“Clean your room!”
Growing up, I was always told to clean my room. Me and my brother would get up to all sorts of mischief: throwing food in random parts of the house (don’t ask me why), building ‘castles’ using chairs and blankets, swinging from blankets attached to cupboards (don’t ask me about that either). No matter how many times we cleaned up, our rooms would be a mess again.
One sibling turned into three. At slightly different age ranges, we had so many different toys, books, pens, pencils, clothes… it was next to impossible to keep clean. My mum would often step-in and clean it herself, but it was a lot to deal with so eventually our rooms stayed messy. The cleaning habits of our mum, did not pass on to us.
I believe this occurred for a few reasons. First, cleaning was seen as a laborious chore to do when asked. Second, when I did clean, it was more of an organised mess afterwards. I didn’t know how to clean properly. Third, I was taught to be grateful for every item I received, so I barely threw anything out and convinced myself I could re-purpose it all. At one point, I was obsessed with horror shows so I wanted to collect the fake spider-webs that was displayed at Halloween… and let me tell you, it didn’t add to the space in an appealing way.
The years under 12, I suffered severe asthma and pneumonia. It’s not until today as a 24 year old, I realised the health impacts cluttered spaces can have on the body.
Years went by and less and less attention was paid to organisation. Floors needed to be vacuumed, dishes needed to be done, rooms needed to be sorted. The house was stuck on ‘pause,’ while life continued. Unless someone was coming over, no change would ensue. Multiple times, we’d unwillingly try and clean but it never stayed clean. A house of 7 and not one clean spot. (See what I did there?!) Even a close friend of mine tried to help. It was incredibly exhausting. I think it was a mix of trying to do it alone and the heavy energy that lingered in the house.
Is this a useful habit?
Fast-forward to my 18-year-old self. Although I moved out, I had too many clothes, shoes and random items around my room. It was an organised mess at the best of times. My clothes were stored in ‘clothe bins’ and whatever couldn’t fit, was thrown onto a spare bed.
Occasionally, I’d find the will to sort through my things. It was so satisfying. I still didn’t understand the importance of organisation, despite that. Whenever I looked long enough at my clutter, I’d feel overwhelmed. I legitimately had NO IDEA how to change the habits I’d taken with me from childhood.
Less clutter = freedom
Until I met my boyfriend, organising and decluttering wasn’t on my priority list. One night, he had lined up all my shoes perfectly, and although it was something small, that sparked something inside me to change. Around this time, I was also watching YouTubers who were taking on the “minimalist lifestyle”. It was fascinating to me that these people could live with so little and be content. I wanted to be content.
I finally plucked up the courage to clean my room. I got rid of many unused clothes, gave away shoes, recycled random boxes I’d collected from online orders… all that heaviness was finally gone.
I felt like a new person. Your twenties are about re-inventing yourself, after all!
The years that followed involved the usual occurrences of life… pain, lessons and striving to be better. De-cluttering to me, felt like an emotional release. I didn’t need to hold onto pain, whether it was mental or in the form of material things. Funnily enough, when I’m mad, I clean. Quickly.
There are still days when I feel lazy and not every single thing in the house is in ship-shape order, but I’ve come a long way.
I’ve set a new habit and expectation within myself. It’s so easy to look at my space now and think, “Do I need those spare envelopes? Can I find a new home for these shoes?”. I’m constantly looking for ways to live with less or cleverly re-purpose appliances/furniture/storage items.
Those who struggle with severe hoarding tendencies or major disorganised traits, may need help. Be that friend who encourages. Be that friend who shows up.
Main lessons I learned since starting my journey:
- The job is never done until it’s done
- It’s OKAY to ask for help
- Accountability and self-control when shopping is essential
If you want to clean your home and declutter, I have created a guide to get you started. Cleaning doesn’t have to be laborious. Break it up into small tasks. Effort goes a long way! It’s worth it, I promise you!
Please feel free to contact me if you have any questions, or leave a comment below!