Yesterday I spent the day with a very overwhelmed young mom….
Who just couldn’t get ahead of her over-cluttered home. Mom to a 2 year old and a 4 month old, with her varsity baseball coach husband working from home, she was caught up in a state of perpetual exhaustion and “what-do-I-do-first”…and it showed. Although her home was chaotic, we were able to tackle what was bothering her the most—her master bedroom. The closet had become a dumping ground for EVERYONE’s stuff…
As we started to dig in and tackle it one thing at a time, I shared with her the idea of using “quick start” tips to help get a handle on a simple process get—and keep—things a little more under control. Organizing doesn’t have to be an all-or-nothing ordeal. You can easily tackle it one area at a time and keep it that way with a few easy tips. This week we will share quick start tips for the kitchen, general clutter throughout the house, and kids stuff. Next week we will tackle time management for your family (and you), paperwork, and email. Then in April I will focus the entire month on my most requested area for organization help: the garage. These tips will help you stop procrastinating and get organized today!
Quick Tips to Start the Organizing Process
So, here’s a thought: Inspire and motivate yourself with the “Quick Start” projects. Each of these should take no longer than 30 minutes. Next, try the “Keep Going” tips to really put clutter and chaos in its place!
Quick Start: Take everything out of the refrigerator. Toss anything expired or mysteriously fuzzy. Clean the shelves. Then replace food items, grouping similar things together. Keep Going: Tackle each kitchen cupboard and drawer the same way. Remove everything, clean, and toss anything not fresh or useful. Give most-used items your prime, easiest-to-reach space. Put infrequently used items up high or way in the back.
Quick Start: Set a timer for 15 minutes. Grab a garbage bag, walk through your home, and quickly remove ten things you no longer use or love. Also, recycle newspapers older than one week and magazines older than 12 months, plus expired coupons and junk mail. Dispose of the bags immediately. Keep Going: From here on out, put things in their proper places right away. Before buying something new, ask yourself if you really need it. If you decide to purchase, get rid of two similar items to make room.
Quick Start: Every evening, set a timer and have the family do the “Ten Minute Tidy-Up.” Holding an empty laundry basket, each person grabs anything out of place, and returns it to its correct home. Keep Going: Limit clutter with the “new item in, old item out” rule. If you buy a new toy or clothing, get rid of at least one old one. Limit school art and paperwork. Save only the best, and keep them in an underbed storage box or portfolio.
Remember, it’s a marathon not a sprint. Pace yourself and use small amounts of time to accomplish your goal. Think of it as training, soon it will become a simple habit. And remember…