Every weekday, the second I walk through the front door I immediately head to my desk and unload all my stuff on top of it. I kiss my boyfriend hello, cuddle with our puppy, change into pajamas, pour a glass of wine, and ignore the desk for the rest of the night. I call it my “dump spot.”
As the week progresses, my spot gets messier and messier. Mail, books, sunglasses, office supplies, random papers, and other miscellaneous objects take over my desk to the extent that any work I need to do at home has to get done on the couch.
And believe it or not, my dump spot is an improvement. When we first moved in together eight months ago, my boyfriend (who is a bit of a neat-freak) was appalled at my messiness. Before I lived with him, I was content to let my whole apartment turn into a dump if it meant I had more free time. Needless to say, that had to change.
So, trust me when I say I know it can be difficult to keep a clean house when life gets hectic. But, in the interest of compromise, I knew I had to develop some new, cleaner habits. Here’s what I’ve learned about keeping things neat without sacrificing too much of your life.
Prevention is Key
It turns out that the best way to avoid a mess is to not let it happen in the first place. So, instead of discarding rejected clothing options onto your floor, put them back on their hangers. After you shower, hang up your towel instead of leaving it on the floor. Throw out containers as soon as they’re empty. Take the extra 30 seconds to rinse your dirty coffee mug, rather than just leaving it in the sink.
Being messy is more convenient in the short term, but later, when your apartment is covered in wrinkled clothes and dirty dishes, you’ll regret cutting corners. Just do the little things as you go, and maintaining a clean place will be considerably less time-consuming.
Stock Up on Storage
We all had that special place when we were younger. Be it a closet, a toybox, or under the bed, we had that spot where we simply shoved our mess when we had to clean in a hurry—or didn’t really want to clean at all.
The adult version of this is to take $50 and go to Target or IKEA and buy a bunch of cute, fun storage containers. Simply take things that usually end up all over the place and make a place for them—I have a box for art supplies, a box for beauty samples, a box for loose photographs. Or, if you’re especially unmotivated, just buy one container and designate it for all your loose stuff. There’s nothing wrong with a little organized chaos, especially if you’re the only one who knows it’s there.
There’s only so much time in the day to work, eat, sleep, and (hopefully) relax. So, don’t make yourself crazy by striving for a perfectly clean home. In reality, a little mess is perfectly okay! Case in point: My “dump spot.” I clean it when it gets ridiculous, but for the most part, I just let it go (and thankfully, so does my boyfriend—at least for now).
So rather than expecting yourself to be perfect at home as well as at work—just accept that things get messy. Then, go make yourself a margarita and turn a blind eye to the little bit of disorder that remains. You deserve it.