It’s so easy to come home from work, drop your keys down somewhere, leave your shoes next to the door, pop the mail on a bench and walk away. What’s wrong with that you might ask? Well, of itself there is no issue there at all. It is when these small actions are repeated regularly that we end up in a mess- literally. Clutter doesn’t happen overnight. You don’t wake up one morning and find the house overcome with stuff. It creeps up slowly and surely over time. A few magazines here, a pile of laundry there, a craft project begun on the kitchen table which stays there, unfinished. These small piles of clutter, if left unmanaged, will eventually overwhelm the house.
It’s easy to fall into this trap, particularly if we are tired or not feeling very well. We think that it won’t matter just this one time and that we’ll do it later. Unfortunately it’s at these times that we should take greater care to put things away where they belong. If we are too tired to deal with a couple of small things now, how are we going to manage in a couple of days time when we are faced with a large mess that we have to spend hours cleaning up?
Of course, it might be altogether too late. Perhaps you have looked around and find yourself in a situation where a small tidy up just won’t cut the mustard, If this is you, don’t despair. It is possible to tackle this seemingly enormous task without getting overwhelmed.
1) Initially set aside 15 minutes per day to tackle this task. It can be overwhelming thinking of the amount of work that needs to be done and this in itself can cause interia. The enormity of the task can prevent us even starting. If this feels like you, try the ‘Magical power of 15 minutes’ strategy.
2) Select one small item to work on each time. Maybe today’s job is to get rid of magazines. Don’t be tempted here to flip through any. You don’t want to be distracted from the task at hand. Perhaps select a couple of the latest publications to keep and put all of the rest into the recycling bin.
3) Each day choose another item you wish to tackle. Maybe the countertop, the bathroom cupboard, the laundry bench, the bookshelf, the dining table or the coffee table. Spend 15 minutes working on that area.
4) Working on an entire room (or corner of the room even) will require a slightly different strategy. For this next task, take two boxes into the room. Put into the first box any rubbish that you come across and into the second box anything that does not belong in that room. After 15 minutes throw out the items in box 1 and return the items in box 2 to their correct location.
5) You may find that momentum gets hold of you and you tackle a number of areas each day. After the first 15 minutes, do whatever you feel capable of doing at that time but make sure you do at least 15 minutes.
6) The most important part of this process is to ensure that you don’t create any extra clutter in the meantime. Make a resolution to put any and all new items away where they belong as soon as you are finished with them. This, combined with the slow and steady process of cleaning out the current clutter, will create a long term solution.