10 December, 2008

Emily's How To: Clean Your Room

Yes, stop, I know, I know, I am the last person who should be telling anyone how to clean their room, but if you are so neat that you never really have to clean your room, then can you really know how to clean the entire room?
I say no. You need experience in room cleaning first. But if you are tidy, maybe you could give us all some nice tips on how to be neat in the first place, and how not to let your room become the disaster that it (likely) is.

If you are one of those disorganised, messy individuals much like myself (I know you're out there) and just can not keep your room clean, but would really like to have a big clean out once in a while, then this is for you.

This is not "How To Keep Your Room Clean and Tidy."
This is: "How To Clean Your Crash Site Of A Room."

No judgement here, kiddies.


1. You need to tackle the mess small bits at a time to avoid that overwhelming sense of hopelessness.
Do you know when you get that great inspiration to clean your room? "This is the day," you think, "I'm going to clean it! It will be amazing!"
Alas, your visions of grandeur are shattered the moment you see the mountain of inoperable mess. Grudgingly, you strive on, only to be distracted by something you deem 'more important', for example, updating your Facebook status, or deciding that maybe your trophies need polishing.
Later, you feel like a guilty failure; you broke your promise to yourself, plus you are a messy slob.
But, not to worry, here are three ways to combat this 'mass mess' syndrome:

-Scoop everything on the floor into one big pile
This helps to keep the mess in one spot, giving you room to clean, helping the room look a little neater, and also stops the mess from looking so spread out and large.

-Clean for 5/10/15/30/Whatever minutes a day*
Instead of giving yourself the near-impossible task of cleaning the entire mess, clean for, say, five or ten minutes in the morning or before bed. Clean for longer if you want to. This is a much more achievable goal; over time your room will become steadily cleaner, and because you can meet your goals, you end up with a sense of accomplishment rather than guilt.

-Make a list of things to clean (My favourite)
First, my list just today looked like this:
Paper Rubbish
Make up & Jewellery
Bowls, Cups, etc...
Top-Half Clothes
Plastic Rubbish
Bottom-Half Clothes

Okay, so do you get the point? Make a list of things to clean, you can make the categories anything you like.
Much like the 5 or 10 minute rule, clean small amounts and work your way down the list, e.g. clean up everything that is green. This should only take about 5 minutes (unless you really like green) then when you are done, you can either go and do something else or move on to the next item on the list.
TIP: Contrary to my list, it would be beneficial to clean up clothes first, that way you can have your washing on and clean the rest of your room while you wait.

TIP: After cleaning bits of your room, it might help you to move everything into a pile again, to keep your room tidy(ish) until your next session.

2. You need places to put things.
Okay, it's not for the want of more storage that all of my stuff ends up on the floor, it's because I'm lazy.
Nevertheless, unless you have places to store and organise all of your things, your room is not going to be clean.
Here are some ways to be all 'yay storage!':

-Go to Ikea
Just go there. Freakin' inspiring. If you're on a no spending diet, don't take your wallet because you will buy things.

-Get some boxes, drawers, and the like. Get nice shallow boxes to store things under your bed, which also helps stop the junk and dust that accumulates there. You can get plenty of cheap but handy storage options from The Reject Shop and those Asian stores that sell EVERYTHING IMAGINABLE.

-Clean your desks/tables/surfaces/draw

ers/under the bed first. If this is too daunting, just sweep all the junk from them onto the floor until you can clean it later. Dodgy? Meh.
This way you have all your storage areas ready for placing all the junk you're going to clean off your floor.

3. You need rubbish bags.
Undoubtedly, there will be a CRAPLOAD of junk and rubbish in your room that you will want to chuck out. Sometimes I use plastic bags I find on the floor while cleaning, sometimes I use actual garbage bags (and I fill them, too. Atrocious.)
To do this:

-Get some freakin' bags.
Put the rubbish in.
Put it in the bin.

4. Finishing Touches.
-Vacuum: Clean carpet makes it look superclean.
-Dust: Dusting seems a bit cliche... but seriously, dust makes you cough and wheeze and stuff, get rid of it.
-Actually CLEAN: Wipe the windows or whatever, your desk or table if you have one, or any other surface that is dirty. Once again, bad for the lungs, and if left dirty will likely grow mould, which is worse for the lungs.
-Organise things nicely: Photos on your bedside table, things neat on your desk, awww, it's picture perfect! You'd better take a photo, because if you're anything like me, it's not going to be clean for long.

Well, that's pretty much it.
Just remember to take it a bit at a time so that you can avoid guilt and feeling overwhelmed. Reward yourself after you have finished your day's cleaning goal. Get your storage on. And make it look all puuurty!

Try to keep it clean, obviously, but also try not to feel like a failure if it becomes messy again. You're not a bad person, you're just not really tidy, and we need a balance of the tidies and untidies in the world, k?
So if (and when) it looks as if is has been ransacked, just clean it again!

I'll leave you with something my (awesome) grandma says about my room when it's messy:
"Oh, look at your room! It's got that lived-in look!"
Then she laughs lots and is happy.
Thanks, Mama.


*This 5/10 minute plan is a little common sense, but more something my sister Holly introduced me to by giving it a name/face.

Sometimes the mess is so bad that you uncover small children who have been lost in your room.