This Is the Worst Mistake You Can Make When Cleaning Your Apartment

Last year, I moved from a small, cramped apartment that had a windowless living area to a more spacious, bright unit that's given us way more room to breathe. However, with more space comes more items, and you know what that means: more cleaning.

I'll be honest — I typically find cleaning to be a real thorn in my side. As someone with a schedule packed with meetings and a list of rotating projects, I'd much rather spend my time being productive at work than Windex-ing my bathroom mirror. Nonetheless, I know that cleaning is (obviously) necessary and something that needs to be done, especially if you want to host family or friends over for fun things such as Sunday dinners or game nights.

And I learned that the worst thing you can do when cleaning your apartment, which might be right above "tossing all of your mess into the nearest closet or drawer to give off the illusion you are tidy," is waiting until the very last minute to clean. You may know what I'm talking about — waiting until the dishes have piled up in the sink or the dirty laundry has spilled onto the floor. Or maybe it's been so long since you last sorted out your closet that all of its contents are now strewn all over your bedroom. Whatever it may look like for you, one thing is for sure: it's incredibly overwhelming.

I first discovered this mistake when I was home alone while my boyfriend was traveling over the holidays for almost three weeks. I kept telling myself that I was going to wait until right before he returned to get the apartment back into tip-top shape so I only had to clean it once. I know, wishful thinking. The reality was that even though the apartment was not in too bad of shape, I still managed to create an even bigger mess for myself. It ended up taking me hours just to clean the kitchen, organizing the living room felt like a big workout, and on top of everything else, I had to keep running to the laundromat to put in loads of clothes. I felt exhausted, foolish, and annoyed with myself that I thought I could easily clean the whole apartment in just a couple of hours.

Yes, when I'm feeling ambitious, I still sometimes make this mistake, but I've learned that there's a much easier way to go about cleaning the apartment. The trick is to take 15 minutes or so each morning or evening to tidy up. It could be as simple as taking a few moments to wipe down the counters, sweep and vacuum the floors, or even fold the laundry. This way, the mess won't continue to mount and it will be far less overwhelming. I'm still attempting to master this, but I've found at least it's better than saving everything for the last minute!