The following is a guest post from regular contributor, Sharon at Mom of 6.
Sometimes the feeling of being unorganized is worse than actually being unorganized! Because if you are feeling out of control, that your house is a mess and you can’t find what you need- it can really make you feel stressed! So today we are going to look at 5 1-minute ways to tackle something quickly and FEEL more organized!
1. Establish clutter collection boxes
My kids leave their shoes everywhere. And their school work (both graded and ungraded), and lots of other small random things that they bring down from their bedrooms only to leave behind when something more exciting calls their attention. And all of this stuff leads to lots of floor and countertop clutter. Which makes me feel unorganized.
My one minute solution? Establish 2 or 3 clutter boxes to corral those items that are being left out and then assign kids the task of emptying those clutter boxes at the end of each day. I store one bin on my steps that lead down to our finished basement/mudroom to hold shoes that are left on the floor upstairs. It save me the trip downstairs each time to put them away (and the endless nagging to remind kids to pick them up!), and it take those shoes out of my sight! I keep a basket on the table next to the stairs up to the bedrooms, so as I find items left downstairs that belong upstairs- I toss them in the box and have the kids put them away later!
2. Tackle a one-minute left to right clean up
Somedays it’s the kitchen counter filled with dishes and school papers, other days- it’s my desk that is piled with papers and sticky notes that make me feel unorganized. I give myself one minute to make a difference- starting from the left side of the messy area and working my way to the right side. If it’s the kitchen, the “sweep” might look like this: dirty dishes go in the sink, clean items/ food left out gets put back into the proper cabinet/drawer/pantry/fridge, and papers get collected and put into a pile on the side of the counter to go through later.
On my desk the “sweep” might look like this: papers from projects get picked up and tucked back into their assigned folder, or at least stacked into a neat pile with one project over the other with a 1/4 turn in between to keep them separated. Any note that really should be added to my to-do list gets picked up and put on a pile with that day’s to do list. Stray pencils, pens get tucked away into their container, and left over plates, coffee cups, etc. go into the sink.
All it take is one minute to do a left to right clean up and feel more organized!
3. Straighten the pillows and blankets
Okay- this one is going to sound like a silly one. But when I walk into our family room, or the kids TV room, it often looks like this:
Now, it’s not really dirty, it’s just messy… but it makes me crazy. If I take just one minute to grab all of the blankets and stuff them into the pop-up bin we have for just that purpose (no folding needed!) and place the pillows on the couches so they look inviting- I instantly feel better. (Hey folks- sometimes it is the little things that make us feel more organized!)
4. Jot a 5-item to-do list
The best way for me to feel in control of what I want to accomplish in a given day- is to grab a lined sticky note (I buy these 4 x 4″ lined Post It notes by the 12-pack!)* and jot down just 5 things that I want to get done, and then I’ll number them in order in which I am going to tackle them. If it’s not on the list- then I don’t allow myself to think about it, or spend time on it. Writing a list and then staying focused to work just on that list make a big difference in feeling organized.
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5. Brain dump
If I feel that there is so much going on in my head that I can’t concentrate on anything… then it’s time to do a “brain dump”. Spend one minute and get everything that’s spinning through your mind onto paper. As the late time management guru Stephen Covey used to say- “When you write it down, you earn the right to forget about it” meaning that it no longer weighs on your mind. You are then free to tackle the 5-item to-do list in front of you, knowing that the rest is down on paper waiting to be tackled another day.
Besides trying to FEEL more organized, I’ve also made a commitment this year to reduce the level of stress that I’ve been putting on myself. So I wrote a companion piece to this post called, “1-Minute Ways to De-Stress” which you might like to check out too!
What 1-minute tips do you have to feel more organized?
If you get a chance, I hope you’ll stop by to see me at Momof6 – a place where I write about organizing your home, using a family calendar, creating household routines, hosting at-home birthday parties, and making meals that kids will actually eat!