Self-Care Sunday: easy ways to keep a clean living space

Morgan Grindy

The pile of dirty laundry that stares at you from across the room, the overflowing garbage can that has turned into a balancing act of wrappers and crumpled up pieces of paper or the scattered dirty dishes; that definitely “haven’t” been there for over a week.

It can be hard to prioritize keeping a clean room in college when there are papers to write and an endless list of other things to do. However, it can be easier to maintain a tidy living space than you’d think and the benefits that come with it are more than just not having to worry about stepping on a thumbtack that was hiding in the mess. Here are some ways you can incorporate cleaning into your daily routine and why they’re important.

The 5-minute rule. Simply put, if the task at hand will take you less than five minutes to complete, do it now! Cleaning the top of a desk, cleaning a few dirty dishes, folding clothes or picking up and putting away some things from the floor can all be done in 5 minutes. Spend too much time thinking about it and your 5-minute task will turn into 30 minutes.

Make your bed in the morning. Right when you wake up, straighten out your sheets and fluff up your pillows. Life Hack, a website for people looking to make life’s tasks a little bit easier, says, “As for one of the best tips to keep your bedroom clean, you should really start tidying your bed.” Additionally, Charles Duhigg, author of The Power of Habit, says making your bed every morning is directly correlated with higher levels of productivity and overall happiness.” Not only will it immediately make your room look cleaner and improve your mood, but it also reduces the chances of you getting back in bed.

Keep surfaces clutter-free. Try to not put things on top desks, tables or dressers. The more you get used to keeping things on surfaces in your space, the more you will do it. This will make a room look more organized and you will be less likely to misplace or lose things.

Make sure everything has a home. Find a place where each thing can permanently stay, so you know where to put it, where to find it and nothing will be left floating around the room. This helps keep things from being lost but also will help you maintain a clean room for a longer period of time.

Invest in storage and put your shoes away. Categorize your things and find a way to store them neatly in something such as storage bins, shelving or drawers. Also, put away your shoes when you get home! Shoes most commonly clutter up the floor. Put them with all the others so you know where they are and avoid losing them.

There are plenty of other ways to improve the organization in your living space; find what works for you! Keeping things consistent and doing small things throughout the day will help avoid the need for a day’s worth of cleaning. Keeping your living space tidy is not only practical and visually beneficial, but it can also improve your health!

The acts of making your bed in the morning, or spending a few minutes cleaning something, produce a feeling of accomplishment and increase self-esteem. Additionally, having a dirty living space has been proven to cause depression in some individuals.

An unorganized or dirty room makes you feel a lack of control, and negatively affects your mental health. In Graham Hill’s TED Talk, “Less stuff, More happiness,” he emphasizes three main rules to improve your living situation. Hill says you must “edit ruthlessly, think small and create multifunctional spaces.” Getting rid of unnecessary or unused possessions will create more space for more important things or things that make you happier. Living in a smaller space with fewer things increases space for happiness and creativity. Hill says that, “less might equal more. So let’s make room for the good stuff.”

Having and maintaining a clean room is important. Try making some of these tips and tricks a part of your daily routine and you might find yourself living a more organized life- in more ways than one!


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