Written by Melody Thacker, Independent Watkins Associate on August 29, 2008
Are you living in clutter and chaos? Try this fifteen minute pickup trick to control clutter, simplify your life and banish chaos in your home. It’s common to feel that the biggest challenge to cleaning up is the sheer magnitude of the task in front of you. Is “So much mess, so little time” your motto? Do you ask yourself, “Where do I begin?”
This is where the fifteen minute pickup trick comes in. A fifteen minute pickup is simply fifteen minutes of time that’s spent focusing on tidying up a place of your choosing. It can be a particular room or area in your house, or it could be the entire house. Here’s what you do, set a timer and get to work until the timer goes off. Then you stop and consider yourself done. You’ll probably discover that stopping is just as important as the starting. The reason for this, is no matter how busy or overwhelmed you are, you can always find time to do something for fifteen minutes. But if you feel that fifteen minutes is going to drag into a half-hour or more, then you’re not going to want to get started. You’ll find this is also true with your children and spouse. They may be happy to help out for a limited amount of time, but may resist helping in the first place because they fear the work will take too long.
The best place to start is with one general fifteen minute pickup per day. Set a regular time that fits your schedule, or maybe when you are freshest! If you have children, a good time is in the evening, just before you begin getting them ready for bed, as it provides a transition from play to bedtime, and it’s time to put the toys away. Get the entire family involved. If your child gets distracted, gently remind him or her to pick something up. You’ll be totally amazed by how your home can go from looking like a tornado ripped through it to being basically orderly after just fifteen minutes of everyone working together.
The first time you do this, you’ll most likely just be getting stuff off the floor and into the general vicinity of where they belong. However, if you keep at it every day, you will start finding time to do some sorting and be able to put things away in a more organized manner. You might even have time to do some quick vacuuming. You’ll find that each day, you’re able to clean a little deeper before that timer goes off!
Once you have gotten into the habit of doing one general fifteen minute pickup a day, you can add one or two more at different times of the day to focus on specific rooms or areas of your home that need more attention. For example, a fifteen minute cleanup of your kitchen counter can do wonders. The main thing is to institute these pickups gradually enough so that you can be consistent and get into the habit of doing them. Won’t it be nice to watch your house get clean fifteen minutes at a time, and know that you hardly spent any time at it at all? Then, you can focus your time and energy on the more fun aspects of living!