If it is not fun, automate it
I will be quite honest with you, I am not a very clean person. Being clean does not come to me inherently. I am not one of those people who can not stand messiness at all. Like I wouldn’t mind spending time in a friend’s chaotic house. It doesn’t bother me. But having said that my apartment, on the other hand, is always clean. Clean to the level where you would never even notice water spots on the kitchen sink or my white bathroom mates a tad dirty.
Me being able to keep my apartment always clean has a lot to do with me being a programmer. Everything in the programming world revolves around keeping code clean and manageable. I have developed a few habits that help me keep my apartment organized and clean without me making a lot of conscious effort. Here are three tips from a programmer that you can adapt to keep your apartment always clean without you even knowing it.
When learning a programming language, the first thing you learn is coding conventions. Use camel case for naming, class name starts with a capital letter and method name starts with a small letter in java. In C# method names start with a capital letter too. When you first start writing the code, some more experienced programmer (or google) will tell you the conventions and you will just start following them. You never question why.
This is the good thing about conventions, there is no reasoning behind them so no one can question them. You just use them because they are conventions. They say ‘rules are made to be broke’ but there is no such saying for conventions. They are made to be followed.
I have a lot of conventions that I use in my personal life. Rinse the plate and put it in the dishwasher right away, take the garbage out if I cannot fit the next piece of garbage in the can, make the bed right after getting up, wipe the kitchen platform right after cooking, put everything back in respective drawers right after getting ready…
Rules can be reasoned. “I am running late for work, I will just leave the plate in the sink”, or “I will be cooking again in evening, I can wipe the platform then”. There are so many excuses to not follow a rule, but conventions you will always follow. There can be exceptions to rules but there are no exceptions to conventions.
I feel like human brain has been trained over the ages to follow conventions. We do so many things just because it will unconventional to not do them. Having healthy conventions in your life can really make it easier do certain tasks. Let ‘putting dishes in the dishwasher right after using them’ be something you just do without thinking, let it be just a convention.
Keeping the code where it belongs is the first step that everyone follows to keep code manageable. In n-tier architecture, we create n number of layers to separate different varieties of logic. Bussiness logic goes in the Business Layer, data access logic goes in Data Access Layer and web request handling goes in Controllers. These layers themselves may be messy inside but every developer makes sure the logic goes in the layer where it belongs. This makes it easy to find a certain logic in future and saves a lot of time by avoiding looking aimlessly in every single class.
Similarly, if you want to take the first step to start keeping your home more organized just start following this rule – always keep things where they belong. That means you can not leave plates on nightstand or clothes on the living room floor or open packet of chips on the couch or towels on the bed. Bedroom, bathroom, closet, and kitchen are different tiers here. It will make it so much easier to look for something in the house. You will never look for your jeans in the kitchen because you are sure it can’t be there.
How clean your tiers are would depend on how finely you define your layers. If you define that the packet of chips not only goes in the kitchen but in a certain cabinet too, that is even better. However, define the layers for only what is doable otherwise you will just give up one day.
Leave it better than you found it
The Boy Scout rule can work for everyone. Developers should have this as a mental note. The rule basically means whenever you happen to open a class, just do something to improve it before closing it. Correct the spelling of a variable name, update the comment on a method, remove the commented out code, formate the class… anything which makes it better than when you opened it.
Same can be applied to you and your house. Whenever you are in a room, do something to make it cleaner. Hang a shirt on a hanger, put shoes back in shoe stand, put the used coffee cup back in the kitchen, throw the empty water bottle in the garbage can, put makeup back in the drawers… do something, anything that will leave the room better than when you entered it. Leave it better than you found it.
Cleaning the house is never fun, it will always be a chore. In the software world, the things that become monotonous and time-consuming we try to automate it. Similarly, do these three things so consistently that your brain starts to automate these. Make it like driving, one can never tell how many times they hit the break or gas to reach a destination. I can no longer tell when I put my keys in the top drawer in the kitchen. They are always there when I look for them.
Do it consciously until you don’t do it consciously. As they say ‘Fake it until you make it‘.