If you have a strong aversion to cleaning, this post is for you. Perhaps cleanliness is not your expertise, but you want it to be a part of your daily life. You don’t really like the clutter but you’ve learned to live with it. Maybe you feel that whatever personality trait makes someone neat has bypassed you. No matter how many books you read or hacks you try, you can’t seem to get it together.
We have some good news for you. Cleanliness is not a personality trait you either have or don’t have. While some may more easily gravitate to it than others do, keeping a clean space has a lot to do with mindset. Excess clutter might even indicate that you’re experiencing stress in your personal life. So let’s take a look at how you can improve your mindset to make cleaning a bit easier.
Stop pressuring yourself to be perfect.
One thing that inhibits people from getting organized is the pressure they put on themselves. Some people with a perfectionist mindset can often be unorganized, which sounds wrong but it’s actually true. When they look at what they need to do, they feel overwhelmed and stressed. They decide to run away from the feeling of failure through avoidance.
If you can reframe how you view cleaning to make it less overwhelming, you’re not as likely to seek avoidance. Break things up into small milestone achievements. Realize that you won’t reach perfection and that’s okay. By flipping your perspective on what your space should look like, you can paradoxically get more done than you would otherwise.
Have you ever trained a dog with his favorite treats? Or taken your child for ice cream when they got a good grade? That’s called positive reinforcement, and you can use it on yourself, too. Maybe you’re not naturally motivated to keep your office desk free of clutter, but you can use positive reinforcement to motivate you to finish the task. Like saving the next episode on your binge watch-list for after you put all your files away. The reward should be enticing and the task should be manageable.
Address the root of the problem.
Sometimes, when our space is messy, it’s a reflection of some inner turmoil. When you have anxiety or other uncomfortable feelings overwhelming you, it makes everything difficult – including cleaning. Take control by addressing those problems first. Whether you start a meditation practice, dive into an activity that nourishes you, or speak to a professional who can help you work through those issues, you’ll be able to tackle the other tasks in your life more easily.
Reward yourself for achieving the goal.
When you finally get something under control that you’ve been focused on for a while, remember to reward yourself. Finally get the basement completely clean? Organize your walk-in closet? Deep-cleaned your car? Take some time for yourself and remember to enjoy that space. That’s an incentive for the next time you have a big task to tackle. Cleanliness may not come easily to you, but you still did it. Go you!