Declutter Your Home in 10 Minutes
I'm sure I'm not the only one around here who hates cleaning the house. Although I want to be tidy, I'm naturally a "cluttery" person, and most of the time my home reflects that. When I tidy up, I tend to clean here or there with no real focus or method, which means that clutter gets managed but never fully cleaned up. After years of frustration at myself for being unable to be as organized as I want to be, I've finally hit upon a method that works for me and my dislike of cleaning. (See also: How to Clean Your House in a Day)
Instead of feeling frustrated at all the cleaning and organizing I'm facing, I've resorted to short, concentrated bursts of activity that accomplish decluttering in small, manageable chunks. I call them "10-minute declutters." The key is to give myself a limited, achievable goal, and to focus on completing the task at hand instead of stressing out about all the cleaning I can't get done.
The 10-Minute Declutter
If you have trouble keeping your home decluttered, and you tend to avoid organizing, you might be surprised how much you can accomplish if you just concentrate for 10 minutes. For example, in 10 minutes, I might set myself the task of sorting the pile of mail into separate piles for recycling, read later, and bills. Or I might go through my makeup drawer, throwing away all old makeup and sorting the remaining makeup by shape. I might challenge myself to pick up everything on the floor in one room, or to completely clean off the surface of the kitchen table or the kitchen counter. (See also: Easy Organizing Changes You Can Make Today)
It is much easier to contemplate cleaning for 10 minutes rather than to face the seemingly impossible task of completely organizing the master bedroom, for example. Here are a few tips to make this 10-minute cleaning frenzy work for you.
1. Limit the Scope
Challenge yourself, yes, but be realistic about what you can accomplish in 10 minutes. You'll only be discouraged if you constantly can't complete the task. Focus either on one small area (a drawer, your wallet, one table) or one limited action (dusting the furniture in one room, picking up all the toys). (See also: 14 Ways to Organize a Closet)
2. Enlist Help
One person can accomplish a lot in 10 minutes, but two or three people can do even more. And your spouse/kids/roommates are more likely to agree to clean for 10 minutes when they see that the task is limited in time and scope. (See also: How to Have a Good Roommate Relationship)
I recently saw the efficacy of this approach one night when, frustrated at the state of our family room, I told my husband, "Let's pick up everything we can in 10 minutes. Ready, set, move your butt!" Ten minutes later, stray coffee cups were in the sink, toys were picked up, books were shelved, and stinky socks were dumped into the washing machine. We both looked at our relatively clean family room and said, "Wow." We even got a bit of exercise from our burst of decluttering energy!
3. Do Your Regular Chores
The 10-minute declutter can't take the place of your regular chores. You probably can't, for example, do all the dishes that have piled up over the week in 10 minutes. The goal of the 10-minute declutter is to make headway on organizing a mess that seems too big to tackle, by breaking it down into manageable chunks. Do one, or a few, 10-minute declutters every day in addition to your regular chores, and you'll feel like your home is actually getting cleaner, rather than merely maintaining the status quo. The 10-minute declutter can also help you out when things are getting messier than normal and you want to "reset" the balance, so to speak.
If, like me, you have trouble disciplining yourself to tidy up around your home, the 10-minute declutter can be a useful tool in your cleaning arsenal. Make it a habit, and you'll be a little further on your way to the clean, organized, and peaceful home we all dream of.
Do you use the 10-minute declutter, or a variation, to keep your place in order? What do you do?