Tag Archives: cleaning

10 Things You Can Do in 10 Minutes or Less

Things You Can Do in 2 Minutes or Less

The little things in life that constantly pile up around us at home are often more stressful than the big projects waiting for us back at work. Think about it. When was the last time you felt like melting down while cooking dinner over a spreadsheet you have due next week? Or was it finding yet another glass on the side table beside the couch that did it? I’m guessing it was the glass. Or the socks on the floor. Or the muddy footprints through the laundry room. Or, or, or…

There are plenty of lists out there and plenty of life coaches who advocate to just DO something if it’s fast and easy. You’ll spend more time writing these things down on a list than you will just doing them. We agree, and these are our favorite things to accomplish in our 2 minutes!

  1. Make your bed and check off the first thing on your to-do listMake your bed – This may actually take you less than a minute! And there’s more to it than just the amazing feeling of sliding between crisp sheets every night – making your bed prevents all sorts of dust and dirt and debris from settling on an unmade bed. Which means you can go longer between washes. Which means you’ll be doing a little bit more to save the planet.   AND… it will help you get your day jump started, because within moments of rising, you’ll be able to go ahead and check something off your list! Admiral William McRaven gave a great talk which you can find on YouTube about how you can “Change the World by Making Your Bed” – check it out!
  2. Collect stray dirty dishes and gather them in the sink – No one likes getting the dishes finished only to turn around and find a few more glasses on the countertop. (This is a good little two-minute-task to delegate to kids as well… “Dinner is almost ready! Scour the house for extra dishes, then come wash up!”
  3. Drink a glass of water – Honestly, you’re probablDrink a glass of water to restart your brainy drinking enough already. Wondering how much is enough? Sports dietitian Dana Angelo White, who is also an assistant clinical professor at Quinnipiac University, in Hamden, Conn. says: “I often recommend half your weight in ounces as a starting point. For example, if you weigh 150 pounds, aim for 75 ounces of fluid per day, and more if you exercise regularly.” So grab a wee glass next time you’re floundering through the kitchen feeling at loose ends. Maybe a shot of hydration will refresh your mind and giveDIY recipe squirt bottle you enough of a break to carry on.
  4. Wipe off your bathroom mirror – If you share yours with your kids like we do, there’s no end to the white spots and streaks that quickly gather on the surface. Keep cleaner nearby where you can spritz, wipe, and go. Next time you pop into the bathroom, life will be more sparkly and you’ll feel accomplished and on top of domestic menutia.
  5. Go through the stack of mail on your counter and THROW AWAY all the junThrow away your junk mail!k! Seriously. You’re not missing anything by not even opening it up. Save yourself the few moments of grief. Recycle the paper and spend the saved time inventorying your wine stash instead.
  6. Add an item to your Amazon list – how often have you heard about something in passing or thought of something while cooking dinner that you would like to have one day, or know you might need soon? Set up Amazon wish lists so that when these thoughts occur, you can add the items on the go. It will save you the trouble of beating your head in later when you can’t rememSwedish Dish Cloths are the answer to paper towels, sponges, and more!ber that “brilliant” idea. With online grocery shopping gaining in possibility and popularity, soon your groceries will be magically appearing on your doorstep… make ordering a snap by adding things as you think of them!
  7. Wipe down your countertops – we’ve expounded on the awesomeness of Swedish Dish Cloths before, and we’re SERIOUS! Having a dishcloth handy makes wiping down kitchen appliances and countertops easy, fun, beautiful, and FAST!
  8. Dust bust under your kitchen cabinets – dust busters are my #1 tool for sanity in child-rearing! All those tiny messes add up, especially at meal time. I keep my dust buster charged and tucked just underneath a rolling shelf beside my fridge where I can easily suck up life’s little, and continual, disasters.
  9. Refill the sink dispenser (a good chore to delegate!) – Soap getting low? Fill ‘er up! Kids ages 3 and up can help, and tend to enjoy this task. Conveniently, it also gets their hands clean before dinner…
  10. Take out the trash (another good delegation chore) – Especially the little bags in the bathrooms, offices and laundry rooms. Grab one a day and “trash day” will become much less chaotic!

Bonus: prep tomorrow’s coffee pot. I don’t know about you, but I definitely need fuel. And        there’s nothing worse than waking up in the morning and NOT being able to just push a button. So prep your next pot while you’re waiting for water to boil or chatting on the phone. It’s quick and easy to do even while distracted. You’ll thank yourself later!

What else can you do in two minutes or less? We’d love to hear about what you do to tackle procrastination and slam through your to-do lists!

 

Closets are Like Broccoli

January can be an exciting month: you’re motivated to start projects, learn something new, change something about yourself.  For some reason, the New Year brings us new motivation.  That initial excitement can wane somewhat when we find ourselves ¾ of the way through our shoe collection and out of storage space with not a millimeter of options left.  Or when you thought Rosetta Stone was just $400 to learn French… and it turns out to be just level one… and there are three levels after.  New Year’s is like a sugar rush and reality is just waiting in the wings to swoop in a crush us.  By the end of January, most of us will already have given up on our New Years Resolutions.

I know that isn’t nearly as apocalyptic as say, world hunger.  But wouldn’t it be amazing if we could throttle that energy we spring into the new year with and at least make it to March???

So, I was reading The War of Art by Steven Pressfield and he points out that “the principle of organization is built into nature…”  And he is so right.  This is something I already knew but Pressfield’s reminder in the context of creativity was powerful and inspirational.  We’re trying to organize our world the same way heirloom broccoli grows:

There is a geometry to art and life which we can feel in our bones and whether we realize it or not, we want our homes to reflect that same sense of peace and order.

AND WE SHOULD.

There is a certain sense of accomplishment that comes with organizing your desk, your calendar, your life.  It’s not so much that you miraculously become more efficient.  You do.  But to go deeper than that, it’s your bones sighing in relief that you know exactly where your keys are.  When you need to write something down, you didn’t have to tear through papers to find a pen.  Your scarf pulled off of its hanger without a single extra crease or crinkle.  Getting dressed was a JOY this morning.  And all these little joys make it easier to smile, easier to relax, easier to accomplish your mission, whatever that may be.  Miracle?  Maybe.  Or maybe not.  Hard work?  Most certainly.

Organizing your closet is really no different from painting a picture, taking a photograph, creating a sculpture, writing a book… let’s use the book.  We can draw PERFECT parallel’s there.  No one sites down to write a book in a single sitting.  It’s a habit.  A writer sits down at their typewriter every day for hours so that they’re ready when the perfect words are flowing.  They walk around editing in their head.  Getting your closet, desk, craft area organized is just the same.  It’s a habit that we form which we follow every day.  And we never tackle the whole thing at once – just like a writer could never write a novel all in one sitting.  We will start with shoes, move on to purses, then blouses, pants, scarves, belts etc.  This is normal, this is okay.  

Just because you get a brand new closet doesn’t mean it will be perfectly organized overnight.  But you will find your rhythm, your geometry with just a little bit of time and a wee bit o’ habit.

Organization is an art form.  Approach it like the creative endeavor that it is and give it the time and patience it requires and you are sure to be rewarded with beautiful broccoli  growing in your closet garden.

Get a jump on the New Year

Happy-New-year-2010It’s fantastic to have a Friday be the first of the year. I have the whole weekend to get myself organized for 2010. Where do I start? I pick 2 “projects” first. These always involve the physical organizing of space. I’ve done my pantry and part of my home office this year. I weeded out, cleaned, labeled and partitioned to my heart’s content. I love the feel of clean, organized space.

Second, I set up my calendar for the year. This is REALLY BIG. There are a lot of digital calendars out there. I’m a fan of Outlook because I like to set “recurrences” and it syncs to my smartphone. Seamless and effortless. Google Calendars is web-based and has more apps associated with it so it’s another good option. I use the “recurrence” feature in Outlook for everything that repeats every year such as getting my car inspected or events like birthdays. Once I put a recurrence in there, it’s there for life unless I remove it. I’ll set up all the events I know of in advance such as trips(including confirmation numbers for hotel and air), sporting events, concerts or meetings. I set up reminders such as dates to start Christmas baking or dates tickets become available. I travel a lot and don’t always have access to my customer resource management program at work so I use my Outlook for that as well- reminders to call or notes on project due dates etc. My Outlook has all my contacts so I’m never without an address or phone number. I even log in ideas for gifts as they come to me. When visiting my nephew last summer he mentioned a great love of mustard. I took note and sent him a tasty trio for Christmas.

In short, it’s the first of the year and I’ve already set myself up for a highly organized 2010!