Getting Rid of Clutter in 5 Minutes

November 27, 2009

in Adult Mental Wellness, Organization for the Home and the Mind, Stress Coping Strategies

If you are a perfectionist at heart, chances are you may have an issue with organization. Many of us who are NOT born organizers wait for the opportunity when we will have a good chunk of time in which to clean out this or de-clutter that. Until that time, the clutter-pile grows.

The same may hold true for the perfectionist house cleaner. While waiting vigilantly for a huge chunk of time to fall into our lap in which to do a proper cleaning, the dust builds up. After all, if it’s worth doing, it’s worth doing well!

Some years ago I discovered a website, FlyLady.net. I likely learned about the site while attending one of the countless seminars and lessons I’d attended on overcoming ADD(/ADHD). ADDers aren’t generally known for having everything all neat and organized, because we get 25 plates all spinning at once in our propensity toward multi-tasking. I was (am) no exception. One of the main concepts the Flylady mentors us sidetracked ADDers in is taking little wee nibbles at keeping our homes and our lives organized. She generally prescribes between 5 and 15 minutes ONLY to be taken doing any one chore. If cleaning the counters, stove and sinks, take 15 minutes only, starting…NOW! At the end of 15 minutes, you must stop and move on to the next thing. The gist of the whole thing is, you will accomplish a whole lot more by taking the tortoise approach as opposed to the hare’s method. In the fairytale, the hare thought he’d wait and do the entire race all at once, but ran out of time and couldn’t finish. The tortoise, on the other hand, plodded along, making what appeared to be little progress, but in the end was the victor.

By tackling just one wee part of one pile over a 5-15 minute maximum time frame, you will have done something, versus waiting until you had the perfect opportunity (which seldom, if ever, comes) to take on the entire stack, and never getting to it.

Some years ago, a "Born Organizer" friend of mine taught me a similar secret: Keep a wee bottle of spray cleaner (general purpose glass and surface cleaner) and a roll of paper towel (or washable housecleaning rags) in each bathroom, along with some disposable or reusable rubber (I use nitrile) gloves. Each day, give the taps, sinks, counter and mirrors a quick spray-and-wipe, so that the area always looks and seldom requires deeper cleanings. Do likewise for the tub/shower area. Every week, don the rubber gloves and clean the toilet area. There’s no major, time-consuming bathroom overhaul to do when a tiny bit is looked after every day, and the added bonus is, the bathroom always looks presentable.

Tiny bites…little nibbles…brick by brick. Once you get in the habit of looking for quick 5-15 minute jobs you can do here and there, you’ll soon find that the build-up of clutter diminishes, and because things get put back into their proper place on a more regular basis, you can find things much easier, and life becomes much less stressful.

Organization for the home results in organization for the mind, which, wondrously, reduces symptoms of stress and anxiety.

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