Make Clean Living Surroundings A Habit

If you find yourself searching for that slipper, mouse pad or your favorite mug more often than not, you might have a problem that needs solving. We are here to help with some room-clearing tips that will let you see the house beneath your clutter (and perhaps invite friends over without being embarrassed!). Things need to change.

The problem

Messy living surroundings are not only problematic for aesthetic reasons. Disorder makes it harder to clean and can cause a range of hygienic issues. Attracting vermin is just one of them, even if you keep repeating to your friends that you are “messy but clean.”

What’s more, research has shown that messy surroundings both boost and trigger depression and anxiety, getting you into the vicious circle of not having the energy to clean. This effect has been confirmed in research for a whole range of personality types, so don’t think you are immune to it.

Starting a change – Analyzing the problematic areas

The first step to changing the situation is analysis. Get a notebook and a pencil, walk around and observe. Spend a few minutes visually surveying all rooms in the house, including the hallways, kitchen and bathroom. Note the major problem areas on paper, emphasizing the parts of each room that particularly bug you, such as shoe piles by the door or dirty T-shirts hanging over chairs for ages.

Do not forget about the following areas: medicine cabinets, closets, the garage, storage spaces such as the attic or basement, etc. You may be unaware of how messy these are until you inspect them or try to find something inside them!

Understanding the causes

Try to figure out why the mess is present for each of the individual problem areas identified. Stay right in the messy room or next to the pile, observe and think. Note that there will often be more than one cause for the disorganization. Again, it is good to jot these down.

For instance, why is there a pile of clothes on that ‘chairdrobe’ next to your bed? You may realize that you drop dead in bed when you are too exhausted and rush off to work in the morning without having time to clean up. So you could decide to leave just those extra three minutes before or after bed for taking care of your clothes.


Solving your problems can be the fun part! Some questions to consider at this point are: Is the problem a persisting habit? Is it the spatial characteristics or your own habits that need to change? Do you need any kind of tool for organization? The usual tip is to introduce an organizing system of shelves, labeled boxes, and hooks, but make sure you get used to using it!