Take It From The Top

No time for decluttering? This quick tip will help you maximize the impact of even a few minutes.

More than you can chew.

There's this thing that happens when I see a big mess -- maybe it happens to you, too. I tell myself, "Gosh, what a disaster. I need to deal with that train wreck. Ugh. So overwhelming. " But here's the thing. Tackling a big mess is not a single item on your to-do list. It's a long list of very small items. So the task at hand is not "get the kitchen under control." It's a series of tiny tasks: take out the trash, put items away, wipe down the counters, empty the dishwasher, on and on. We convince ourselves that we have to do all of those tasks to have accomplished our goal, and it feels un-doable. But we underestimate the impact of doing even one of the small things on the list.

Low effort, high reward.

Where in a space should you start if you have limited time and want to make the biggest impact? Surfaces. Table, counter, dresser, nightstand, even the seat of a chair. There's something that happens with clutter on a surface -- it attracts more clutter. You set down one thing on the dining room table, and your brain goes, "Huh, that must be where I'm supposed to set things down." So you do. Over and over. Clearing the surfaces can stop the piles from growing even bigger. Also, a space with clean surfaces looks a lot less cluttered, even if you don't have time to do anything else. Our eyes take in the nice, open countertop and register the space as being more tidy.

Take time to make time.

I've posted before about how much impact even a few minutes of decluttering can make on a space. I kind of harp on it, actually. Not sure, but I might have mentioned it in every tip I've posted so far. But there's a reason for that. Learning the magic of spending even two or three or five minutes on a space will help challenge your thinking that keeping your home tidy has to take hours of effort every week. Use my take-a-picture-set-a-timer method and surprise yourself. The key is building small habits, building your confidence, and building the belief that a little goes a long way.

Tell me how it goes.

If this tip worked for you -- or if it didn't -- share your thoughts below, or you can drop me a line here. I'd love to hear from you. Truly.


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