This month is all about getting organised, but if you’re anything at all like me, tidying up and organising the house can feel like a chore that’s just too big to start. So I thought I’d start my month of organisation challenges (one each Tuesday for the month of May) with something to simplify and break down that chore into some manageable chunks that we can do a for just a small part of each day.
The challenge this week is really straightforward and is all about focus. The challenge, should you choose to accept it, is: to clean out just one drawer, one shelf and clear off one flat surface a day. These might seem too simple to bother, or not really ‘enough’ but they can be so much bigger when we actually get stuck in that these are more than enough for one day in our busy lives.
If your home is anything like mine, your drawers might be full of things that you just put in them whilst you were working out where they should go, or just needed them off the table/ counter top / desk in that moment. They can get really messy and quite overwhelming when you’re looking for something specific. If you’re not ready to really dive in, try a drawer that isn’t chock full and give it a quick clean out and neaten and you’ll feel all the better for it! Then tomorrow you can tackle a more challenging one.
One thing you should try to have with you when you’re attempting a drawer is a rubbish bin (trash can), so that anything that is broken or no longer needed can be removed from the drawer and not placed back in to be discovered when you’re in a hurry. If you’re doing a desk drawer, check that all the pens, textas (markers) and even the pencils (no shattered leads) are still in working order. Get rid of what doesn’t work. If it’s a special pen with memories, put it in a memory box or other location and out of the drawer where the pens get regular use. There’s nothing more annoying than trying to use a broken pen when you’re in a hurry to write something down.
I was first going to say ‘one cupboard’ but that is a much bigger job and depending on the cupboard in question it could be a looong one. One shelf can be a real challenge in itself, but something that is also much more manageable. Pick one in the kitchen if you have some time whilst dinner is cooking. Check the expiry dates and that things are in the spot you are most likely to reach for them. Even if it’s more of a neaten the shelf than a full clear out, you will feel all the better for it.
If it’s a bookcase, you could clear off all the dust (that seems to magically appear even in high traffic areas) and straighten or put the books back in the spots they belong. It doesn’t have to be a huge thing you’re doing, but just a little tidying each day can make a big difference to how stressed (or not) you feel at home. Less stressed is a good thing in my books (pardon the pun).
One Flat Surface
You might be wondering what I’m on about with this one, but this really is for people like me. If you have a tendency to pile things onto tables, stands, breakfast bars, bedside tables and even the edge of the couch because you’ll get to them later then this is just for you (and clearly me!). This challenge is to clear off one of those tables, stands, breakfast bars, etc a day and put everything where it belongs (and not just move it to another pile!) so that the space feels less cluttered and less like you have a giant to-do list literally staring at you when you enter the room. Eek!
This one could be quick or it might be more of a challenge depending on how busy you’ve been lately. It’s a great one to really do regularly so that pile never gets overwhelming again. This can be tough if other people are contributing (or causing) the pile, but it’s really great to feel the space become yours again once it’s tidy.
I’ve said before that these 3 tasks might feel too simplistic, but I’m a big believer that a lot of little steps repeated regularly build good habits much more than that once a month “this is all too much” clean out, that usually comes with a grumpy feeling hanging over the house. It’s not always going to be as easy as it might sound, but the great thing about days is that if one isn’t working for you, there’s another one for you to try again tomorrow.
I think the key is working out how it will work for you. It could be that hour of power in the evening before bed. Or it could be waking before everyone and doing it then. Or it could be something that you weave into your day, stealing 5 minutes here and 10 minutes there. There’s a rhythm to your home and you are probably the one who knows it better than anyone, or at least as well as the rest of the folks you live with and in working to that, it will feel less like you’re drumming out of time.
We can do this! I’m ready. Are you in?