My method of cleaning is not a conventional one. Nor is it, perhaps, a sensible one. I would even go so far as to say that it is not my choice, but some freak force of nature.
Instead of finding a place for the stray belongings in my overly-cluttered, postage-stamped-sized room, I put them all on my bed, which takes up the vast majority of my floor-space. Then, I go to the places where I might consider storing some of these strays. You know, the usual; the chest of drawers, the book shelves, the wardrobe, the bed-storage… and then what happens is I find that those are in disarray as well.
So I empty all the contents of those spaces onto my bed too. Smart, huh?!
This process continues until my room is spotless but my bed looks like it’s been hit by a hurricane.
Then, I have a few hours of feeling overwhelmed as I attempt to shift my belongings from my bed to somewhere that make sense, but the problem is that nowhere makes sense anymore; there are no designated areas. There is simply MY STUFF and EMPTY SPACE 1, 2, 3 and 4, and it’s up to my confused little brain to marry to the two together in such a way that I’ll still be able to find things.
After a long time of moving things around aimlessly, staring at spaces that used to have purpose and occasionally watching a YouTube video, my brain eventually kicks back into action, issuing the warning ALERT: GETTING LATE. BED TIME APPROACHING. NEED BED CLEARED.
That’s when all the real cleaning gets done.
Suddenly I’m all about the compartmentalising. It becomes instantly clear that Drawer #1 is for stationary stuffs and the excess garments from the wardrobe can be thrown away. The books relating to my now-completed thesis which had been stacked in a corner can be returned to the family bookshelf. The dirty clothes can go, conventionally, in the laundry basket.
Like a blindfold has suddenly become transparent, the mechanics of my room-cleaning become clear.
This, as I’m sure you can imagine, is not the most fulfilling way to spend a day.
Although having a clutter-free and tidy room does wonders for productivity post-blitz, in an ideal world I wouldn’t have to surrender a full day to this particular form of domestic upkeep.
So from now on I’m hoping to keep the clutter at bay with a self-imposed rule; a new trick, if you will.
You know that drawer that we all have? You know the one. The one that serves no real purpose other than to accumulate crap.
Somewhere amidst the sock, underwear and paperwork drawers, there’s a drawer that serves as a dumping ground for things that we never use but are not emotionally ready to be rid of. It’s the ‘just in case’ drawer.
Well, mine is my top drawer and it fills up very quickly, overflowing with receipts that I haven’t filed away, mystery cables that may or may not perform a function and free things. Lots and lots of free things. After all, how could I throw away free things?
It’s a nightmare in there and one that I don’t tend to deal with very often (nor do I psychoanalyse. The horrors).
During my most recent room-blitz (one which was necessitated by the arrival of family guests in need of temporary living-quarters) I decided that I no longer want a ‘just in case drawer’. It’s a breeding ground for clutter and one which spills over into the rest of my living space too, like a virus that cannot be contained.
So from now on I don’t have a ‘just in case’ drawer; I have a stationary drawer. And one which is pretty reasonably organised, if I do say so myself.
The miscellaneous was removed and replaced by my folders, books and papers.
This, of course, meant that my ‘just in case’ crap had to find a new home – which it did, in a biscuit tin.
This biscuit tin, by the way, is the perfect example of some of the clutter that had spilled out into the rest of my room. This particular example was of the ‘wardrobe crap’ variety and when I opened it I found that, despite its considerable size, its only contents were a few highlighters and a small Filofax-imitation from my childhood; more stuff that is better-suited for the bin.
So now, this biscuit tin rests upon my newly-cleared chest of drawers, empty, and this is the receptacle that I have chosen for crap-accumulation, because -let’s be real- there’s always going to be some crap-accumulation. The key is to manage it.
The biscuit tin is less than half the size of the drawer that previously fulfilled this role, which means less crap. That’s just basic maths. It also means that the drawer can be filled with more meaningful things that didn’t really have a home before, which by extension frees up more space in my bedroom.
As for the biscuit tin, the brilliant clutter-conquering plan is thus: every time something new appears in my room that doesn’t have an obvious place of belonging, I put it in the biscuit tin.
I’ll do this repeatedly until the lid will no longer secure back onto the tin, and that’s when the tin gets emptied. The stuff that I’ve used and know that I need will be upgraded to a new home, a more fitting one, and the rest of the stuff that has just sat there, unused, will be thrown away. And thus, my lifelong clutter situation will be kept under control.
That’s the dream anyway. Now I just have to put it into effect and hope that it goes exactly as planned.
If you’re like me and you’re living in a small space with a lot of stuff, I highly encourage you to explore this method with me. I have very high hopes for its effectiveness, and I’m already feeling the positive effects of having a clutter-free space. My mind feels cleaner, as well as my room.
So give it a go. Sure, why not, y’know?