The most powerful tool in my homekeeping arsenal isn't my all-purpose cleaner, or even the as-seen-on-TV rotating bathroom scrub brush... it's a timer. A cheap, old kitchen timer.
When you set aside some dedicated time to getting a task done, it's harder to push it aside. And it's all too true that (like cats in a vase) housework will always adjust to fill the space it's allotted. A timer sets an expectation — "I'll just spend 30 minutes on this tonight" — and keeps you focused on only the work that will make the biggest impact.
While today's assignment is focused on attacking one particular cluttered area at home, my hope is that you'll use the experience to help you "time-and-tackle" different problem areas all over your space.
Set a timer for 30 minutes and get busy decluttering one closet — any closet — at home.
Which closet you choose is totally up to you. It doesn't have to be the messiest one, or the one you use the most — just choose any closet that will benefit from a little attention tonight.
Grab a vacuum, a trash bag, an "outbox" bag or box and a timer (the app on your phone will do just fine) and head to the closet. Set the timer for 30 minutes and get to work.
When your alarm rings at the end of 30 minutes, unplug the vacuum and wrap things up. 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.
If you feel unfinished, take a moment to assess what else needs to happen, if anything, for the closet to be in really good shape, then estimate how much time it will take you to complete that on another day. Because for today, we're done!
When you dive in on this 30-minute closet clean, don't worry about how far you'll get or even think about whether it will be "finished" today. Go in armed with the trash bag and the vacuum and do your best. Just 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.
The best part is, now you know the upside to focusing your efforts on a single spot. You can get a lot done on a small area in 30 minutes. And when it comes to the big, beastly tasks, you can use small blocks of time to chip away at them little by little. Even a little effort is going to help move your home along to become a better, more organized place.