Ok ok, I may have got you here with some cheeky click bait. Honestly, there is no life hack where you close your eyes, open them and the mess has disappeared. I am no Mary Poppins.
However, what I can tell you is that by creating some simple routines and habits it can feel like you never have to tidy up again. Sort of like magic, right?
Yes, this will mean a little bit of effort upfront, but it will save you a ton of time, a ton of energy and a ton of stress if you get it right and stay consistent when implementing even one of these.
I talked about the power of routines and habits in a previous blog post. If you fancy catching up, you can have a read right here. The great thing is you can apply the logic of routines and habits to absolutely anything, not just organisation and tidying up.
Right, let’s cut to the chase, how to never tidy up again (or at least feel like you aren’t)
Step 1: Have a mini reset every single day. Twice. Yup that’s right, twice. Once at lunchtime and one at dinnertime. Have a quick sweep around and pop everything back where it belongs. It will take you a few minutes out of your day instead of letting the mess pile up and feeling like a bigger job at the other end.
Simple as that.
If you need to, set an alarm until it becomes part of your lunchtime and dinnertime routine (see what I did there, I tagged it on to a routine you already have) and then once it has been done enough times this will just become a habit.
This tip is particularly useful for children’s toys as will make them get used to the idea that magic fairies don’t clear it up overnight, especially if you get them involved in your resets too.
Step 2: Finish everything you do. Now what on earth does that mean I hear you cry? Well, let me paint a picture for you. Two actually, I will be painting two.
First up. You are sitting on the sofa and you realise you need to charge your phone. You run upstairs and grab the charger and plug it in. Job done right? Wrong! What happens once your phone is charged? Does the charger stay where it is, or at best does it sit on the stairs until later? What if you quickly ran it back upstairs into its home. It would add approximately 30 seconds to your day (unless you live in some kind of mansion of course) and will save you having to tidy up later on.
Second example is a little bigger. Dinner time. You have cooked dinner; you have all enjoyed your meal and taken the plates to the kitchen but now you need to get the kids washed and to bed so you go do that. Kids out the bath and now you need to get them ready for bed and say goodnight so off you go to do that. Then it is time to relax… oh no wait, now you need to go and clear up in the bathroom and tidy that up. You also need to go and do the washing and drying up (plus any other tasks you have left unfinished that day).
What if this happened. You have cooked and enjoyed your dinner, but you have allowed enough time in your schedule before bath time to wash the dishes and clear up in the kitchen. Then after the kids are washed, you clear up in the bathroom (if they are too young to do themselves) and pop the towels where they belong as soon as they are dressed. Then it is time for a bedtime routine.
Look at that, as you have now finished the tidying up as part of the task in hand, you can now sit down and relax knowing everything is already done. I know magic tricks galore over here!
Step 3: Unitasking. Yes, you are correct, it is the exact opposite to multi-tasking, and I think a word I may have made up. This leads on nicely from step 2. Instead of having 3 jobs on the go at any one time, try and do one thing at a time and complete that job in its entirety (including clear up time) before moving on to the next thing. We all joke that women are great at multi-tasking. Whilst that may be true, no matter our gender, we are all more efficient when focussing on one thing at a time. Not only that but we are much less likely to leave a trail of destruction behind us because we tried to squeeze too much into a small window of time.
Step 4: Decluttering and Organising. Again, this is not the post to be going into detail about the benefits of decluttering and how to do it successfully. I have another post here and a free guide here for that. However, I will quickly say this. When everything has a designated space and your home is only filled with things you use and serves a purpose in your life, it is not only easier and quicker to tidy up, but you are much less likely to have it get to the stage that a mess needs tidying in the first place. A good organisational system prevents you from having an overwhelming mess that needs a long time tidying up if you get it right.
Now remember what I said at the beginning of this post. These steps are not a magic wand. They will take some extra effort and brain power to begin with. It will take actively thinking about these steps and taking consistent action to make a difference, but I promise you, if you give it a go, you will quickly see that the huge chunk of time spent tidying before cleaning or before friends come over or before you relax of an evening has suddenly disappeared.
If you found this useful in any way, I would love to know. Let’s connect on any of the socials linked at the top of the page.