In my launch giveaway over on Instagram I asked people what they wanted to write about. Quite a few of the suggestions were quite personal requests, so I thought insted of trying to write a genral post to answer them, I could do it like an Agony Aunt kinda thing. Anyone remember those from magazines back in the day? Are they still a thing? Anyhoo, here’s my first “letter” and reply. I have made up a name for the person, to protect their identity and also because it made me smile a little!
*I’m not a qualified expert in anything, so any advice I can give will be purely from my own experiences and must be taken as such*
Dearest Dee, Like you; I am a small business owner who works from home, I also am quite poorly and have several fur-babies to care for. I am struggling to keep my home clean and tidy. I often feel overwhelmed by the mess, but the sheer size of the task ahead of me is terrifying. I want to get organised and sort it out – I just don’t know where to start! How do you manage to keep your home tidy and clutter free with so little energy? I am also sensitive to a lot of chemicals/strong fragrances, so any cleaning products you can suggest would be very helpful. Lots of love, The Sexy Stitchy Siren xxx
I understand totally where this person is coming from! The reality is anyone at any time can feel overwhelmed by the task of keeping a home – so to start with I just want to say that if you’re reading this and you feel this way, you are not a failure! It’s just housekeeping, don’t give it a pedestal to sit on okay?
It sounds to me like you have been trying to keep on top of it; but now it’s got to the point where it’s out of hand and you don’t know where to start, and the stress of it all is causing you to freeze. So to begin with, I suggest starting small. Tidying and de-cluttering are very popular at the moment – there seems to be a new show about a different method every single day – but not everyone has the capacity to de-junk their home in a week! If I attempted it, it would take me a fortnight to recover and then I’d be right back to the start again. So small, manageable steps every day are the key to taking back your home from the mess monsters.
Out of all the rooms you want to clear, pick the one that feels the most doable to you. Maybe it’s your bedroom, or bathroom? Whichever you choose is great. Next up, pick a place to start; I usually start with cupboards/shelves as it helps me to see results straight away but it’s up to you. Wherever you choose, the first step is emptying it out! Get all the stuff off/out/away from it then give it a good clean – it may need to be thoroughly dusted or wiped out depending on what it is – and make sure it’s dried thoroughly. Then begin putting things back; as you do this, really pay attention to your stuff and ask these questions
- When was the last time I used this? If the answer is more than 6 months ago it needs to go (with the exception of seasonal items)
- Do I have more than one of these? If the answer is yes, and you don’t need more than one, then pick just one to stay and let the others go.
- Do I need/like this? If the answer is remotely no, then let it go. Don’t be tempted to keep stuff that you might possibly use sometime! Chuck it!
I would suggest setting yourself a realistic timescale to complete each room. This can be tailored to your needs, depending on how well you are or how busy you are generally. A good guide is a week for a room. Cleaning as you go will make a difference, and developing a daily routine will have a knock on effect for the rest of your home!
Banishing the Mess Monsters forever!
Once the clutter is gone and things feel more under control, it’s all about a little bit every day. I adore the The Organised Mum Method because it provides an easy to follow routine with cleaning free weekends! Do head to her website, and check out her Instagram and Facebook page because she’s a star and the community is fabulous.
Getting the cleaning down is only half of it; during the tidying up phase you will have given away/chucked out lots of unnecessary stuff and you should hopefully have more space! The temptation can be to fill that space up immediately with more things but I would advise strongly against it – after all you already proved you don’t need so many things, so why start gathering again? Try applying the questions listed above to whenever you want to buy something – I guarantee that most of the time you’ll be able to leave it behind!
Chemical Free Cleaning Kit 101
I’m going to write a more extensive post about how we make our own cleaning products at home in future, but for now I suggest you gather the following bits and bobs together to begin building your “clean cleaning kit”
- White Vinegar
- Castille Soap
- Bicarbonate Soda
- Citric Acid
- Essential Oils – Lemon, Tea Tree, Rosemary & Lavender are good
- Rubber Gloves
- Scouring Pads
- Vodka – the cheaper the better (not for drowning your sorrows)
I’ve linked the products I buy from Amazon if you’d like to check them out, but feel free to shop around and give me a shout if you find some better bargains! Before you start throwing out all your old cleaning products, I urge you to either a) use them up if you can and b) save the bottles and spray caps where possible. A shocking amount of plastic from cleaning products heads straight to landfill every year and it’s unavoidable! A good soak in hot soapy water and a thorough rinse means you’ve got a clean spray bottle for your homemade cleaning products that will last a long time – isn’t it better we use these plastics as much as possible before they have to go in the bin?
I hope that I’ve answered the question properly for anyone reading this who struggles with cleaning their home. Before I got sick I was a super housewife with immaculate skirting boards and carpet with hoover lines going one way – so it’s taken me a while to adjust to learning to clean slowly! Ultimately, your mental well-being and self worth is paramount in all of this; achieving something positive each and every day will help you no end, but should never become a stick to beat yourself with!
Do you struggle with your home? What tips and tricks have you found to cope? Please comment below and share your wisdom!