Speed Decluttering & Organizing


I don't recall where I learned this tip. Sometimes the same tip is recommended by multiple sources. This may be a Fly Lady thing but I am not sure. Anyhow I just taught this tactic to my 15 year old son.

My son called me into his bedroom. I had asked him to pick the dirty clothes up off the floor and put them into the hamper. I asked him to take the clean clothes in the laundry basket and put them away. Instead of doing that he showed me his desk which was piled up about a foot high with clutter, some was actual trash. He asked if he could spend the day tackling that instead of doing homeschool lessons. I said no, but I offered him a tip on cleaning.

I said, "Set your iPhone timer for 10 minutes, and commit the next 10 minutes to cleaning this." He said it could not be done. He asked that I help him. I decided to demonstrate. The timer was set.

The first items were three brand new magazines that he wants to read. I said, "Go put these in the magazine bin right now." He said, "It is full." I said, "I don't believe you". I looked and it was not full. I took them and threw them in it. His inclination seemed to be to drag this process out. I explained that this is a speed cleaning, so just decide and go.

I put his trash bin on the floor next to us. We picked things up once, decided if it was trash and if not, where it needs to go right now.

I taught him to make decisions immediately. You want to keep this? Where do you keep this collection? Where do you store chewing gum? The watch goes in the drawer. Earbuds go in the little "technology" bin.

The timer went off when there were a handful of things left on the desk. He wanted to finish.

We grouped things that need a home. I realized his calligraphy supplies are all over the desk's surface. I said I'd figure out some kind of bin or container to get him so he could put it all in one place.

Things need a home. Then they need to be put with like things instead of being left all over. Knowing where you keep things helps you find them when you need them. When you collect things up into one place you sometimes realize that you own too many and it is stupid and time to decide to let them go.

My son really liked this method of speed cleaning.

I dread cleaning and decluttering which is why I try now to immediately put things where they belong when I'm finished rather than leaving it laying someplace to have to del with it later. It took me years to learn that lesson.

My older son is not teaching himself these techniques so one by one I am teaching him systems and methods that I know work for me. My son has an official ADHD diagnosis. I don't know if his messiness is related to ADHD or not. I was a slob like that (plain old laziness was my isssue) into my 20s. It was only a few years ago when I realized that I was living thinking I always wanted to do the next fun thing and would leave incomplete the un-fun part of what I just finished. I would go to the park with the kids but not unpack the tote bag we took with us. I would go on vacation but leave the suitcase with stuff in it for up to three months. I have reformed my ways. I unpack the suitcase the night I get home even if we walk in the door near midnight. I put things I bought at the store away immediately. I find this easier to deal with, to do a little of the un-fun work throughout the day rather then making a mess all day long only to have to dedicate hours to finally tending to later on.
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