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Techniques for Actually Tidying Up Everyday

Updated: May 31, 2021

In the post "Small Steps to Getting Organized", one of the tips mentioned was to take 10 minutes to tidy up every day. This sounds simple, but sometimes it can be difficult to do just that. After all, we’re human! Here are some techniques I personally use to make sure that I tidy my home up everyday.

Which techniques I use can differ day by day. Sometimes what worked one day doesn’t work another day, even for the same task. If one technique isn't working, I try another.

Time how long it takes you to do a recurring task.

For regular tasks, try timing how long it takes - so that whenever you feel tempted to skip the task, you can tell yourself: "it takes only x minutes".

For example, I know that it only takes me about 3 minutes (5 minutes max) to put the clean dishes away. When I get tempted not to empty the dishwasher, I remind myself that it only takes 3 minutes and to just get it over with. As another example, when coming home, I get tempted to throw my jacket, sweater, purse, keys, and hat onto the dining table. I remind myself that it only takes 1 minute to put these items away.

Predetermine a number of items to put away.

For example, you may decide to tidy up 10 items in the living room. You may fold a throw blanket, put 2 sweaters away, bring 2 mugs to the kitchen, put away 3 toys, and fluff 2 throw pillows. Ten items doesn't sound like a lot, but it makes a difference. This number can gradually be increased over time.

Set a timer for 10 minutes.

This lets you know when you can stop tidying for now. Alternatively, note the time that you started and when you'll finish. Do what you can in this time - and after 10 minutes, you can leave the rest for next time.

Play music.

As another way to keep track of time, play music and tidy up for two or three songs. This makes tidying up much more enjoyable! You can sing and bust a few moves - just make sure you're not getting too distracted!

Give yourself permission to stop.

Whenever I see that a lot needs to get done, and it's clear that 10 minutes won’t be enough, I give myself permission to stop after the 10 minutes, two songs, or 10 items are up. This helps to promote and maintain the habit by sticking to the committed time - keeping you from getting overwhelmed and dropping the routine, or not getting started at all. These small "tidy bursts" do make a difference!

As always, experiment and find what works best for you. If something is not working, you can always switch it up!

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