Many moons ago, I started a series called "How to Have your S*#& Together (or at least pretend to)" - simple tips, tricks, and hacks to get it together. The first post of the series was around giving the appearance of having it all, whereas this one is a little more practical. I call it the "Ten Minute Tidy," and it has honestly changed my life.
We all have that one place in our house. You know, the one where everyone drops their junk (and then doesn't put away)? For me, it's our kitchen island. It's right across from the door to our garage, so it becomes a dumping ground for everything everyone is carrying when they walk into the house (and as I may have said before, DOES NOT PUT AWAY. I'm fine, it's fine, everything is fine). So one morning after my husband left to take our girls to school, I was cleaning up the remnants of breakfast and finally tired of scowling at the pile of junk on the island. I chugged another cup of coffee and cleared off the island. And you know what? It only took ten minutes, and it felt GOOD to start off the day with a decluttered kitchen. So good that I did the same thing at the same time the next day. And the day after that. And now it's just a normal part of my morning routine. Such an easy way to tackle your problem area(s) and eliminate some of those pesky stressors!
Tips for success:
Same time every day, y'all - this needs to be built into your daily routine or, if you're anything like me, you'll either forget to do it or put it off all day and then decide you're too tired and would rather watch a new episode of Cheer. And make sure you pick a realistic time for this. "I'm not a morning person, but I'm totes going to start waking up 10 minutes earlier to do this!" No you're not. Stop trying to make fetch happen.
Empty house - no distractions and no one to recreate clutter! Ever try to clean up toys while your kids are around? (Or am I the only dummy who thought that was a good idea?) Good times might be before everyone else wakes up, right after the kids leave for school, or after everyone else goes to bed (with a glass of wine, of course).
Drop zone - Ten minutes isn't a TON of time, so you don't want to necessarily spend it running up and down the stairs, returning stuff to your kids' bedrooms, so designate an out-of-the-way drop zone or basket for "things that need to go to their homes." This might seem to defeat the purpose, but now everything is sorted such that it can be returned to its home by its rightful owner!
Cap it at ten minutes - you're much more likely to be able to build this into your day (and stick with it) if it's only ten minutes. Just do what you can in those ten minutes and call it quits! Set a timer if you have to.
This isn't cleaning - for me, this is very much a tidying exercise; it's not about cleaning so put away those scrub brushes and vacuums!
Keep your efforts focused - you can do a lot in a little space in ten minutes. Not so much when you're running amok, trying to address three different rooms.
Give the Ten Minute Tidy a whirl. Try and stick with it for a week, tweaking as you go along. If you're anything like me, it'll make you feel more clear-headed, more organized, and generally-speaking just BETTER when at least one part of your life is tidy!