The Yin and Yang of Cleaning and Organising

Whats the relationship between cleaning and organising? Cleaning brings a surface back to its original condition by removing foreign particles that have stuck to it due to use, or the passage of time. Organising is about the arrangement of things, what you have and where you put it.

Cleaning and organising are not the same thing, but there is a relationship between the two processes:

Its easier to clean an organised space.
Its nicer to organise a clean space.

They are different processes, but they contain a little of each other. I think of this as the yin and yang of cleaning and organising. If you are doing a routine clean of the loungeroom, that’s likely to include a tidy up and put away step. This is the maintenance aspect of being organised. If you are organising a wardrobe, you might get out the vacuum and clean up the wardrobe floor while the shoes are all out on the carpet. This reflects a natural relationship between managing your things and looking after the environment in which they are kept.

If you are working alone, you don’t need to think to much about this distinction. If you want to hire someone to help you at home, its important to be clear about what you need. If you are generally OK at knowing where things go and putting them away, but have trouble keeping up with routine cleaning, then a cleaner would be the person to help you out. If you want to avoid the “cleaning up the cleaner” scenario you might be looking for a housekeeper, who could put things away in designated places and as well as do the cleaning. A professional organiser is the person to call when you want support with decisions about what to keep and where to keep it and setting up systems for managing your things.

When organising I like to bring the two processes together in a “clean up as you go” system.  This means cleaning the area you are focussing on so that its a comfortable space to work in, wiping down shelves that have been cleared for sorting, and vacuuming up after the  job is finished.


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