Is Cleaning Before Decluttering, Like Putting The Cart Before The Horse?

Not many people know there is a relationship between decluttering and keeping homes clean. They miss out on something very fundamentally important about the art of smart cleaning.

I myself didn’t know till three years back about the implication of ‘decluttering’ though I knew its dictionary meaning. After hearing about it however, I have started thinking about it and re-engineering our business very differently – in directions I never imagined earlier.

Our company – Service Square – has been offering Cleaning Services in Chennai for more than 20 years. My observation is, the effect of cleaning lingers only for a few weeks and at best a few months. Things get back to square one in no time.

My conclusion was, one has to simply put up with the reality of dust accumulation and unclean appearance and there was no better way of beating the unclean appearance without a deep, thorough cleaning.

Most people treat the outward manifestation of the problem (an unclean home), instead of understanding and dealing with what causes the problem.

Clutter is actually the villain.

This is how clutter leads the way to a messy, unclean home.

We are tempted to buy more of material things to enjoy the comforts they give us. In many homes, they fill every available space – almirahs, cupboards and cabinets and when they burst at the seams, they are placed in the open.

In most homes, it is considered sacrilegious to throw away anything that has been bought paying a lot of money. So, whether they are needed or not, they stay put in the house.

The unfortunate part is, they gather a lot of dust. And they occupy a lot of space. A week is enough for a coat of dust to form on surfaces and items in city homes – however well protected they are from invasion of dust.

The onslaught of dust mixed with oil particles make kitchens cleaning even more dicey. People buy more plates, utensils and appliances than necessary. And end up spending a lot of time cleaning them and arranging them in the little space available in the kitchen.

If appliances and tiles in the kitchen are not cleaned and maintained on a regular basis, what we will get is an unkempt kitchen.

Toilets are invariably filled with so many items, many of which can be easily discarded. Soaps, shampoos, detergents, cleaning items, and so on, crowd in whatever space is available. Added to this mess is the scales formed by a mix of hard water and soap on tiles.

Some households rely on bathroom cleaning services in Chennai to clean them once or twice a year. But as I said earlier, the mess reappears in no time.

One solution is, to rely on outside help, for cleaning. People who are affluent can afford to pay for regular house cleaning services provided by their full time maids or servants.

Not many people are so affluent that they can afford a maid to keep homes meticulously clean.

From my experience in this business, I can say with confidence that only a small minority of people depend on cleaning companies for providing one-time deep cleaning services. They get this done once or twice a year. Some work out an AMC arrangement to ensure their homes remain clean.

The vast majority of working couples cannot afford spending Rs.5,000 or more for engaging home care services. The maids they employ do only the most superficial cleaning, like mopping the floor or cleaning the kitchen counter top. So, more often than not, they compromise on cleaning standards.

Put the horse before the cart. Declutter first. And then clean.

There is really an escape from the clutter and the unclean look of your homes.

This may be counter-intuitive, but the easiest way to maintain your homes clean always is to start with decluttering first. And then proceed to do the cleaning.

Statistics show that getting rid of clutter eliminates up to 40% of housework.

The logic is simple enough. If you have very less items in your home, the time spent on cleaning automatically reduces.

Marie Kondo, the Japanese decluttering icon who popularized this concept, goes to the extent of saying that once you do decluttering properly, you won’t have to clean your home again.

There are so many benefits you get by decluttering your homes from stuff you can do without.

When you own more than you need, you waste your finite resource – time – in maintaining your stuff. Just think how much of time you can save every month if you didn’t spend time on:

Cleaning them. Rearranging them. Categorizing them. Looking for misplaced items. Spending endless hours shopping to buy them. And working extra hours to make the payments for them.

You can calculate how many hours you could be losing every month to things that do not add value. Many people spend 5 hours and more every month only on shopping! 

Studies also show that 50 per cent of executives would save minimum 30 minutes to 1 hour daily in an uncluttered, organized place. 

And, women’s stress levels are directly proportional to the amount of stuff in their home.

At Service Square, we have a step-by-step decluttering package to help our customers make their homes spotlessly clean – as an oasis of calm.

In this post, I do not have enough space to write in detail about the decluttering process.

I will give you one clue, though.

Keep things that spark joy in you and throw away things that give you an unpleasant vibe.

Once the decluttering is done and the items are arranged in a sequential process, you will marvel how you accomplish a lot with less. And how simplicity and order bring freedom and balance in your home and your mind – leading to fulness of life and energy. 

This is the path towards minimalism, where the design and layout of your home contributes to a sense of expansiveness and freedom.

Decluttering and Minimalism hinges on thoughtful management of space.

Just as music is created by silence between notes, space between things define the objects in it.

What I have written about here might be of interest to busy, ambitious executives who have goals to chase with the time at their disposal.

They will learn that when they declutter and opt for minimalism, they will get:

More time to focus on their work.
More time to invest with family.
And a cleaner, minimal and soulful home.

Of course, they have to let go of the stuffs of life.
And embrace what really matter to them.

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