Ever since you were a little kid, there has been a voice (either from a parent of inside your own head) saying “Clean your room!” And while you’ve grown up enough to understand the reasoning behind it (less dust, for instance), you still struggle with it. You may have mastered the art of cleaning it, but have you mastered the art of keeping it clean?
Here are some tips:
1. Don’t just clean, organize. One of the best ways to keep your room clean for longer is to get rid of a lot of stuff (or start keeping stuff in a different room), and making sure that everything in your bedroom has a place for it to go. This may be difficult for some. I currently live with my boyfriend and another couple, so I don’t have a lot of control over what ends up in here sometimes. But everything has a designated space. Random things that don’t belong in the room have a basket in the corner that I empty out when it starts to look cluttered. The point of intense organization of your bedroom is that if everything has a place to go, you’ll be less inclined to put it on the floor. This isn’t to say that you won’t put things on the floor sometimes. This is just to say that if it has a place then you’ll be more likely to put it away eventually.
2. Add the little things to your routine. Remember those clothes you put on the floor because you were tired and just wanted to plop into bed? Why not make it part of your morning routine to hang those up, or put them in the laundry, and straighten your bedding? Those two things combined should take roughly less than five minutes. And your room will be cleaner after, and you will have started your day with an accomplishment, however minor.
3. Take five-ten minutes. Every couple of days I notice that even though I’ve been pretty good at putting everything in its place, somehow my room feels not quite right. That’s when I set a timer for about five to ten minutes and use that time to clean as much as possible. That’s when I dust and sweep and wipe down the vines, or pick up little tags and receipts that have somehow ended up not in the trash (I’m looking at you boyfriend). After just five minutes, there is usually a noticeable difference. If there’s not, I go for another five.
4. What do you need? What aspects of a clean room are your favorite? For me it is a made bed and clothes off of the floor. So, when I tidy during the week, I focus on those things because those are the things that help me feel relaxed and like I can sleep! Think about what helps you? Air freshener? All the drawers are closed? Dusted fan blades? It could be something silly, it doesn’t matter! Whatever it is, make it a priority.
5. Watch TV. Every couple of days there is a laundry pile in the corner of the room, on top of some trunks, waiting for me to fold it. A younger version of me would put that off forever, picking through it until I’d worn everything. Now, I just take the time to fold it while watching TV. It may sound obvious, but you can get a lot done while watching TV. If your room is starting to get messy, ask yourself what you can do during the commercial break? Or the fight sequence in the Buffy episode you’ve seen a ton of times. You can probably be more productive than you thought.
The point of these tips is to keep your room from turning into a disaster reminiscent of your childhood for as long as possible. This isn’t to say that you won’t have to one day do all the cleaning in the world again. But hopefully, if you keep it up, you’ll only have to do that once or twice a year.