preventive_maintenance_broom.jpgIt's a good idea to clean up and de-junk your home regularly (and if you haven’t done this before, you may want to check out this Female Network article for tips on this organizing and cathartic process), but once you've done so, you may find yourself worrying about how long it will stay in order. One major key to keeping the home neat and clean is to watch what goes into it.

Your yearly general cleaning will surely rid your home of all unnecessary and useless loot and will definitely be considered a huge accomplishment for you, but you mustn’t be too quick to rest on your laurels.

The first line of defence against unwanted junk from coming into your home and toward keeping order intact is to take measures that prevent the entry of garbage in the first place. More and more families have started to maintain condominium and apartment units as their primary residences, so space is a scarce resource in which you can spare no room for unwanted junk.

Here are seven tips to make future general cleaning sessions less of a hassle.


DEFINE YOUR JUNK

Knowing what you and your household define as junk—that which has no value to you whether immediately or in the foreseeable future (note: this means a more solid definition of the future than “someday”)—ought to help keep you junk-free for the long term.

This definition makes it all the more easy to say no, to automatically avoid the temptation of accumulating useless items and to reject anything that you consider as junk before it even has a chance to be brought into your home.

In keeping with this, you should try to cultivate an air of detachment, remind yourself that the things in your house are just things. Train your mind not be so attached to your material belongings because they are nothing but earthly and fleeting possessions. Once you are able to detach yourself from material possessions, the easier for you to part with them—or not acquire them in the first place.


ABSTAIN FROM UNNECESSARY PURCHASES


Be practical and go through the following checklist of questions before buying something new:

- Do I have an immediate use for it?
- Do I need it?
- How many do I already have?
- Can I get by without it?
- Do I feel compelled to have it?
- Can I afford it comfortably?
- Do I have time to deal with it appropriately? Maintain it?

You should also try to keep yourself from falling into the sale trap; this involves buying an item you’re not likely to use just because you can get a great deal on it.

If you can say no to even just a portion of your unnecessary purchases by keeping the above in mind, trust us, your wallet will thank you.


REDUCE AT THE SOURCE

Minimize on packaging, plastic containers, boxes, etc. (regardless how expensive the shopping bag or container looks like because it carries a brand name). They just add extra bulk and occupy space. Use the sack cloth or “green” bags being sold at the supermarket—they’re reusable and very much in vogue anyway nowadays. When you must use store-provided packaging, though, try to make sure you go with something that can be reused, stored compactly, or easily disposed of.


BUY IN BULK OR IN FAMILY SIZE

Purchasing in bulk or larger sizes of groceries (such as toothpaste, shampoo, toilet paper, cooking oil, milk, etc.) reduce the smaller packets and containers that comprise most of the volume of our household wastes. Visualize four 250-milliliter tetra packs of milk compared to one 1-liter carton occupying the rubbish bin. For added incentive, bulk and family size purchases yield higher savings.


preventive_maintenance_cleaning_agents.jpgCALENDAR YOUR MAJOR CLEANING

Make it a habit to do overall cleaning of your room and the entire house. You’ll find that regular maintenance results in less effort, as opposed to letting things slide until your home resembles a warzone then having to perform a major operation on the innards of your house.


preventive_maintenance_sponge.jpgCLAYGO


You may have seen these at work, food courts, even restaurants: clean as you go (CLAYGO, for short). You need not wait until that appointment for you to clean house. As you go about your business during the day, pick up after yourself by discarding, reusing, recycling, and organizing the items you make use of.

You should enlist the support and cooperation of the household—both family members and helpers—in this as well as all your other cleaning and waste-minimizing efforts; you should encourage them to take their own initiative when it comes to cleaning up their share of the daily mess. Making cleanliness a team effort unloads some of the responsibility from your shoulders and taps the participation of your housemates.


INVITE VISITORS OVER


Shame (or the more appropriate Tagalog hiya) is an excellent motivator toward keeping things clean. This is why you should invite guests over to your home regularly, whether it be for TV night, poker night, a dinner party, play dates for the kids, or whatnot. You may want to cultivate a “mi casa es su casa” philosophy with your best buds—having them drop by whenever they feel like it will certainly give you incentive to keep your home spick and span. You’ll be more likely to tidy up the home to avoid having dust balls and a hodgepodge of items carelessly stored in your living room as conversation pieces. Now, you wouldn’t want that, would you?


Remember, de-junking your home can be emotional, time-consuming, and back-breaking work, but you’ll worry less about this, knowing that having less stuff at home also means having less to clean. So being watchful of what “things” go into your home and doing your share of preventive maintenance is all worth it!


(Photo source: sxc.hu—broom, cleaning agents, sponge)

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