View Full Version : Please solve this puzzle for me: how should I keep my house organized

02-17-16, 11:25 AM
I know how I can get my room clean, but how can I keep it clean?

Some data:
- I have two rooms; a bedroom and a living room (in total 18 m2). I live with a few other people and we share the kitchen/shower.
- I am a bit of a perfectionist: I tend to either do something super good, or I don't do it. The same for organizing my room. If I can manage to get myself to clean it I often do it perfectly
- An exception on my perfectionism is when I have guests: if I can I clean my house ASAP, not perfectly but just clean enough. I often have a few hours to do this, but I tend to start cleaning somewhere in the last hour.
- Sometimes I do not manage to get it organized before the guests arrive (because of starting to late, or not starting at all) and this makes me feel ashamed. I try to go outside with my guests, to grab a coffee somewhere, so they don't notice.
- Especially unexpected guests are a problem when I have a chaotic room. Don't get me wrong, I totally love it when people visit me unexpectedly, but when there is chaos I worry that my family or friends may come and see it.
- If my room is organized I feel very good. It's like my head is also more organized. I like being in my room, not living in a mess. It feels like I have more control over my life.
- I tend to throw my clothes/trash/groceries on the table and the floor. I don't have the habit of putting it away. This is especially bad when my room is a mess. When my room is completely organized I do keep it organized for a few days, but it takes a lot of effort to get me to put things in their places.
- I have had a time that my organization was better, I think it was about a year ago. I don't remember everything I did to make and keep it so, but one thing that I remember was that I had a list of "coming home habits" that I tried to do every day, like "put laundry in laundry bin", "put trash in trash bin", "do dishes", etc. I think that was good, but still it would be much better to put my laundry in the laundry bin immediately after changing clothes and put the trash in the trash bin straight away - doing it once per day is also fine, but it would seem easier if I just did it straight away. The problem is that if I skip this one day that my chaos accumulates quickly and it may be out of control in a few days.

I am looking for a system/schedule to help me stay organized and a way to build good habits/get rid of bad habits (most importantly to put things in their places after using it). I feel ashamed for not being able to do this now, but I have tried to learn this for my whole life, I remember often being frustrated with this as a child, and I just want to get past this hurdle.

What do you think about this? What is your advice? What has worked for you, what hasn't?

I will organize my rooms completely today, so that I am ready to experiment with different systems. I will start with the "coming home habits" that I described, so I will write a list of different things to organize every day after I come home after work. As I have described this system did work for me in the past, but it has it's weaknesses, which is why I am looking for tips 'n tricks from you. Also, I will get a trash bin, I notice that I don't have one yet.

02-17-16, 11:34 PM
For me, the key is not having as much stuff (I have a thread on that here:

And making sure that things are organized efficiently - I'm much less likely to put something away if it's frustrating just to get it where it's supposed to be, if that makes sense.

I'm also like you in being perfectionist about it and not being able to do it little by little, but having to do everything at once. Getting over that has helped me a lot, actually, though it isn't easy & takes time and practice. But I would get into the mindset of "well, things are already a mess, so there's no point in putting this one thing away until I can do all of it" and then of course things would just get messier and messier. One thing that I did to help get past this problem was to make a list of every little thing that needed to be done, making the tasks as small as possible, and putting it up on the wall where I could cross things off as I did them. Then when I spent 20 minutes cleaning, I could cross off several things and feel like I was actually accomplishing something.

Oh, and one more thing that's helped me is getting wireless bluetooth headphones and listening to audio books while I do stuff. I got a pair on Amazon for about $25 and they're so worth it.

02-18-16, 05:21 AM
The part that concerns me most is when you mention shame. I guess a lot of people feel a little embarrassed when people come over and their place is a mess so maybe it's not a big deal. But I'm not sure how embarrassed you're feeling. If it makes you feel worse about yourself, then I think the answer isn't figuring out how to clean better and stay clean, it's to just accept that you will get messy sometimes and that your friends and family who supposedly care about and support you will understand that messiness.

My place which was once hotel clean isn't anymore - I've slipped. But it's not terribly bad either and even if it was, I would let friends/family see my place without feeling bad. I have a reputation for being messy (so people were in total shock when I stayed completely clean for a long time). And it really doesn't matter they think of me that way. Other people really don't dwell on it at all or think less about me because of it. They just see it as a quirk in my personality.

I believe you already are a minimalist so I'm not sure much more can be done or that you should spend more effort than you already are.

02-18-16, 05:50 AM

Nice, I am also quite minimalistic (I found the Minimalists site quite helpful) and this helped me to keep things more organized. I think I have about a third to half of the stuff that I once had.

Good point on making sure everything is organized efficiently. I could make some improvements there, will do that today.

Becoming less of a perfectionist would be nice. It just doesn't make sense that if the room is not perfectly clean that I don't bother putting stuff in their places. Good advice on making a list, I now remember that I did that in the past too and that was helpful.

A wireless bluetooth headset is now on my wish list, what an excellent idea! :)


Ok shame is a bit strong, but I am certainly embaressed. I can accept some mess and I don't mind showing it to friends, but there is a level of mess that I don't like to show.

I don't need to be totally hotel clean as you call it and I also don't want to spend a lot of effort staying organized, but I am looking for tricks to make it easier to stay organized.


I called a friend of mine on skype and he told me how he stays organized. I will try some of his advice, if it works I will let you know.