At times, when I walk into my daughter’s room I am overwhelmed by the journals and sketch books piled on her desk. If I edge into the room a bit more I will see caddies of pencils and markers, as the kid loves a good writing utensil. It’s awesome that I can open the door to her bedroom on any given night and catch her creating new story characters or writing an inspiring quote in a cool font. What is not so awesome is how these things can pile up. Perhaps her desk requires a tidying, or maybe some of these items need to be cleared out. Either way, when dealing with other people in your home, try this: “Just give me ten minutes!”
Say it like a boss, yet kindly, all the while setting the timer on your iPhone so this person knows you mean business, but only for those ten measly minutes. You could even suck them in further by playing some of their favorite music, making it more fun and social. Is this a ten minute organization/clear out? Cater to them further, by not even requiring them to touch anything yet. Hold up the item and ask, “Keep or toss?” It’s been documented that if the person who is considering giving away an item touches the item themselves, they tend to attach to it and it’s harder for them to let go. If it’s a keeper, have them put the item in it’s appropriate “home” and if it’s a tossed item, it goes in the give away or garbage pile. You will be shocked at how much you can accomplish in ten minutes. Sometimes it’s fun just being together and singing along to music, and you can squeeze in some extra minutes. Other times you halt and save the rest for another day. Either way, you end with just the one spot organized or tidied, and you both feel a better.
The “Just give me ten” with my son tends to have more of a tidying purpose. He’s supposed to leave his room neat in the morning before leaving for school. He makes his bed, I’ll give him that, but as I’ve said before, why he thinks picking up only half the strewn items in his room counts for cleaning is beyond me. When I ask him for ten, Luke will grunt and groan, but he will give me those ten minutes. Sometimes we chat about his day and it’s a way to connect, as well as tidy. We generally end with a neat room and hopefully the ritual will begin to stick, enough so that his future wife is grateful to me someday…well, that may be pushing it.
You can follow this method for yourself, as well. Do you have an area in your home that needs to be tidied or organized but you are too overwhelmed to begin? Just give yourself ten minutes. Everybody has ten minutes at one point or another. Set the timer, play some music and go! Making a dent in your pile or your overwhelm will definitely make you feel good and you will realize that you can tackle it little by little. Some organizers feel that you need to wait until you have a full day to start and complete a project. I feel we are all busy people with full lives. Whole days and large chunks of time are extremely hard to come by and it is okay to divide and conquer!
If you have more time to spare on any given day, let loose baby! You know your limits and what is manageable. If you struggle with time management then decide on a specific time, set that timer and boom! Go for it. Stop when the timer goes off. Not sure what area to start with? What room or spot in a particular room annoys you the most? They all annoy you? Okay, take the cardboard cylinder of an empty toilet paper or paper towel roll, put it up to your eye like Blackbeard, and the first area you see through your little peeper is the one you work on. Problem solved. In the future, as items come into this area that you are working on, put them in their “homes” right away instead of letting them pile up. This way, you don’t wind up back at square one.
So remember, when you’re feeling overwhelmed with little time to spare, “Just give it ten minutes!” Use this method whether you’re clearing out with another person or by yourself. And remember, any amount of time you are willing to commit to is progress toward your goal. Maintain what you’ve done as you go along so when you return to it, you do not feel as if you’ve accomplished nothing. Rome wasn’t built in a day and sometimes your desk doesn’t get organized in a day either!