Being in clutter maintenance mode is different than being in the midsts of a giant clutter purge. One of the things I’ve discovered in the years since I dumped my clutter is that small actions make a biiiiig difference.
It’s like before I felt so overwhelmed by the amount of stuff and projects I was facing that I had a hard time getting anything started. If someone told me to just pick up for 15 minutes I would have rolled my eyes, knowing that there was noooo way 15 minutes could begin to make a dent in my house madness.
Now I realize just how important those little, teeny 15 minute choices are. I mean, everybody has 15 minutes in their day, right?
What I do now is set small 15 minute challenges for myself. I try to do at least one a day, but I don’t beat myself up. If I’m feeling too busy in the middle of my work week I skip out on it. This lack of pressure makes it really easy to keep up with. I’m never like, “Oh no, I have to do my 15 minute pick up challenge and I’m just dreading it!” Instead it’s like, “Yeah I really don’t want to but let’s get it over with.”
All I do is set my timer. I vary the time depending on how I’m feeling. Sometimes I’ve done ten minute pickups, or when I’m feeling energized I’ll set the timer for 20 minutes. I don’t ever go longer than 20 though, because it starts to feel like work!
Once I’ve got my timer going I just look around my apartment and start working on the most glaring issue. If there are dishes in the sink I often start with them.
I make it a game to see how much I can accomplish before the timer goes off, so I bust my booty going fast, whirling around picking up socks, emptying the bathroom trash can, wiping down the kitchen counter, or hanging up clothes from the laundry.
I let myself be completely open-ended in what I choose to do. No rules! And when the timer goes off I get to chill out completely.
One day a week (which happens to be today for me) I do a few of these 15 minute pick-ups. Between Patrick helping out and me doing these mini-cleaning/clutter sessions I get all the housework done in around two hours a week, but since it’s split up into mini-sessions it never feels too intense.
What I like about this method of cleaning/clutter control is:
* Because I do it in short bursts of time I never feel stressed out.
* I can let things slide a bit during my work week, but I still do enough daily to never have to devote a whole weekend day to cleaning.
* It’s flexible so it works with my energy levels and my time commitments.
* My place stays pretty decent most of the time! I wouldn’t be mortified if the maintenance man knocked on our door unexpectedly.
* Because I go fast during my 15 minute pick-ups I pretend like I’m getting good exercise out of the deal. :)
Best of all I don’t feel overwhelmed about keeping up with my home anymore! I’ve been doing these fast pick-up sessions for a few years now and I’ve discovered that it only takes about five minutes to vacuum a room and three minutes to clean the toilet. Sometimes tasks can feel daunting but when you break it down into bite sized pieces you realize maintaining your home can be like a blip of time in the journey through your day.
Until next time, Cheers!