A Little Effort Goes a Long Way: Set a Timer for a Quick Closet Cleanout

A Little Effort Goes a Long Way: Set a Timer for a Quick Closet Cleanout

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Janel Laban
Jan 12, 2016
(Image credit: Jacqueline Marque)

Today's assignment is fast, focused and sure to make a difference. I want you to choose one closet in your home that could use a little attention. It doesn't have to be the messiest one, or the one you use the most - any closet that will benefit from some decluttering, reorganizing or just plain old cleaning will do. This is a timed Cure exercise, so also grab your phone and set it for 30 minutes...

You aren't aiming for perfection ("better" is the goal), but even half an hour spent straightening up the closet of your choice is going to help move your home along to a better, more organized place. This is one area where all efforts make a difference and even a little bit of attention goes a loooong way. The lesson here is that when you focus your attention on one specific contained task or area of your home you don't need to spend a huge amount of time to make improvements...and then move on to something you actually want to be doing.

Today's Assignment

Choose your closet. It can be the coat closet, your main wardrobe closet, that scary one in the spare room that holds a mishmash of half-remembered things - whatever first occurs to you is fine. Whichever you choose, keep it to one closet and 30 minutes only - you have the rest of the year to hit up more.

The point is: JUST JUMP IN and don't worry about how far you'll get or whether it will be "finished" today. Go in armed with an outbox, a trash bag and a vacuum and do your best. Go for it and work fast. See how much you can get done quickly and know that any amount of straightening, rehanging, decluttering, scrubbing and dust-bunny hunting will make a dent!

At the end of 30 minutes, when your alarm rings, shut off the vacuum and wrap things up. Take a moment to assess what else needs to happen, if anything, for the closest to be in really good shape and estimate how much time it will take you to complete that on another day. Then, put back anything you may have taken out temporarily to make room to clean and put what you decided to get rid of into your outbox or rag bin and CLOSE THE DOOR. You are done for today!

Now you know the upside to focusing your efforts on a single spot - you can work on it incrementally, when you have small blocks of time. For smaller more manageable tasks, 30 minutes will get them done. And, for the big beastly tasks, you can chip away at them a little at a time - they'll eventually get done and it's not a race! You can absolutely get to your goal of a clean and organized home without totally derailing the rest of your life.

Please let us know which closet you chose and how much of a dent 30 minutes made (plus anything else you want to chat about!) in the thread.

  • See all the assignments: January Cure Main Page
  • Download the calendar: January Cure 2016
  • Share your progress on Instagram: #thejanuarycure


  • Want to keep improving your home one step at a time after the Cure? Sign up now for our once-a-week Weekend Projects program, starting in February:
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