Cleaning isn’t something that people are born to love or hate. The concepts of hating or loving the act of cleaning, being “inherently” disorganized, if not exceptionally lazy, are often viewpoints that are learned. This can include good and bad habits that may lead up to those feelings and behaviors.
People regularly learn to hate cleaning from other individuals around them. This can start as early as childhood, but also on through to adulthood as well.
For instance, kids are usually and inadvertently taught that cleaning is bad. As we get older, we’re then typically reinforcing that thought pattern, declaring or portraying it as a negative to ourselves and others, and rarely stating the benefits.
Sometimes, it’s even used as a form of punishment or gets attached to a bribe later, rather than it being treated as any necessary yet beneficial habit to develop, such as brushing one’s teeth.
Brushing your teeth isn’t fun but it’s a necessity. It even becomes so ingrained, thanks to consistency and perception, that people learn to do it automatically. This not only makes the act of brushing seem less tedious, people usually enjoy the results after the fact, too. The same can be said for cleaning if you think about it.
Your household’s dynamic and overall routine, level of communication, and other factors can play a key role in your perception. This can affect how you view tasks involved with cleaning and how well or consistently you perform those tasks.
So how do you become better at cleaning and organizing and stay more consistent with? Better yet: how do you make it all suck just a bit less?
Good vs. Bad Habits
Keeping a tidier and more efficient home isn’t so much of a task as it is a habit. Because everyone and every household can vary, there usually isn’t a one-size-fits-all solution either.
As with developing or breaking any habit, it can take time and experimenting to figure things out. Sometimes, changes may be necessary and experimenting is often half the battle.
Your mindset can also play an important role in how well you clean or even view doing it. For instance, it can be a lot easier to stick to habit when you feel some type of reward from it. With cleaning, a reward is usually in the form of instant gratification, having to do it less, or even just seeing your house stay clean for at least a 24 hours rather than 5 seconds. While that may sound ideal, it’s not always within our control or possible.
Sometimes, the best solution can simply be to change your routine or take different approaches. Since each household often differs from other households, that solution or approach will usually vary too.
Having a basic system can make a big difference, even as you experiment with new methods and figure out what works best for you. Cleaning can also be more manageable when treated as a lifestyle change, rather than a temporary fix or habit. This is more so the case when that change is maintained long enough to allow the person to see how positive and beneficial it is versus the way things were before.
As a recovering slob, heavy-duty procrastinator, Jedi of laziness, and former Queen of Excuses, I know how hard it can be to change bad cleaning habits into good ones—or to even motivate yourself to get started.
Sometimes, bad cleaning habits come from a lack of knowledge or experience, too, which is why a little guidance, experience, and wisdom can make a world of difference.
Over time, I learned to aim for neat-ish—not obsessing or feeling pressure to be a perfectionist or pristine. If I wanted the habit to stick, I had to learn to like it. In order to like it, I had to stay realistic, be kind to myself and others around me, and accept that life changes and so will my routines/habits.
I learned to treat cleaning as a hobby, challenge, or ritual—an act of kindness to myself and my household by creating a clean, safe sanctuary to come home to from the outside world, rather than the chaotic whirlwind it used to be. I embraced decluttering as a way to eliminate more visual and physical stress from my environment, effectively replacing it with visual and physical harmony.
Not only has this journey led me to a cleaner home and work environment, where I spend less time working at it, but it wound up changing me in a positive way and my life right along with it. I haven’t looked back since! Even as family and friends initially wondered if I was losing it, I learned new habits and found more time to work towards becoming a better person and more well-rounded, productive, and successful in other areas of my life.
At Neat-ish, the goal is to provide a little insight on how to clean in less time, with less effort, and in ways that might even make cleaning more fun, if not addicting—or to at least help make it a little more tolerable.
I also hope to help readers find better methods that work for them, specifically, since customization is crucial with a good cleaning routine. This is achieved through helpful product reviews, research, how-to articles, tips, and overall experiences, after several years of research and my own trial and error.
With any luck, I also hope to help individuals not only hate cleaning less but show them that there can be a light at the end of the tunnel, after all.