Are you a messy person? Do you envy those who seem to have a knack for keeping things tidy and organized? Then you need to turn around your perception. You’re not really untidy… everyone else is just obsessively organized!

Seriously though: the key is to realize that messiness and neatness are essentially states of mind. By cultivating them in your thinking, your surroundings will reflect the same quality without an effort.

You can go from messy to neat in little time, once you realize it’s all about the little choices and how they build up on one another. Here are some simple exercises to get you going:

Learn about mindful cleaning

Have you heard about mindful cleaning? That’s where you use cleaning as a type of meditation. For example, let’s imagine you have to sweep the floor. Rather than over-thinking about it and putting it off forever, you just embrace the experience and get involved fully in the motions… and that’s when magic happens. By quieting your nagging inner messy child, you’ll actually appreciate the cleaning as a process – and when you’re done you realize that after the act of cleaning is done, your mind seems more organized as well. Once you appreciate this, you’ll feel like sweeping the floor not because it’s dirty but simply because you want it done. And if you want it done, it’s no longer a chore; it’s a ritual.

A place for everything, everything in its place

When cleaning your environment, it’s tremendously useful to focus on organizing items rather than simply de-cluttering the space. You don’t just throw everything in the closet haphazardly… otherwise chaos will come back sooner than you know it. Instead, you have to decide on a specific place for every little thing you own. Don’t rush it, just be in the moment. This may seem counterproductive at first, but soon you’ll know where to put each item. This will ensure you don’t have to clean as often: once you get in the habit of always putting every little in its place, soon you’ll realize that orderliness is soothing. Never again will you tolerate having undifferentiated heaps of objects anywhere in your house.

Don’t try to build Rome in a day

Going on a cleaning spree might seem like the appropriate course of action when looking for redemption from chronic messiness, but that’s hardly ever the case. If you force yourself to spend two days on end cleaning the house… the results may be sparkling, but so will your frustration and weariness. Which likely means that you won’t want to clean anything for the foreseeable future, and back to messy mess you go in record time. You need to focus on the process rather than the effects! Get into the habit of doing a little cleaning every now and then, and make it a part of your routine and mindset. You may be surprised to realize, in a matter of weeks, that everything around you is just tidier without any struggle whatsoever.