by Susan McCarthy
Everyday practice: After an activity, plan a few minutes of transition time that wrap up the previous action and get you ready for the next.
You’ve made the time to declutter – your desk, your closet, maybe even a big project, like your garage. You’ve sorted your papers into piles. You have bags of clothing to donate stacked in the corner of your bedroom. Your driveway is littered with items that you want to trash, donate, and bring back into the garage.
But, oops, you need to jump in the shower and get ready for your evening out or it’s time to get to that appointment, or make dinner, or go to work, or get ready for bed. The problem is, you aren’t finished with your decluttering task.
You’re frustrated that you didn’t work quickly enough. Maybe you got distracted. Maybe the task was more involved than you expected. None of that matters as much as this forgotten step – you didn’t plan time to clean up.
If you had or ever worked with kids, you know all about giving kids a warning about an upcoming switch in focus. “Ten more minutes to play, then you need to clean up so we can go to the movies.” Too often, as adults, we try to maximize our time by working up to the last moment. If you can step away from a project as it is, then this doesn’t cause any problems.
However, if you return home from date night and find your bed covered with the contents of your closet because you ran out of time to put everything back – well, that’s a problem.
When Decluttering, Plan to Do This
The solution isn’t difficult, but you may feel resistant to it because it doesn’t seem as important as the task you are working on. Still, plan time to clean up from the task.
In most cases, we think cleaning up from a task will take less time than it usually does. If you’ve given yourself two hours to clean your closet, then, after 90-minutes, you may want to switch into clean-up mode. Even smaller tasks require a minute or two to wrap-up your efforts.
Clean up is your time to
Cleaning up from a decluttering task and wrapping up any additional activities leaves you feeling more positive about the work you did because you’re not leaving any loose ends to bother you. Whether you cleaned out a cabinet or an entire room, you know the task is done.
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The Organized Squirrel, Susan, shows you how acorns (small habits) can grow into oak trees (a better life).