Author: Kelsey Fukuda
Up until college I never really had a space just for myself. Throughout both elementary and middle school I always shared a room with my sister and although she went off to college while I was in high school, my room still had many of her belongings. So when I moved out into the dorms and eventually into an apartment with a room all to myself, I decided I wanted to start cleaning my room more. I’ll admit that it was easy before to not clean because I had the excuse of “it’s not really all of my stuff”, but after finally getting my own space, I decided to try and get in the habit of regularly tidying up.
A couple years ago there was a popular book that came out called The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up by Marie Kondo. In the book, she details a Japanese style of simplifying and organizing your home. Although I did not actually read the book, my coworkers mentioned some of the main ideas to me. Marie Kondo suggests to go through your belongings and ask yourself “does this bring me joy?” to determine what stays and goes in your house. I don’t do this with all my items, but it’s a thought that pops up whenever I try to tidy up. Since graduating, I’ve temporarily moved back home and quickly realized that many of the items I left behind during college are unnecessary for me to keep. I’ve been working with my mom to find items throughout the house for us to donate and clear up space.
I also quickly learned that the level of tidiness in my room seems to impact my workflow. Having and “excess [of] things in your surroundings can have a negative impact on your ability to focus and process information”. Surrounding clutter competes for attention, thus decreasing performance and increasing stress. Although it can be difficult to stay organized, it pays off to focus on maintaining constructive habits that enforce cleanliness in your habits. Messy spaces can make it difficult to focus on particular tasks or to achieve goals throughout the day. Messy spaces (especially our rooms where we are usually trying to relax) can lead to restlessness. It is difficult to feel relaxed in a space that is less tidy.
Now that I’ve mentioned the drawbacks of clutter, here are some of the tips that I have for people wanting to make tidying up a consistent habit:
Find your rhythm. Some people are better at constantly cleaning and maintaining their room while others prefer to wait until a specific day to do it all at once. Find the rhythm of cleaning that works best for you! Personally, I prefer to choose one or two days a week to clean for about an hour. I designate specific days in my google calendar to clean my room. However, I do also have friends that will clean up things constantly in little five minute bursts.
Listen to something. Cleaning for more than 30 minutes can be quite boring, so I highly recommend to listen to something (either music or a podcast) to help pass the time better. Rather than feeling bored by tidying up, you could be enjoying a nice song or learning something new from a podcast.
Use containers. Having a defined space or location for your items instantly helps with making things look tidier. By putting things into storage or containers, it helps to compartmentalize where items should go.
Consider donating. Many times I will feel bad for throwing away something associated with certain memories or I will feel guilty for getting rid of an expensive item. However, I need to constantly remind myself that sometimes things would be more beneficial to others. Donating is a great way to get rid of items without feeling completely wasteful.