This Simple Motto Helps Me Stay on Top of Daily Clutter

published Jun 27, 2022
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Credit: Viv Yapp

I like to think I’m an organized person. But, let’s face it, no matter how organized you can be, things can pile up — and fast. You could be in an extremely busy season of your life, and sure enough, clutter will form, laundry will grow, and before you know it, the mess has become a little bit unruly. 

I try not to get to that point of no return, where the chores are sky high and I feel like I’m drowning. In my best efforts, I can say I hardly ever get there. I’m married with no kids, so I am usually picking up after myself, my husband, and our dog, and cleaning the common areas I share with my in-laws, whom I’m fortunate enough to live with as my husband and I save for our first home. As any pet parent knows, the pet hair is aplenty and messes are bound to happen. (Luckily, there are so many cleaning devices out there that are fit for this purpose!)

The best piece of advice I can offer you is to have a simple rule to follow, a guidepost to how you want to clean, or a motto to get you over the hump. When I want to stay on top of daily clutter, there’s a simple yet crucial saying that I repeat to myself and follow nearly every day. It may seem straightforward, but I always keep this motto in mind: If it’s simple to do, do it now. 

I am a big believer in cleaning as you go, regardless of the task at hand, whether you’re cooking, doing the dishes, or folding the laundry. If the task I have is simple enough, it should be done right away. I like to have the satisfaction of knowing that if I just spend this small amount of time right now to complete it, I won’t have to suffer later with a big list of tasks that’ll take over my weekend.

So what’s considered simple enough? 

To be a simple enough task, it should take you no longer than 15 to 20 minutes to complete. If you think about it, this saves you over an hour and a half a week. (And that’s just if you have one task a day!)

Have some downtime while you wait for your dinner to cook? Clean up the counters. When you finish a meal, wash the dishes immediately. As much as my dog loves a warm load of laundry on the bed, I make sure to organize, fold, and put away clothes as soon as possible. (Sorry, Leo!)

But, if this task will require a bit more attention — perhaps the cabinets require some repair or a stain on the couch that really can’t get out — I make a note to take care of it later on. This also allows you the time to thoroughly research how to fix things up, as well as shop for any replacement pieces.

How has it helped? 

This cleaning motto has saved me time and time again from major clutter accumulations and feeling like the rug is being pulled under me with piles and piles of items on my to-do lists. It also frees me up to tackle any bigger items on my agenda and create weekend projects that I’m eager to work on instead of being swamped with the seemingly endless amount of little tasks. 

It allows me to be intentional and think about how I am going to repair something or what I’m going to replace items with instead of rushing to patch it all together. In the end, it makes me feel accomplished — that I at least did this one thing today instead of procrastinating. 

Do you have a cleaning motto? Share it in the comments!