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5 Minutes a Day Keeps the Clutter Away


man at messy desk

You’ve probably heard the old cliché “an apple a day keeps the doctor away.” Well, I’m not a doctor and hence can’t speak to the role apples play in helping to maintain good health, but one thing that I do know for sure is that 5 minutes a day will keep the clutter away.

Let’s face it. We’re all so very busy – and that includes me, your NYC professional organizer. Work, family responsibilities, taking the kids to and from their activities, hobbies, errands, well, there’s barely enough time to accomplish everything that needs to get done.

So, you come into your house and throw down your keys. Glance at the newspaper and leave it on the counter. Kick off your shoes, and who knows where they land? Take off your coat and throw it over a chair. And on and on. I know you can recognize the habits, if not in you, then in someone that you may know.

Well, I subscribe to the notion that if you keep up with things on a regular basis… yes, every day… and just five minutes per day … then the overall task of maintaining order will become less burdensome and time-consuming than if you do nothing at all until that red letter day comes when you try tackle everything at once.

Now you might be saying to yourself, “Gee, I don’t want to think about and do this stuff every day. Who has the time?” Or you’re saying “Gosh, I hate to do this, I’d rather do it all at once.” But bear with me here and see if one of my most important home organizing tips can work for you. Better yet, give it a try and I just bet that you’ll see some great results.

And by the way, set a timer for five minutes and start and stop at the established time. Crank up some music as well and I promise the combination of the two will get you going and keep you motivated. Now, let’s get started:

Gather all of those newspapers, magazines and books that you might have left on various tables, on the floor by the side of the bed or on the kitchen counter and put them in a neat pile in your recycling bin, back on the bookshelf or coffee table.

Pick up any clothes that you have left hanging on chairs, doorknobs, the stationary bike or on any other surface other than in the drawer, hook, closet or laundry hamper where they belong. Keep clutter at bay by making it a habit to put clothes in their proper place after you get undressed each night. As your NYC professional organizer, I learned these things from personal experience, just like everything else!

Put your shoes away. Do you really need to have 6 pairs of shoes scattered about your room at all times? Not only are you constantly tripping over them, it takes lots less time to find that specific pair you wish to wear if they are neatly stored in their correct place in the closet. Don’t ask me how I know that this is one of the best home organizing tips!

Clear off the counter in the bathroom and put things in the medicine chest, vanity or trash. While you’re at it, take a disinfecting cleansing cloth and wipe down the sink and vanity. Takes 15 seconds.

While you’re moving around doing your 5 minute de-clutter dance check out all of the surfaces in your home and remove things that simply don’t belong where they have been left. Keep things in their proper place, and yes, this is a habit that might take some getting used to. There are some people that put things everywhere and then spend an inordinate amount of time trying to locate their keys, wallet, money, book, etc. Make it a point of keeping things in their rightful home and you won’t have to waste time looking for them and it will keep clutter to a minimum.

So there you have it. Start by spending five productive minutes de-cluttering your home and once you start to get in the habit of putting things away you might even be able to cut down on the time (3 minutes?!!!).  Ready…set…go! Start now.









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