It is the end of a long day. I’ve survived another 8 hours at work, enforced homework, made dinner, bathed the baby and tucked the kids into bed. Literally all I want to do is kick back and relax before I pass out and have to start all over again. Unfortunately, relaxing is far-fetched when I look around the chaotic shambles of my house, looking like a scene straight out of Twister. Three days ago, I spent the majority of my Saturday cleaning this place and it is already a wreck. I am feeling defeated. I do not have the time or the energy to make this place shine right now. Plus, Netflix and Ben & Jerry’s sounds way better.
I spent way too much of my adult life reenacting this situation. But finally in the past year, I have adopted the concept my father tried to instill in my brain and have significantly improved my daily life.
“Small, consistent efforts.”
Every time my father said the phrase, I would suck my teeth and roll my eyes. But truly, the concept is simple and effective. Remember Mr. Rogers? Of course you do. Every time Mr. Rogers took off his sweater, he hung it right up and put it in his closet. Clearly that demonstrates small, consistent efforts. If Mr. Rogers didn’t take the time to place his sweaters on the hangers and put them away, he may have just tossed them on a table or his couch. And soon, he would be drowning in a sea of laundry.
As a psychology major, I’ve conducted a bit of research on the concept of messy home, messy life. It is evident that mess causes stress. Disorganization, clutter and mess can cause anxiety, leave people feeling overwhelmed and even depressed. Our ability to focus is compromised and over stimulation can occur. A messy environment is frustrating and leads to guilt and embarrassment.
“A place for everything, and everything in its place.”
If you aren’t living like Mr. Rogers, then it is probably time to start. Dedicating a little time as you go along is much more efficient than waiting for a disaster and having to spend hours cleaning up. Cleaning as you go daily can quickly turn into a habitual lifestyle. Washing a dish after you eat is more beneficial than waiting for a sink full of dishes. I’ve also learned to force myself to fold laundry right out of the dryer. Otherwise I will have piles and baskets full of clean laundry for days and constantly glare at them with dismay (terrible, I know).
Creating a schedule for other chores is a good idea to keep things in check as well. For example- designate a specific day of the week to sweep, mop, vacuum etc. Keeping all of the rooms clean and sanitized reduces stress and also illness.
The best part about “small, consistent efforts” is that it can be applied to all aspects of your life. Say you have a project you are working on (writing, a painting, something for work or school), consistently putting forth a bit of effort will get the job done. Or another example would be exercising. If you put in a half hour to an hour of exercise every day, overtime you will see results!
So if you ever have difficulty keeping things under control, give the “small, consistent efforts” theory a try. Let me know what you think. And if you have any other tips, please share them with me here!
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