Q: How do you make keeping tidy a daily habit? Every few weeks I have major cleanups, but I never can keep it clean or develop a habit of doing doing a little each day.
A: There’s no one way that’s going to work for everyone, so you may have to try a few things and see what sticks.
One thing I might suggest is setting a time each day to get some cleaning in. I personally find that it’s easiest for me to do stuff as soon as I get home from work, before I’ve changed out of my work clothes. Some people do well in the morning, some like to make cleaning part of their evening routine. It really depends on you.
I’d say one of the most major ways to develop the habit is not to try to do too much. Aim for 10 or 20 minutes a day to start, hell, even less than that if you have to. If it’s too much of a time commitment, it’s going to be far too easy for you to get overwhelmed or discouraged and not do it.
If you find yourself wanting to just skip it, try to make yourself do at least one small thing: clear off one surface, put ten things away, wash five dishes, whatever. Just enough so that you’re still doing something, but not so much that you feel like it’s taking over your life. In time, those little tiny steps will add up, and will also make it considerably easier for you to build the habit, since you’ll start to get out of the mindset of associating cleaning with major cleanups that involve huge amounts of time and aggravation.
Another thing you can do is to get in the habit of doing one thing to improve a room every time you’re in it. When you walk out of the living room to the kitchen, bring a few dishes with you. When you’re in your bedroom, put a few items of clothes away. When you’re in the bathroom, give the counter a quick wipedown. Nothing that takes more than a few extra seconds, but things that will slowly but surely start to make a difference in the overall cleanliness of your home.
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