Master of the House: Clean Your Room (And Then Some)

This may initially seem like a strange article for this website, but trust me on this one. Today we’re going to talk about how to clean your room, tablecloths and the importance of keeping a tidy house (or dorm, apartment, etc.) Believe it or not, there are a surprising number of people who have spoken on the subject of cleanliness being one of the keys to success:

Make Your Bed – Navy Seal, Admiral William H. McRaven

Clean Your Room – Psychologist, Dr. Jordan B. Peterson:

This guy called ‘Improvement Pill’ I found on Youtube just now:

Now that you have some context, it doesn’t seem so crazy, right?

As the videos above so explicitly laid out- start with your room. If you can’t keep your room clean, there’s no way you can keep the house clean. It’s just not possible. Additionally, unless you live with another person in your room, it’s entirely within your sphere of influence alone- you’re the only one who messes it up and the only one responsible for cleaning it.

Here’s a list of some things that may help clean your room:

-A hamper (stop throwing your clothes on the floor)

-A shoe rack (stop throwing your shoes on the floor)

-A coat rack (although this may be something you put outside of your room)

-Plug-in air fresheners (they only need changed every few weeks)

-A scented candle (you never know when this will come in handy)

-Hangers (this should be obvious but hang your damn clothes up)

-A proper bedroom set with a comforter, sheets, and a bed skirt (to cover your box spring)

Also, vacuum your room every now and then, it makes a difference. You can get a cheap vacuum for less than $50 and that will more than cover your needs. If you can get all of this done, you’ve just moved up a rank as a mature adult and can be trusted to start making the rest of your living space better.

Did you clean your room? Good. Now we’ll move into the kitchen and dining room. The first thing we have to tackle is the dishes. These are the most significant problem and the fastest way to show someone that you invite over that you’re either a disgusting slob or a respectable, upstanding citizen. Personally, I get a sort of Zen-like meditative satisfaction from doing dishes- it’s engaging but not terribly challenging, and it gives you a proper sense of accomplishment. Much like the Admiral mentioned in his speech, it’s great to start your day by completing a task, and, for me, that’s doing the dishes first thing in the morning.

You’ll need:

-A container of dish soap

-A box of dishwasher soap (if you have a dishwasher. I prefer the powdered soap.)

-A set of sponges (wash off after use, don’t leave them in the sink, change as needed)

-Steel Wool (for cleaning tough pans and rust, DO NOT USE ON NON-STICK)

-Kitchen Razors (good for pans, glass, and countertops [that you can’t scratch])

-Rubber gloves (optional)

-A dish drying rack and a mat to put under it

The key here is doing the dishes frequently. When you let them pile up, they become disgusting- I’ve seen horrible things at the bottom of a sink full of dishes, things I wouldn’t wish on my worst enemies. Also, make sure to take the time to rinse your dishes out when you put them in the sink (if you’re not going to wash them immediately,) and soak the tougher dishes in hot, soapy water. Don’t put dishes in other dishes- especially knives. I’m sure you can imagine why cutting yourself in a pot full of old, soggy food isn’t ideal.

Once you’ve got your dishes done (and made them a part of your routine,) we can work on the rest of the kitchen. Start with the fridge. Throw out anything that’s expired, first of all. Some of you may think that’s obvious, and good for you, but you’d be surprised. After that, organize everything appropriately: meats, milk, and other dairy products should be near the bottom and towards the back, where it’s coldest. Eggs can go in the middle, and fruit and vegetables should go in the humidity drawer. Butter goes in that compartment on the door, and condiments and other highly-preserved things can go on the door as well. As far as the freezer is concerned, just label anything perishable and make sure you seal it all properly to avoid freezer burn.

If you have a pantry, organize it with some sort of logic. Keep track of anything perishable, and especially watch your breads- they get moldy quickly. Get bag clips for your chips and other containers, and make sure you keep them as sealed as you can. Don’t put your peanut butter in the fridge- not because it’s bad for you, just because it’s disgusting, you monster.

Clean your countertops frequently- you can use the razor you got for the dishes, as long as the counters can’t be scratched with it and you’re careful. If you don’t have one, get a silverware organizer for your drawer. It’s also a good idea to keep a kitchen rag hanging on the oven, just be sure to wash it often. I also recommend a paper towel dispenser and one of those boxes to put plastic bags in for reuse.

One of the best things you can get is a little whiteboard to put on your fridge. If it’s not magnetic (which I learned the hard way,) get some of those little 3M adhesive squares and attach it. You can make an indicator to let your roommates know whether or not the dishes in the dishwasher are clean, or just leave other notes and reminders on it. It makes a huge difference, trust me.

The biggest thing you can do, however, is to get a tablecloth for your dining room table. This is very odd, I know, but it works wonders and makes a huge difference in your quality of life. I’ve tested this in two different places that I’ve lived, and it works every time. Something about having a tablecloth gives you the feeling like you’re living in a nice place and taking care of stuff. If you have roommates, you need one rule: “Whoever destroys the tablecloth buys a new one.” This will actually force everyone to keep the table clean, and that small step will help to make the rest of the house clean, too. I also suggest you get a decorative placemat or something to put in the center of the table and get a napkin holder as well as a candle- it’ll bump the class up a few notches.

If you can do everything I’ve listed here, you’re at least halfway to becoming a self-respecting adult who wouldn’t be ashamed to bring their parents, coworkers, or romantic interest over to their place of residence. Next time, I’ll cover the rest of the house and some psychology tricks to brainwash your slob roommates with.

Until then, clean your room!

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