A few of my girlfriends are messy. They don’t mean to be, but they are. Notice I said messy instead of dirty; there’s a serious line of difference there. Messy means that your clothes are all over the floor, there are magazines collecting dust in corners and your cupboards are a disaster, but your counters are pretty clean. Dirty means old dishes crusty with food and eggy bits and nasty floors that turn your feet black. No thanks. We prefer messy.
I have my messy moments but in general, I’m a Clean Person. And it’s one of my favorite times of the year: spring cleaning! I’m never going to tell my Messy Girl friends to take their windows out and wash them, but there are a few ways for Messy Girls to clean up their shit for spring, even if cleaning is their least favorite activity in the world.
1. Get started.
Turn on the radio or your favorite playlist. Turn it up loud. Put on crappy clothes, like your nastiest leggings or some really ratty pajamas. If you really want, make a new cleaning playlist so you have something exciting to look forward to while you clean. I like oldies, Britney Spears and rap for occasions like this.
2. Develop a plan of attack.
I’m not saying you need to get crazy like me and wash the baseboards. Maybe spend a day organizing your bathroom and bedroom, which is where messy girls tend to thrive. Baby steps are good at first so you don’t get overwhelmed.
3. Grab a box or two for donation purposes.
Whatever you haven’t used in ___ days/weeks/months and can bear to part with goes in there. Messy girls tend to accumulate things, so downsizing is necessary.
4. Put away distractions.
Put your phone down. Shut the computer. You can stand a separation for a little while. I know you can!
5. In your bathroom: Organize products.
What do you actually use? Move those things to the forefront of your cabinets, or put them in a pretty storage box where they’re handy. Wrap up the cords of your curling irons and hairdryers and keep them under the sink or in a basket. Throw away anything expired or past its prime. Keep the things you use the most within easy reach. I store other, less necessary products in a big shoebox in the hall closet; it frees up a lot of space and keeps everything together so I know exactly where it is when I need it. I also use those promotional makeup bags you get with a purchase to store samples from Birchbox and Sephora so they’re not floating all over the place. My roommate and I keep our pony binders on the faucet, but I’ve also had good luck keeping them around the doorknob. While you’re in here, wash your makeup brushes with a mild shampoo or liquid soap.
6. In your bedroom: Clean up your clothes!
One of the best ways to keep your clothes organized and pretty is to get matching hangers. I know that sounds nitpicky, but it really does help. I use the skinny velvet ones, easily available at Target and Marshall’s, to optimize space. I have a rolling rack right in the middle of my room, so I try really hard to keep things hanging. Sometimes I even color-code them, but that’s when I’m feeling really crazy. Designate certain drawers for certain clothing: pajamas in one, jeans in another, T-shirts and tanks in the next. Stick to it.
7. Purging your closet sucks, but it’s necessary.
If you’ve been hanging on to something you’ve never worn thinking, “Well, I might wear it sometime!” … you won’t. Take it to a consignment shop or donate it. Organize things according to season, or keep sweaters in one spot and sundresses in another. Sounds pretty simple, but it makes a huge difference when you’re getting dressed in the morning.
8. Books and magazines are a dust bunny magnet.
If you don’t have a shelf to house them … well, you should get one. Otherwise, I line mine up along the wall. Make sure you’re dusting this regularly, because I am not kidding about the dust bunnies that gravitate towards piles of books.
9. Line up your shoes.
This is the SIMPLEST tip and one of the most effective to making your shit look clean when it really isn’t. Line ’em up, girl.
10. Find storage solutions for things like nail polish, which can take over a space if left unattended.
I keep mine in a boot-sized shoebox, which is easily stored under the bed or in a closet so it doesn’t become the centerpiece of the room. You can get great storage pieces at The Container Store and Target, but I know you probably won’t, so grab a shoebox for now. Perfume is stored on my dresser on a pretty mirror.
11. Keep an eye on things like coffee tables and kitchen tables, which seem to accumulate items most quickly.
Throw out and organize your mail when you pick it up instead of leaving it for later. Recycle magazines and catalogs regularly, or give them to a friend or coworker.
12. Do your damn dishes!
If you can’t be bothered to wash them right after you use them, at least rinse them so you don’t have to do a scrape-a-thon later. Dirty dishes make even the cleanest place look like a pigsty.
13. Do you have a coat rack or a closet near your front door?
If you don’t, hang some hooks there ASAP. Hanging up your coat and bag every day makes a huge difference because you’re not flinging it over a chair or tossing it on the table.
OK, messy girls – this is your plan of action. Trust me that with just a little bit of gumption, you can keep your living space just a bit more beautiful despite your messy tendencies!