Cleaning Is Not Tidying
Cleaning is not the same as tidying – only after you finish addressing your belongings using the KonMari Method™ can you start to clean your home. Think of cleaning as an expression of gratitude for your home and for the items that support you on a daily basis – and as a way to bring peace and calm into your space, as well as your body and mind. Learn how to clean your home effectively – and inspire further joy and productivity while doing so – with these six tips.
But First, Tidy
Tidying and cleaning are often used interchangeably, but they are completely different: Tidying is the act of confronting yourself – cleaning is the act of confronting dirt. The focus may be different, but these undertakings are irrefutably connected. If you don’t tidy first, your house will never be truly clean – no matter how hard you scrub!
While tidying requires careful deliberation, cleaning can be a meditative act – your mind empties while your hands move. In Buddhist temples and shrines, monks and nuns clean throughout the day as part of their spiritual practice – dusting, polishing and sweeping their way toward inner peace.
If you haven’t tidied yet, familiarize yourself with the philosophy behind the KonMari Method™ and learn the six basic rules of tidying. Then, carve out time to examine each object in your home – one by one – to determine whether or not it sparks joy.
Gather Supplies and Make a Plan
Just as a tidying festival begins with establishing a clear vision of the life you want, a cleaning session requires thoughtful planning.
First, make sure you have all the supplies you need – cleaning sprays, rags, a broom, etc. – and, for the smaller items, a box or case to carry them in. Grab a step stool for extra credit.
If you have unopened cleaning products lingering under the sink, now is the time to use them. You might come across supplies you’ve never used and never will – if so, donate these to a place in need.
Next, make a plan. Decide where you want to focus your energy and set clear goals; give yourself plenty of time to avoid feeling rushed or overwhelmed. If cleaning from one room to another seems too mundane for you, try cleaning by category instead of location. For example, tackle all of the baseboards, then the light fixtures, then the windowsills and so on. Just around the time you’re getting sick of windowsills, it will be time to move onto the next category.
And, finally, have fun! Open the windows, let in the fresh air and take regular dance breaks – what do you think that broom is for?
Make Big Moves
Regular, day-to-day cleaning takes care of highly trafficked areas, but it misses the nooks and crannies. To go deep, you’ve got to go big. Pull furniture and appliances away from the walls or – space permitting – remove them entirely from the area you need to clean. This is the time for a good, snug clean, so make sure your vacuum, mop, broom or rag can get to the dark corners.
If you have access to an outdoor space – a fire escape or a balcony works just fine – hang your rugs in the sun while you clean the floors. Sunlight is a natural disinfectant, so your rugs will come back rejuvenated.
You might be inspired to rearrange your furniture after seeing it out of its usual position. Your living space should be a reflection of what sparks joy for you – use this time to create a home that you love.
Home in on the Hard-to-Reach
After the big-picture clean, it’s time to go micro. Identify all the spots in your space that don’t normally see a dust rag – like hard-to-reach light fixtures, the top of the refrigerator or the space behind the television.
Filters – like the ones in air purifiers, heating systems, water filtration devices and humidifiers – are another hidden but extremely hard-working part of the home. Replace those that are out of date and clean the rest – including the one in your vacuum cleaner!
Windows are oft neglected – if you’re able to, wash them on both sides. Outdoor space permitting, remove the screens, hose them down and let them air dry.
Don’t Forget the Fridge
Cleaning the refrigerator is a big undertaking – might as well do it now!
First, take out everything from foodstuffs to removable shelves and drawers. Get rid of expired items with gratitude and make a plan to eat any perishables ASAP. Scrub the inside of the fridge, removing any sticky stains or food residue. Do the same for your freezer and pantry, being sure to check the expiration date on things like flour and other baking supplies you might have stocked up on over the past few months.
Hit the Refresh Button
Now that the crannies have been cleared, the furniture rearranged and the dust destroyed, you can clean and put away fabric items like clothing and bedding.
Clean everything you’re not going to use for a while – dirt, dust and sweat attract moths and other bugs and can degrade your items over time.
Show fresh linens some gratitude by creating a custom linen spray using your favorite blend of essential oils. And don’t forget to rotate your mattress!
Get Good Dirt
If you have indoor plants, take some time to prune, repot and fertilize them. Soil loses nutrients over time – the minerals in fertilizer will boost soil’s nutrient level so your plants can thrive. Spray down the leaves to remove dust, and shift your plants’ positions so they can take in the light.
Your home is your sanctuary – it houses your spark-joy objects and supports you by keeping you safe. Dedicating time to express gratitude for your home is a powerful act that will heighten your sensitivity to joy and remove energy and objects that no longer serve you.