Faced with mounting paper piles, junk drawers, “catch-all” closets and packed pantries is enough to overwhelm anyone. In her article, “Heloise’s Clutter-Busting Checklist,” Good Housekeeping’s organization guru, Heloise, says the key is to have a plan and start small. Devote just 10 minutes a day to de-cluttering and soon you will see big results.
Where to begin?
It doesn’t matter if you start organizing at home or in the office, but don’t try to do both at once. Begin with your office space or your home–just 10-minutes a day. When you have finished with one, start the other. This prevents burnout and makes it more probable that you’ll stick to your goal.
Organize Your Office Space
Most people are already busy enough at work without worrying about cleaning, but justify it as an exercise in productivity. If your office space is more organized, you’ll find items faster and spend less time rummaging through piles of paper.
- The “Get To Later” pile – You know that pile of paper that keeps growing larger and larger? Start going through it today, even if it is just 1 page at a time.
- That 4-letter word file – Get a stack of hanging folders and start creating files. Force yourself to file all those papers, even the miscellaneous documents. But file with caution. If you know you will not look at a document again, file it in the recycle bin instead of your drawers.
- Email – Commit 10 minutes a day to sorting through that mass of emails in your inbox and creating, and saving them into, personal folders.
- Good old fashioned cleaning – One day take out the 409 and scrub your desk. Another day, drag out that old office vacuum cleaner and run over the lovely industrial carpet.
Commit only 10 manageable minutes a day to de-cluttering, but stick to it. Mark it on your work calendar so you’ll make sure to stick to the plan.
Organize Your Home
According to The National Association of Professional Organizers, Americans spend a year of their lives looking for lost items. Begin organizing today so you can gain back that extra year:
- Start small – Begin in one area: a drawer, closet or corner of a room. Don’t move onto another area until you’ve finished the first one.
- Downsize – Have 2 large boxes or bags on hand. Label one, “trash” and the other, “charity.” If you haven’t used it in a year, it’s time to say sayonara. Toss it, or give it to a shelter. Vow to get rid of at least 5 items a day during your 10-minute mess massacre.
- Discard – Once the boxes are full, trash the trash, donate the rest, and repeat.
- Stick to the task – Don’t get lost in the clutter. This isn’t the time to take a trip down memory lane with those boxes of photos. This is the time to store, file, label and clean up fast.
- Set a timer for 10 minutes. This helps you devote that time just to organizing, and also signals when it’s time to stop.
Remember, devotion is the key. Just like a diet or exercise plan, you have to stick to the program to get the desired results. Commit to a mere 10 minutes a day and soon the clutter will disappear from your home and your head.