My “Clean House” Resolution

Here’s my journal entry from a few of weeks ago. Dear God, Ed is leaving in two weeks; he’ll be gone for a month.  In that time, I want to de-clutter – the house, my desk, my computer, my life.  When he comes back, I want a clean house, a neat desk, and a routine that includes You and an exercise routine.

How’s that for a goal? So far, I’m only part-way through the list. As always, there’s so much more to do, but I feel good about what I’ve done. Life has a way of interrupting my plans for any given day. Crises, big and small, try to distract me from my goals. Does that sound like your life, too?

Here are some quick tips to help you work your way through your clean house project or goal list.

1.       Create a system that works for you. Schedule must-do’s like appointments. Do the most important thing first each day and cross it off your list. Break large projects into small tasks.    De-clutter one area daily. Start small if need be – a closet, a corner, the dining room table.

2.       Love baskets! I know this sounds silly, but anything that contains clutter and helps keep things organized is a blessing. In my living room, one pretty basket holds catalogs, another has magazines. Baskets, containers and turn-tables organize spices, pastas and miscellaneous in kitchen cupboards. I have drawer dividers for make-up, small trash cans throughout the house. Every room has a pottery jar with pens, scissors and an emery board. Each bathroom has a basket of cleaning items under the sink.

3.       Embrace planned neglect. Some stuff is just that – stuff. Stay focused on the big picture. Decide on the absolutes for your day, and do them first. Everything else can be neglected or delayed. Be sure to do that without guilt or frustration. If necessary, make a ‘stop doing’ list for things that no longer contribute to your life goals.

4.       Ask yourself, what’s next? Don’t allow distractions to pull you off-track. If Tuesday is laundry day, throw a load in the washer first thing. Don’t stack mail ‘for later’. Sort it, toss it, file it, do it. A bit of advance planning will help your day flow more smoothly. If you’re like me, jot down a To Do list the night before so nothing gets lost in the chaos of your day.

5.       Never go to bed with a sink full of dirty dishes! Even if you got involved in that must-see TV show, do small tasks during commercials. Throw a load of clothes in the washer. Clean a bathroom mirror. Sort paperwork. There are dozens of five-minute jobs you can do in between the big stuff.

Of course, even simple tips like these take time. The big key is to remember that ‘time’ management is really ‘you’ management. We all get the same non-refundable, non-renewable, non-returnable 1440 minutes in each day. YOU are the one who decides how to invest, spend or waste those precious 60 seconds. So, what’s your plan?

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