Monday, January 12, 2015

52 Weeks to a Clean House: Week 3 - The Art of Habits

This week's project is to clean and organize the pantry. I am planning to tackle it on Wednesday. So rather than boring you with making a shelf of crackers and cereal boxes look nice, I want to know what you think about habits.

Apparently, in order to have a clean house, you have to have cleaning HABITS. Hmmm. Many books and websites suggest a weekly routine. I used to be better about a weekly cleaning routine, but with 4 surgeries in the past 2 years, I confess my weekly routine has slipped. Last week I began implementing a new weekly schedule and am in the process of tweaking it to fit what I would like to accomplish in a week. Now to make it a habit.

I have heard that it takes 21 days to form a habit. I think this is NOT TRUE. In fact, for some bad habits, I think I can establish them in as little as one day. And I have done things consistently for 21 days and then discarded the habit without a backward glance. I find it takes a few days to develop a bad habit, and a much longer time to develop a good one. But the thing I will agree with is that the forming of a habit requires consistency. The goal is to make the behavior automatic. And for me, that number may vary from 21 days.

My organizing book suggests establishing a habit each month. In January, I am selecting habits related to the kitchen. The one I am working on right now is emptying the dishwasher when it is through running. Simple, right? Why this one? Because if the dishwasher is empty, it allows me to encourage everyone to put their dirty dishes in the dishwasher as they use them, and then voila! At the end of the day, there isn't a big mess to clean up, just a few dishes from dinner. And the counters stay neater, too.

I love this quote from Ralph Waldo Emerson:  "Sow a thought and you reap an action; sow an act and you reap a habit; sow a habit and you reap a character; show a character and you reap a destiny."

If you were to recommend a "clean kitchen" habit to me this month, what would it be? What are your automatic kitchen habits?  Do you have a weekly cleaning routine? What schedule do you follow? I appreciate you helping me on my journey to a clean and orderly home!


  1. I love your last two posts. You are inspiring me to be a little more organized.

  2. You're right about some habits being harder to instill than others. My pet peeve in the kitchen is when people don't wipe up after themselves...scatter pepper on the stove? Wipe it up. Leave goo on the refrigerator handle? Wipe it off. Make dinner and mess up the countertop? Clean it up! That's the habit I wish everyone at my house would develop this year. :) But that's just me.