Let me explain why cleaning without organizing doesn’t work. Do you ever feel like no amount of time you spend cleaning is ever enough? Have you ever considered that it might not be your effort that is failing but rather a lack of organization? Chances are pretty high that this is one of the reasons you aren’t getting the results you want, it is because of a lack of organization.
What is the difference between cleaning and organizing?
Let’s start from the beginning, cleaning and organizing is not the same thing. Cleaning is getting rid of dust, dirt, and grime and keeping your home and your items in good shape. Cleaning includes mundane and quite boring tasks like dusting, vacuuming, take out the trash, doing the dishes, and making your bed. Organizing on the other hand, is structuring your home and setting up systems to support you in your daily life. Organizing includes tasks like setting up storage, filing papers, labeling, and sorting through items. Both are essential to having a good looking home, but having a sufficiently organized home will reduce the time you spend on cleaning!
Why do you need to organize?
I speak from experience when I say that no amount of cleaning will ever be enough if you don’t have an organized home. The beauty of organizing is to learn for yourself how to set up systems that will enable you in your daily life. Naturally, it will always take more time to clean if you don’t have these systems in place. If you feel unsure or unmotivated to start with organizing, then have a look at this blog post on 5 reasons to start organizing today.
There we look deeper into these 5 benefits:
- To find your things
- To feel creative
- To feel in control
- To feel calm
- Eliminate excuses
What does it mean to organize?
Once we have motivation sorted there are two main functions of organizing you should know about. One is simply setting up storage in your home, the other is learning how to maximize the use of your available storage space. You need to learn the fundamentals of decluttering and how to properly store items to fully utilize your available space. But frankly, it is not rocket science, throw away broken items or items you haven’t used in a while. In terms of storing items, there are a gazillion Youtube and Pinterest tips for how to store items efficiently for all areas in your home. You can also find tons of useful DIYs right here on this blog.
You don’t have to find the perfect storage set up or method for storing your items right from the start. You just have to find one. Usually just sorting through a dresser, pantry, or cabinet, and putting things back into their place is a good start. You might think that sounds an awful lot like cleaning, but actually, this is decluttering and will free up space in your home for the things you love.
If you feel completely lost with where to start with organizing, you should read this blog post with 10 steps to start with organizing. In the blogpost we go deeper into how to follow these 10 Steps to get you started:
- Make a plan of action
- Settle for an organizing method
- Start with what makes the biggest impact
- Tackle the hardest challenge straight away
- Set reasonable expectations
- Don’t cut any corners
- Take breaks
- Celebrate small victories
- Check-in with yourself
Why don’t cleaning without organization work?
Now we have had a look at benefits with organizing and steps to get started. One questions still remain though. Why is cleaning not enough? Because without organizing you will end up spending more time cleaning and the results of that won’t last as long.
You will spend more time cleaning
Not having a system or a dedicated place for items will make you spend a lot of time trying to figure out where to put your things. Not having enough storage will make it more difficult to clean. You might end up a situation where you need to shuffle things around just in order to be able to do your cleaning. You will have to “clean” to do your cleaning. One common example of this is when you store things directly on the floor and you have to move things around in order to be able to vacuum.
In a home without sufficient storage and cleaning, I would say from my personal experience, that you spend about three times as much time cleaning as in an organized home.
Let’s make a little experiment! Ask yourself do you go around your home to retrieve dirty laundry? Or is it waiting in your laundry basket when you feel like doing your laundry? I have been on both sides and I think we all have different levels of structure in place, in different stages in our lives. But say for the experiment, that you fall into the latter category and you go around retrieving your laundry. Those minutes, add up. If that’s 3 minutes each time you do your laundry and you do your laundry once a week for 50 years. You will have been looking for your laundry for 130 hours in your life! That’s not even including the actual time for doing the laundry. So start using that laundry basket folks!
The results don’t last
Not having sufficient storage often means storing things on the floor or in piles. It might look really good for a day or two, once you need something from that pile it will start to look messy again. So cleaning without organizing, means having the results of all that hard work going away really quickly. I refuse to do that to myself anymore, so should you!
Nowadays I will start by assessing a situation and ask myself. Do I have everything I need to do it properly and in a sustainable way? I start by figuring out how to store things before I start cleaning. A lot of the times I can repurpose things I already have for storage. However I am not afraid to invest in storage items in my home. If you go for quality items you can take these with you and utilize them for the rest of your life. Investing in storage items is always a good idea!
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You can find more helpful organizing tips here!