The Marie Kondo method of tidying up homes was all the rage in 2019. People all over were getting rid of anything that didn’t “spark joy” (As a result, I heard Goodwill donation centers were gold mines for a brief period, but that’s neither here nor there). Although the Netflix series Tidying Up with Marie Kondo was a hit last year, I can’t help but think it would have been even more relevant now, in 2020, as we shelter in place to curb the spread of the coronavirus and spend more time than ever at home.
Of course, Kondo wasn’t the first person to suggest straightening up your home. Gretchen Rubin wasn’t either, but in her 2009 best-selling book, The Happiness Project, she suggests taking a few minutes each evening to tidy up your home. This aligns with one of her Secrets of Adulthood, which is that “What you do every day matters more than what you do once in a while.”
A Few Minutes Go a Long Way
If you tidy up a little bit every day, as opposed to deep-cleaning and organizing once a month—or once every few months if we’re being realistic—you’ll have a cleaner, calmer home that’s pleasant to be in. Rubin also says that straightening up at night makes mornings better, and I couldn’t agree more. For similar reasons, I swear by laying out my clothes each evening before bed. When I know I have a clean home and am prepped for getting ready in the morning, I sleep better.
Since my husband and I are both working from home amid the coronavirus crisis, we dedicate 15 minutes a night to straightening up. Since we have a small house, things can pile up pretty quickly if we don’t stay on top of it. We set a timer for 15 minutes and then tackle whatever we want until it goes off. I suspect we look a lot like a couple of participants in a caucus race, à la Alice in Wonderland.
Try It for a Week
I suggest trying it out for a week. Commit to seven consecutive days of tidying up for 10 to 15 minutes in the evening. Even if you think your home is clean and tidy, trust me, there’s always something more you can do to spruce it up. And if you can get your partner on board, you’ll do double the tidying.
It doesn’t have to be anything crazy or involve deep cleaning. You don’t have to lug out the vacuum cleaner, mop your floors, or organize your whole closet. This is more about putting clothes away, hanging coats, taking cups to the kitchen, clearing your counters, straightening stacks of books, folding blankets, fluffing pillows, recycling or tossing anything you don’t need, and tending to piles of things that seem to mysteriously appear throughout your home.
It’s definitely okay to let things get messy throughout the day—and even for a few days if you’re super busy. But too much clutter can wear on you mentally, which might make a hectic schedule more stressful than it already is. If you dedicate a few minutes a night to tidying up, I think you’ll realize how much you can do in such little time, not to mention the positive impact on your mental well-being.
Theresa Holland is a freelance writer and lifestyle blogger specializing in wellness, beauty, relationships, and personal finance. Her work has appeared on Verywell Health, The Spruce, TripSavvy, Elite Daily, Thought Catalog, and The Financial Diet. Theresa lives in Portland, Oregon with her husband and son.