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  • Looking to get unstuck on cleaning project

    My bedroom is like a disorganized inbox, marked by scattered piles of "stuff" that I need to go through and decide what to save and what to throw out.

    Right now, it seems a bit intimidating on where to start. Could anyone offer some thoughts to help my mindset so it doesn't seem like such a huge project?

  • #2
    Here is what I do. It's adapted from a clutter clearing website I read a long time ago.

    Take two bags/boxes. These are:
    * Trash
    * Belongs in Another Room

    The rules are:
    * 15 mins only
    * Work as fast as you can (it's only 15 mins)
    * Choose a point to start and take a path through the room without missing a single thing that is out of place.
    * Pick up an item and don't put it down until you have decided what to do with it. This is similar to processing the GTD inbox. Either put it away or put it into one of your two boxes. It does not go back on the floor.
    * Do not leave the room to put anything away. Use the "Another Room" box instead. This is critical because otherwise too much time is wasted going in and out of the room or up and down stairs.

    At the end of the 15 mins put the trash in the bin and go round putting things in their proper rooms. There should be a clear patch in the room where you were working, showing tangible progress.

    The best part is that this 15 minute game is a good Next Action for @Home.

    Comment


    • #3
      And..

      I both recognize and agree with CFoley's advice. I uncluttered my entire house this way. It took about a year.

      One big tip: STOP after 15 minutes..don't burn out on it. This is the kind of project that can really ruin an otherwise good weekend.

      And when I clean...anything...I put on my iPod. So I kind of dance and clean. Hopefully nobody will ever see me doing it.

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      • #4
        Looking to get unstuck on cleaning project

        Barb and CFoley:

        15 minutes then stop. I got it.

        How long do you wait until you return to the project again?

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        • #5
          Depends. Sometimes it's a 5 minute sit down. Other times it's wait for the next day. Sometimes you're just throwing out piles of junk or filing paperwork. Other times, you're making difficult decisions about sentimental things. The latter is far more draining! It also depends on what else needs to be done.

          The important thing is to give yourself permission to stop!

          15 mins doesn't sound like a lot but if you work fast for 15 mins and don't leave the room then you can process more stuff than in an hour of half heartedly wandering about the house with handfuls of things to put away.

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          • #6
            For me

            Since I was decluttering the entire house, I did 15 minutes a day a stopped. Then I did 15 minutes the next day, and stopped. But do what works for you, by all means! The main thing is to make this project so it isn't so uncomfortable and you keep the forward momentum going.

            I'm looking around and thinking: I really need to do this again! I'm sure it would be much easier this time.

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            • #7
              For an already tidy house, I love Fly Lady's "Put out Hot Spots for 2 minutes".

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              • #8
                I can't do the 15 minute thing, I just hit my stride and have to stop, so I do 30 minutes of the decluttering. The key is never leave the room you are in until the time is up.

                My main tip is start at the door and work clockwise around the edges of the room first then do the center.

                Also I add a 3rd box/bag. Things to give away or take to Goodwill. That one is also critical in my projects as most of what doesn't belong there is stuff we don't really need at all but is too good to throw away.

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                • #9
                  Originally posted by curtis View Post
                  My bedroom is like a disorganized inbox, marked by scattered piles of "stuff" that I need to go through and decide what to save and what to throw out
                  I love decluttering advice I got from someone who did Feng Shui........ Love it, use it or get rid of it. It helps me decide about items in a wardrobe or room every time I'm on a declutter roll.

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                  • #10
                    de-clutter

                    Try to write in a piece of paper the advantages of a clean room! Focus on it! Then remove everything except the bed! Remember this a bedroom and not a work place!

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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by curtis View Post
                      My bedroom is like a disorganized inbox, marked by scattered piles of "stuff" that I need to go through and decide what to save and what to throw out.

                      Right now, it seems a bit intimidating on where to start. Could anyone offer some thoughts to help my mindset so it doesn't seem like such a huge project?
                      The other suggestions are dandy, but if even they seem too complicated, then I'd say that the simplest way to start cleaning is: Throw something out.

                      Just one thing. You don't have to sort what's around it or find a place to put what's around it, just find one thing in the piles that you can throw out and put it in a trashcan.

                      Then repeat. And repeat, and repeat, picking the unneeded stuff out of the piles. Only when it's hard to find more things to throw out is it necessary to go on to another step.

                      A slightly more organized version of this is to get a bunch of boxes and go through the piles doing just Trash? or Not Trash? Trash goes in the trashcan, Not Trash goes in the box(es), and again you don't worry about any details beyond that until later.

                      Edited to add: Not Trash doesn't mean, "I have made a hard and considered decision that I'm keeping this forever and ever", it just means, "In the half-second between picking this up and swinging around toward the trashcan and box, I haven't yet decided to put it in Trash, so I'll put it in Not Trash for now."

                      Edited again to add: I focus on the "Trash?" decision because I think that that is the single most important decision for cleaning. If it's not uppermost in your mind it can be easy to get sucked into sorting into piles of hair accessories and seed catalogs and hotel soaps and credit card solicitations, only to realize that ninety percent of what you just sorted was trash in the first place, and didn't need sorting. (OK, you might shred the credit card solicitations, but they're still trash.)

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Similar to advice by cfoley and Oogie:
                        In the book "Confessions of a Happily Organized Family" http://books.google.ca/books?id=9CIN...Ag&redir_esc=y Deniece Schofield recommends
                        using four boxes: Throw away, Give away, Put away, and Don't know.
                        In that order (AFAIR). In other words, you have to lift the item over the Throw away
                        and Give away boxes in order to get to the Put away box; it's slightly less
                        effort to just drop it into the Throw away. Put away is for things to put
                        away in a different room. If they're to put away in the room you're in, you
                        just put them away immediately.

                        You don't spend a lot of time thinking; you just drop things in Don't know
                        if you're not sure. Then when that box is full, you label it with the date and
                        store it in the garage for a period of time (six months?). During that time,
                        if you think of something you want you can go and open the box and look
                        for it and take it out. At the end of the time period, you throw away (or give away to
                        a rummage sale) the whole box without opening it. I don't use exactly
                        that system but have done similar things (especially with papers).

                        Here's an idea: Take some boxes. Take
                        a whole bunch of stuff from your room and quickly put it in one box: maybe just
                        pick stuff up from the floor without sorting it, or pull everything off a shelf
                        or something. Then take the box somewhere else -- maybe the diningroom table,
                        or a picnic table outside (where dust can blow away).
                        Pick up one item at a time from the box and sort it into the other
                        boxes. I try to keep the number of categories fairly small, but often have
                        more than four, maybe as many as ten or more. The number of categories has to
                        be small enough that you can easily reach all the boxes you're sorting into,
                        and should also be small enough so you don't have to think too much.
                        I aim for the four simple categories listed above, but when there are a lot
                        of similar things in the box (e.g. "books", all to be kept and put on a shelf;
                        or pieces from a game) I find it helps to sort them that way.
                        I label the boxes as I go along, e.g. "paper recycling".

                        After sorting the box, you can take a few deep breaths and a drink of water,
                        congratulate yourself,
                        check how much time has elapsed and how much energy you have,
                        and then decide whether to do another boxful. You need to leave
                        enough time and energy to put away (at least into
                        temporary locations) the boxes you've sorted things into.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          thank you

                          Thanks to all who responded. You helped me to get going on the cleaning project. The room looks so much better.

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                          • #14
                            tell us about it!

                            Originally posted by curtis View Post
                            Thanks to all who responded. You helped me to get going on the cleaning project. The room looks so much better.
                            will you tell us what worked for you?

                            greetings,
                            Myriam

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              tell us about it- 3 things that helped

                              To Myriam (spelling?) and whoever else wants to know,

                              3 significant pieces helped me to succeed.

                              My wife
                              I can't understate the importance of the help my wife gave me. She kept me going. Honestly she was more motivated than me and she did her fair share of work on this project too, so it was a team effort.

                              The Process
                              Items were trashed, boxed for charity or put back. We dumped the drawers onto the bed or counter top and began sorting into one of the 3 categories.

                              The Discussion forum
                              These posts were instrumental in getting my thinking going on how I wanted to approach it.

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