by Susan Caplan McCarthy
Chances are that at some point in the not-too-distant past, you decluttered an area only to notice a month (or a week) later that clutter had crept in. You sighed in exasperation, cleaned the area again only to have the clutter reappear. At some point, life got busier than usual and by the time you lifted your head and looked around, the clutter had not only returned but spread. Ack!
Ack! Ack! Ack!
Unfortunately, no matter how much effort we put into decluttering, we’ll always have to engage in maintenance. While picking up things that clutter our spaces here and there during the week does help, you already know that a routine of daily maintenance is best. But, yeah, life, time, and all that stuff.
What Is Clutter?
Although we may think of clutter as something that can be thrown out, clutter can also be anything that’s left in the wrong place. A mug put away in the cabinet is in the right place. A mug sitting on the coffee table hours after someone finished with it has become clutter.
This is why organized folks will often recite the axiom, ‘A place for everything and everything in its place.’ Annoying but true. Look around your home, when something doesn’t belong where it’s been left, it sticks out.
The Ten-Minute Tidy-Up
A ten-minute tidy-up is a laser-focused, high-speed clean-up. Each person’s tidy-up time will look different. However, a tidy-up does not involve:
A tidy-up is not cleaning. Nor is it decluttering. You don’t:
A tidy-up does involve returning items to their home. This could mean:
How to Select Your Space to Clear
Now, if you are at the beginning of the decluttering process, you may be frustrated doing a tidy-up because you’ll see projects that need to be done and you might get drawn into decluttering. I know, it’s difficult. You want to be done with decluttering, but, realistically, that’s going to take a while.
How to Make these 10 Minutes a Habit
Some of the challenges I find doing a tidy-up revolve around making it a regular habit. Once or twice a week probably won’t be enough. If you do it every day, then it will become a part of your day. If you only do it every so often, it’s easier to brush off the task until “tomorrow.”
Create Calm in Your Home
Although ten-minutes won’t organize your home, it will create time to put away things that were moved out of place during the day. This can help create calm because as you move through your home you won’t be faced with looking at loose ends and things to do. As you continue to declutter your home at your pace, you’ll remove excess items that don’t really need to be in your home and you’ll also make decisions about where to store items.
This will make you feel more organized and calmer because you won’t have to decide where to put something, you’ll know. Don’t wait until you’ve finished decluttering to start a ten-minute tidy-up habit; maintaining the work you’ve done is just as important as starting to declutter a new area in your home.
Do you do something like a ten-minute tidy-up every day? What tasks do you tackle? How did you build the habit of this daily task? Leave a comment below.
I help people focus on what's important to them by guiding them through clearing clutter and distractions from their lives. I teach decluttering and organizing skills through articles; books; courses; speaking engagements; as well as virtual coaching sessions.