By now the “Marie Kondo method” of cleaning is a household term, thanks to her Netflix series and subsequent Facebook memes. February is the perfect month to take inspiration from the joyful tidier and take a look at your own apartment to see what could use some organization and cleaning help. Smack dab in between Winter and Spring, not to mention the fluctuating weather and no real holidays to celebrate (Valentine’s Day barely counts), you can use February’s cold weather but slowly lengthening days to find some productivity and get a head start on your Spring cleaning. You don’t have to go all-out and KonMari your entire apartment, but even small steps, simple additions, and quick habit changes can make all the difference.
Find What Works
Before you even start organizing you should take stock in what needs to be done and work out a plan. If you’re an overall tidy person already maybe you just need a deep clean and quick reorganization of things. If that’s the case, a good plan is to start high and work your way down, beginning with ceiling fans and corner cobwebs, working all the way down to the floors. If you instead have a bigger project on your hands, think about tackling one room at a time, or one category at a time (Mari Kondo breaks it up into five categories: clothing, books, documents, miscellaneous, and sentimental). Once you’ve decided what will work best for you, commit to finishing it before a certain date so you don’t keep procrastinating and letting things pile up even more.
Optimize Your Space
Once you have a basic plan in place, take a look at what you could be utilizing better. Do you have space under your bed or at the top of your closets that’s not being used? A quick online search will get you tons of options to organize those spaces, from shelving units to boxes of all shapes and sizes. Do the same process with your kitchen cabinets and drawers and under the bathroom sink. Is there anything you could do differently to organize and make things tidier? While you’re going through this process also keep track of items you could get rid of, either by donating or selling. If you have fewer items overall it’ll be that much easier to organize them.
Make Habit Changes
Something that can quickly pile up (literally) and make an otherwise tidy space look cluttered is using tables and counters as a catch-all for miscellaneous items. Instead of putting the mail down as soon as you walk in the door, take the few extra seconds to go through it then and there and throw away the junk mail. Get in the habit of completing the easy tasks as they come up, instead of letting them go for who knows how long. A good rule of thumb is that if the task will take less than a minute (putting the dishes in the sink, hanging your coat up, folding the blanket instead of leaving it out on the couch), do it right away instead of putting it off. Taking care of one 60-second task now is better than doing 30 little tasks later on.
Whether or not you want to go to the extreme of Marie Kondo and physically touch every single item you own, tidying and organizing can do wonders for your mental health and overall wellbeing. No matter how much time and effort you’re able to put into it, use this month to set yourself up for success the rest of 2019.
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