Declutter! This can often be a stopping point when it comes to getting organised. Decluttering is time consuming, it’s often emotional, challenging and overwhelming. But taking 5 minutes will make a difference.
In my on-line courses and live talks, I talk about breaking the job down and tackling the task in bite sized chunks.
5 minutes might only make a small dent in what can feel like a mountain of clutter, but it’s a start and baby steps are ok, especially if you are feeling unmotivated, overwhelmed or are not moving forward.
The important thing is to stop the procrastination and celebrate that you have started.
Pick one area, set a timer and begin. Then tackle another one tomorrow and keep looking for another spare 5 minutes.
Here are 9 ways to have less mess in 5 minutes:
Take everything off the fridge and sort like with like – magnets, memorabilia, actionable items, reminders etc
Declutter things that are finished, you don’t love or are no longer needed.
Clean the outside of the fridge. Have a look, how does it feel to have a clean clear fridge– like it? Then consider whether the items need to be returned.
Could some of it be homed elsewhere – are you storing things on top of the fridge that could sit in the pantry or a cupboard, could memorabilia be displayed elsewhere, could reminders be entered on the calendar or diary?
Do you have piles of things that need to be returned, repaired or given to people?
Find a spot close to the front door to corral them together. It could be a basket, a drawer, a cubby in a cube system.
Leave a note by your keys until you get into the habit of looking there before you leave the house.
If you don’t have them all together, find a space now.
Gather all your medications, dispose of any that are out of date or are no longer used. Sort like with like and consider whether you need as many as you have (if they were not all stored in the same spot you may be surprised at how many you have!). Declutter excess and put the rest away.
It doesn’t need to look perfect!
Grab a rubbish bag and a container. Go to your car, throw obvious trash into your rubbish bag. Put any random items into the container.
Take the rubbish to the bin the container inside to sort and return items to their rightful spot.
Anything that lives in the car that annoys you/is hard to keep organised – think, how can you manage it more effectively? Would a basket or a car organiser work for you – always look at what you need to organise and search around to see if you already have something that will work before heading to the store.
Remove everything from the area you are organising and sort like with like. Declutter removing trash, excess and items you no longer need/want.
Give the area a quick wipe over. Return the items neatly.
Go to your closet or drawers and find 5 items that doesn’t suit you, fit properly, you don’t like or you have too many of – put them in the donate pile.
Let someone else enjoy them while freeing up your space and mind.
Put it in your car and take to the charity store – give yourself a ‘hurray’ for finally getting it out of your house and on-gifting it to someone who will use/love it
I recommend using a vertical in-tray system (looks a little like a toaster rack).
Create actionable folders that make sense to you and label them (like – bills to pay, respond, awaiting response, tickets and events).
Find a spot to keep the in-tray – where would it be easiest to action?
Allocate time to action the folders (it could be all at the same time or on different days – eg pay bills on Mondays) – add the time to your calendar while you form the new habit.
Don’t put papers down, instead take a few minutes to file them in the correct actionable folder or file immediately.
Gradually go through your back-log of papers and learn to file quickly. Take a handful of papers and decide – toss, file, action.
Do this on a regular basis and stop the dreaded time-consuming piles of random paperwork from forming.
Look at where your mail accumulates, consider whether this (or one of the spots if it ends up in multiple locations!) is a good and easy place to sort your mail.
Useful tools to have close to your mail centre – your calendar, a stapler, bin, in-tray, shredder, envelopes, stamps, pen
Once this area is set up, take regular 5 minutes to open and sort your mail. Ditch the envelopes and unneeded papers straight away, staple multiple pages together, take action with items that are quick to complete (like adding dates to your calendar), place actionable items in your in-tray (write any useful notes on the letter to help you), file anything that need to be filed (like insurance policies – making sure you discard the old one at the same time)
Find an area to declutter, whether it’s on the list or not and just start tackling it. Before you know it, momentum will begin and you will start to see a difference.
Don’t delay, start today