Day 9: Tuesday, January 14
Assignment: Create a landing strip or re-organize one you already have
As you work through the Cure, your home is getting cleaner and less cluttered. It's a great feeling and it's all thanks to your good work. Now, the trick is keeping it this way. Today's assignment is another very important one because it sets you up for long term success - a little time spent this evening will make the rest of your year easier, no question. Sound good? Here's how to do it....
Being conscious of what comes into your home is a big step in keeping it under control. It's a pretty straightforward formula - the less dirt, clutter, useless paper and items that come in, the less time you need to spend cleaning and organizing. It's easy to allow a lot of stuff to make it in under the radar that we don't really think about it until its a full-on project to clean or clear it. We all need a simple way to filter out the bad while letting in the good, and this part of the Cure helps you to do just that AND make it part of your everyday routine. Start now, and by the end of the month, it will be second nature.
In the Eight Step Home Cure, Maxwell notes that "you need to imagine your front hall as a big filter for the outside world". He describes a "healthy filter for your front door" to consist of several main parts:
• Coat Hooks/Hangers
• A Landing Strip
He goes on to explain: "A door mat keeps the dirt out. The hooks and hangers provide a place to put your coat, bag, boots, shoes, umbrella or dog leash. This keeps the grime and water out of your living spaces. The landing strip is where you can lay things down and sort the mail along with your change, keys and other odds and ends."
Create a Landing Strip and Start Using it
The first two parts of the "healthy home filter", the door mat and hooks (or proper, usable space in a coat closet) are self-explanatory. The landing strip, is also fairly straightforward, but very important to maintaining your "Cure" organization in the future. It doesn't need to be a large area, nor does it need to be fancy. What it does need to be is functional. Set up a spot or hook for your keys, a bowl or container for change and your wallet on a surface (like a small side table) to sort the mail and other items (newspapers, books, magazines, purchases) as they come in. Two other super helpful and nice components to add to your landing strip area are a small wastebasket/recycling bin to hold your discarded incoming stuff to be recycled and a mirror for last minute checkups on your lovely smile and fashionable attire. :)
Your goal here is to create a space that you'll want to really use each time you come in to your home to sort through the stuff you're carrying in your bags, pockets and hands upon arrival, so you stay ahead of the mail, bills and items coming in to your home and also, have smoother sailing on your way out.
Once you've set up your landing strip, use it every time you come home. Here is a sample walk through of the process, which just takes a few minutes but reduces both stress and clutter exponentially, as it becomes a habit:
As you arrive home, hang your coat, put your keys and wallet in their spots and take off your shoes. Empty the things out of your bags that you won't need to take with you when leaving next time and hang your bags.
At the landing strip area, sort through your mail and immediately toss or recycle what you do not need. Here is a sample classification of what needs attention and how to manage it:
Important Mail: to be set aside in the proper spot right now to be dealt with ASAP, so they are cleared out of the way and off of your to-do list. You should make a dedicated spot for this mail that needs your attention and try and clear it on a regular, consistent basis to stay ahead of the game.
a. Personal letters and business/school correspondence
c. Event announcements you will attend and need to rsvp to and add to schedule
Important Items: to be put in the proper spot right now so you can enjoy them right away and not have a pile up.
a. The magazines or periodicals you will actually read this week and any catalogs you really enjoy taking a look through.
b. The contents of any packages that have been delivered. Open immediately and put the packaging in the recycling bin.
Not Important Mail: to be diverted to the recycling bin (or in the case of magazines that you are going to pass on, to the outbox) immediately.
a. Introductory offers
b. All other Catalogs
c. Magazines or periodicals that you are finished with
d. Advertisements and Junk Mail
Once the mail, reading material and items from delivered packages are sorted, put away anything else you've brought home: groceries, purchases, empty lunch containers, dry cleaning, etc.
This will just take a few minutes when you arrive home. As you finish each time, take a moment to focus on the fact that now you can relax and fully enjoy your organized home, knowing that nothing that needs attention is piling up and that everything you need for your next trip out into the world is right where you need it, easily found and ready to go!
Finally, to pull it all together, here is a recent video of Maxwell explaining (and showing a few examples of) the components of a great basic landing strip:
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(Image credits: Laure Joliet)