Clean like a Boss!: Because the room belongs to you and you belong to your room.

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Time is at a premium in today’s fast-paced world, and it’s hard to keep one’s room clean and tidy all the time. However, there are ways that can help you do just that.

Eww. What is this? Is this a room or a pig farm?”

“Why do I have to tell you to tidy up every time?”

“What will the neighbours say if they see the state of your room? Oh, I know; they’ll say I am a failure for I taught my children no good conduct. Seriously, clean your room. NOW.”

These are often the words of an embarrassed, frustrated, and weary mother, bordering at the end of her nerves. She is unable to comprehend how a living, breathing, heart-beating human being could possibly survive in a room where you have to tip-toe to your bed every night, dodging past the piles of junk that greet you from every direction. You are enveloped in a hoard of clothes; no one can even guess the colour of your carpet because it has been blanketed by your unrelenting mess; the layers’ getting thicker every day!

If this scenario echoes your case, you might be in need of some extra help. After all, cleaning your room isn’t all that easy. It requires a lot of vigour, willpower, and the physical and mental capacity to prevent some hazardous procrastination. Many of us choose mess over tidiness because there is no effort in being messy. But, it’s time to buckle up, get a grip, get cleaning and sorting; it is sure to save you time and make life easier. It will also give your mother’s vocal chords a well-deserved rest because, believe it or not, no one, not even mothers, like running around the house barking like a mad dog. Here are some steps and tips on how to make your space look, if not perfect, at least presentable and functional.

Have an incentive: Is a friend coming around? Are you having difficulty finding your belongings beneath the clutter covering your floor? Are your exams coming up and you want a tidy room to help you focus better? Or, maybe, you just want your room to be a peaceful escape after an exhausting day of school or work.

Pump it up: Turn on a pumping song that motivates you. Mine would be ‘Runaway Baby’ by Bruno Mars. Also, make sure to stay away from phones (put it on silent or turn it off completely) or laptops so that you don’t get distracted.

Gather: Pick up everything from the floor and the furniture throughout the room, even empty the drawers and toss it all on the bed. Once you have everything on the bed, the actual cleaning can begin. (You can expand this idea to any room in the house. The idea of putting everything in one central location and moving each item once allows for a clean room with less hassle.)

Split: Create three separate piles on your bed: the essential, the preferable, and the unnecessary items for your room. Take the pile of unnecessary items out of your room to recycle, donate it to charities, hand it down to friends, or throw away. Step 3 also helps you to figure out which items you can stash away most of the time.

One-touch rule: You now have two separate piles on your bed—essential items and preferable items. Start with the preferable items as they can be stored away the farthest as they come in use only occasionally, and then move on to the essentials. The goal is to touch each article only once, and if you touch it, you have to put it somewhere where it is going to stay. This ensures that you don’t end up touching the same thing over and over again. There is nothing more wearisome than trying to clean a room and realizing all you have done is move stuff from one area of the room to another without actually doing any good.

Organise: Start organizing your drawers, and use the system that makes the most sense to you. If you organize the drawers by shirts, pants, socks, or by color, size, or maybe location on the body, that is great. As long as the system makes sense to you and things aren’t just thrown on the floor, use whatever system works. This gives you more time to do what you want when you don’t have to clean your room first. It also keeps you from running late every morning, because picking the right outfit is so much simpler with a system.

Thorough checks: Is the space under your bed dirty? People are most likely to keep used cutlery or food under their bed. Overtime, pests come and take over, creating an unhygienic environment. So, check under your bed every day for any nasty surprises. Also, the space under your bed is a popular place to store magazine and newspapers. Go through them regularly and recycle the ones that aren’t important anymore.
Finalise: After the bed is cleared of all the stuff that was on the floor or on the furniture of the room or under the bed, all you have to do is make the bed.

Clean, neat/tidy, organized, and keeping everything clean may all sound like the same thing to many, but these are actually very different qualities that are absolutely essential for a room to truly function.

Clean, i.e. not dirty: You wipe the dust off the bookshelf, vacuum the carpet, and scrub the floor to keep your room clean. This should be done right after the step when all your belongings are gathered on your bed.

Neat/Tidy, i.e. looking presentable: Straighten the books on the shelf. Make sure that all your pens are the right way up and so on. Even the smallest of details makes a big difference.

Organized, i.e. everything is easily accessible: Allocate separate drawers for socks, undergarments, scarves, school folders, etc. This way, you have a ‘home’ for all your belongings. If you want to find something in your room, you will know exactly where to find them if you are organised.

Keeping everything clean, i.e. stick to the order: Don’t throw your t-shirt where your homework should go. It messes everything up, and before you know it, your room will be disorganised again.

Remember to:
Reward yourself every time you clean your room. Rewards don’t have to be big. They can be as simple as buying yourself a bar of chocolate to seeing you favourite TV show.

Take a 10-minute break for every hour of cleaning. Grab a small snack to boost your energy and you can get back to cleaning, more energised.

Remind yourself: If your room is clean, you can invite your friends more often and whenever you like.
For parents: Offer your children incentives (extra pocket money, a trip to the destination of their choice, etc.), and in return, they need to keep their room clean, neat, and organized. Don’t threaten, take away your children’s possessions or ground them as this is most likely to backfire on you.

Put things back in their place right after you have used them (there will always come a time when you have to actually use the method full force again, because life happens, friends come over, or keeping a clean room is just too hard to maintain). But, if you try to put stuff where it belongs, then you have more time to do what you want to do.

A quick 10-minute cleaning session, right before you go to bed every day, will help you maintain a tidy room for longer.
Develop the habit of making up your bed every morning before you leave the house.

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