Dislike Cleaning? Here’s a Messy Person’s Guide to Staying Tidy With Minimal Effort

As much as we despise the thought of completing house chores, it's a known fact that cleaning feels good. Not only can it help you destress and clear your mind, but it also doubles as a workout, increases productivity and the end result gives you peace of mind. I mean, is there any better feeling than sleeping in crisp, washed linens or relaxing in a clean smelling, warm bathtub?

However, staying on top of household chores is easier said than done, especially when tidiness doesn't come naturally. For messy people, cleaning and organising is incredibly painful, so much so they'll do just about anything to avoid having to dust surfaces, give their cupboards a detox or anything that requires a vacuum and mop. 

If you can relate, there's no need to constantly be on the search for the world's easiest and fastest ways to stay organised so those neat-freaks in your life don't throw continuous criticism at you for your lack of hygiene. We asked self-proclaimed "neat freaks" and founders of professional organisational company TIDEE, Emma Rosham and Michelle Rubin, to provide all the information you need in your life that will help you learn to love cleaning (yes, really) and how to keep every room in your home looking immaculate, with minimal effort. 

Can a lifelong messy person learn to become tidy?

The short answer? 100 per cent.

According to experts, it can take approximately 5-12 days for a new habit to stick, so if you adopt a few new habits starting today then this time next week you'll be an improved and tidier person, not to mention your home will look impressively different, too. 

"As the saying goes 'old habits die hard', it can be hard to stop doing the things you've been doing for a long time. If you've always been a messy person then you're not going to suddenly wake up one day and magically become tidy," Rosham and Rubin explain. 

But new, tidy habits can be formed.

"Start setting some achievable daily goals like doing a general tidy. For example, picking up everything on the floor and putting all the dishes away at the end of the day. These little changes can go a long way in helping you become tidy. It’s the desire to want to change, the practice to make it stick and the satisfaction with seeing how it can improve your everyday life."

What are the most essential cleaning hacks that will help a messy person stay tidy? 

If staying tidy doesn't come naturally, Rosham and Rubin share six of their top secrets to getting - and staying - organised.

1. Plan

"Plan what areas of the home or office need to be decluttered and organised, and write your list down. What areas are causing you the most anxiety and stress? Prioritise these areas first and work through the list systematically, tackling one space at a time."

2. There's a place for everything

"You know the saying 'a place for everything and everything in its place'? If you give everything a home, it makes it a cinch to find things when you need them. Things won’t get lost and order is easily maintained."

3. Invest in containers and labels 

"Invest in storage containers to house your items and ensure they're labelled. Having everything labelled will give you (and the rest of your household members) the best chance of staying organised."

4. Edit frequently

"Dedicate time - whether it’s weekly, monthly or quarterly - to editing your things. This should apply to every area of your home. For example, on a daily/weekly basis, decant new shopping items into labelled containers in the pantry; on a monthly basis, go through cupboards and donate items no longer needed (be ruthless when it comes to items in your wardrobe).

"One rule we like to stick to which helps us to stay organised is: for every new item in, one must go out!"

5. Book-in repetitive tasks

"Book in those repetitive tasks and make it fun by giving them a name, like Clean Sheets Saturday (get household members to strip their beds, help with the washing and make the beds). Play some funky music, name them and make those habits stick! There are even cleaning calendars you can download if you really want to get super organised."

6. Lose the paper

"Get rid of paper as soon as it comes into the house - deal with it and recycle it. It's even better if you can get everything online, action it and then move it to a labelled folder in your inbox (for example, 'Bills: Paid')."

How to keep each room in your house clean with minimal effort

Bathroom

It's all about choosing the right storage solutions to fit your bathroom and complement the style of the space. 

"Our favourite storage idea for the bathroom is using clear containers and dividers to easily show where everything is. We also like to organise in terms of use and frequency — your daily skincare items should be front and centre because no one likes to search high and low when you’re getting yourself ready in the morning.

"Also, if the space is tight, use stackable containers to maximise space and if you're living with other people, make sure all your items are kept separately."

Bedroom and wardrobe

Rosham and Rubin's top wardrobe hack is to store season items up high in storage bags. 

"As simple as it may seem, finding the right way to store your clothing (i.e. by use, season or style) is quite a challenge, which is why we suggest revamping your wardrobe every season by swapping out seasonal items to maximise the functionality. It’s a commitment but it’s well worth it," they explain. 

"Also, storing items like shoes and handbags in baskets or easily accessible containers will make getting ready in the morning an absolute breeze."

As for your bed, try washing your sheets once a week to avoid the build up of bacteria and other nasties. 

Living room

This is probably the space that's most prone to clutter and disorganisation since it's the place where we gather with family and friends. 

"We find the easiest way to ensure a tidy area is to make sure everything has a place, regardless of whether it’s a spot for the remote, books, magazines or games. Storing extra blankets and throws in a basket, ideally in a cupboard in or near the living area, is always a good idea for easy access and less mess."

Dining room

To reiterate everything above, clutter tends to accumulate if items don't have a designated home. 

"If you give everything a home, it makes it a cinch to find things when you need them. Items won’t get dumped as often, won’t get lost and order is easily maintained.

"To ensure your dining room is ready for any occasion, store your tableware and linen in easy-to-access cupboards and drawers."

Here's a guide on how to properly store your linens. 

Kitchen

Rosham and Rubin have one word when it comes to the kitchen: labels. 

"We find this is the key to organising your kitchen and pantry. It’s an easy and cost-effective way to give all items a place," they explain.

"For the pantry, the key is to contain items by food category. For the kitchen drawers, it’s all about divide and conquer — we find keeping larger drawers organised with storage solutions such as drawer dividers, is the best way to stay tidy."

For more from Emma Rosham and Michelle Rubin, follow them on Instagram @tideelife.

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