

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